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March 8, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward

A few nights ago, I walked through our living room. Hubby was sitting on the couch, reading a book, putting his hand in a large bag of mixed nuts, and mindlessly popping one nut into his mouth after another. This would not have been a big deal except we had literally finished dinner 15 minutes before. And it was a fine dinner if I do say so myself - pork chops with curried pear sauce over couscous with a healthy helping of broccoli on the side. Clearly, the man was not hungry. I don’t like to nag so instead, I stopped and asked in a very neutral tone (as neutral as a wife can be after 30 years), “Are you hungry?” He smiled sheepishly, put on his little boy face, and said, “No, I just like snacking when I am reading.” He then handed the bag to me and said, “Here take it away.” I am not throwing my dearest under the bus. I am guilty and my guess is so are you. We eat quickly and often mindlessly, especially in the evening hours while watching TV, reading a book, or relaxing. I relay this story because March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has zoned in on the fork to remind us that we all have the tools to eat well and with the right intention. You don’t have to spend a fortune at the grocery store and disrupt your whole life to eat better on a daily basis. It is, however, helpful to slow down, look at the food you are eating, when you are eating it, and how you are eating it. Jill Weisenberger, nationally known registered dietician and author, writes in her blog, “The eating fork signifies eating with intention and care. I want eating to be the event – not something we squeeze in between two other events. No tossing a meal down as quickly as possible and no eating in the car. Use that fork, which is nearly impossible to do if you’re eating while driving or otherwise racing to finish a meal.” She challenges folks to pick at least two meals or snacks to practice eating with intention; that is really pay attention to your food, chew it slowly, enjoy it at a table with friends or family, and afterwards give your tummy time to communicate with your brain. 15-20 minutes after the meal, determine your hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 being famished and 10 being “Thanksgiving full.” Still really hungry, grab a piece of fruit after the meal. Not hungry, no need to snack. The Academy also offers the following suggestions for wiser food choices and intentional mealtime. Make half your plate fruits and veggies. 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables is a good daily goal. Watch your portion sizes. Read the label. If a cereal box, says a serving size is ½ or ¾ cup, get out your measuring cups and see what that looks like. If you are mindlessly pouring cereal into a large bowl, you could be eating 3 or 4 servings worth and that triples or quadruples the calories. Get cooking. Preparing foods at home can be healthy, fun, and cost-effective. Learn cooking basics. A great resource for a number of how to cook videos is Enact family meal time. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Turn off the TV and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. When we chat at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we eat slower and eat less. Eat new foods and flavors. When you go shopping, make a point of selecting a new fruit, vegetable, or whole grain. Keep it fun – involve the kiddos and enjoy broccoflower, quinoa, or purple asparagus! Experiment with plant-based meals (vegetarian). Vegetables, beans, and lentils are budget friendly, good for you, and easy to prepare. In addition, we know that plant-based diets are important for preventing diabetes, cancer, and a host of other chronic diseases. Try including one meatless meal a week to start. For more information on the “Put Your Best Fork Forward” campaign, log onto: The site is full of tools to help you eat right and stay healthy. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have suggestions for future articles or questions, please contact her at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

March 2, 2017

Go Ahead and Doodle

Every week in church, I sit near a gentleman who consistently doodles. The minute the pastor starts the sermon, the pencil comes out and the drawings start. So is this man checking out? or is he, in fact, more focused on the message because he is doodling? Now I have to admit, I, too, am a doodler. Sometimes I doodle to enhance my notes (little arrows and pics to connect ideas) and sometimes to keep my mind engaged. And yep, sometimes I doodle because I am dreadfully bored in a meeting and drawing little funny faces or random geometric designs keeps me awake. Research now shows the folks who draw during sermons, the kiddos who add little pics along side their class notes, and the employees who sketch random designs in meetings are actually more engaged, focused, and creative. In 2009, a study published in the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, found that doodlers find it easier to recall dull information than non-doodlers. The researcher asked 40 people to monitor a 2 1/2 minute dull and rambling voice mail message. Half the group doodled, and the other half did not. The participants did not know their memories were being tested. When both groups were asked to recall details of the voicemail, those that doodled were better at paying attention. They recalled 29% more of the details than the non-doodlers. It appears that without doodling, folks tend to daydream and well, check out. Doodling is a form of fidgeting, not unlike swinging your feet, changing position, or tapping a pencil. It keeps you alert and awake. It basically keeps the brain switch turned on. Paying attention is hard - really hard. Studies vary in their findings about how long an average adult can pay attention. Some say as little as 5 minutes while others indicate that 15-20 minutes is the maximum amount of time for concentrated attention on any given subject. Either way, children and adults alike are often asked to pay attention much past the 20 minute mark. So we should not be surprised that our brains have come up with a strategy for dealing with the gap between how long we can really pay attention and how long we are expected to pay attention. Drawing and doodling is a natural human activity. The youngest amongst us across the entire globe enjoy drawing. Think back to your childhood. I imagine you drew pictures in the sand or mud with a stick; perhaps you were a sidewalk chalk kid; or maybe you favored crayons and finger painting . Unfortunately, the joy of drawing and the ability to love it simply for the process not the outcome dwindles as we age. John Hendrix, author of the book, Drawing is Magic, says a weird thing happens when artists (people) grow up. He says, "We stop having fun. As a kid you draw without any thought to enjoying it. Enjoying it is assumed! Then we get to art school (class) and learn there is a right and wrong way to make images…We have to be trained to learn to play again." Doodling is just that - play. It gives our "focus" brain circuits a break and unleashes creative thoughts and helps us imagine and see things through a different lens. It may even help us connect the dots. Dr. Robert Burns, the former director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of Seattle, uses doodles to diagnose the emotional problems of his patients. Many doodle researchers agree that patient doodles can reveal thought patterns and ultimately disclose more than talk therapy alone. A form of art therapy, some mental health professionals are encouraging the practice of doodling to help patients wade through depression and anxiety. The drawings give the mental health professional a window into the minds of their clients. Doodling and drawing free from the burden of right, wrong, good, or bad is beneficial for focus, creativity, and even our mental health. It isn't about art. It is about thinking in a different way and engaging our playful side once again. Lorraine Wichtowski is community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health. For more information or to suggest article topics, contact Lorraine at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 24, 2017

Everybody is Going Blue!

On March 3rd, Noyes Health employees will go blue! Employees will be donning blue tutus, wigs, leggings, beads, and other fun gear to bring attention and awareness to Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In addition, Noyes Goes Blue events will be held at Noyes Health Services in Geneseo and Noyes Health in Dansville from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 3rd. The public is invited to stop by and learn more about colorectal cancer. Medical professionals will be available to discuss risk factors, screening options, and more. There will be blue ribbon cookies plus healthy snacks and everyone who visits will have their name entered for a chance to win a wellness basket. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 136,830 people will be diagnosed and 50,310 will die from this disease. In the same breath, the five-year survival rate is 90% if cancer is found at the local (early) stage. But sadly, only 39% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, partly due to low testing rates. Screening is important because it can find polyps (abnormal growths). Those growths can then be removed before turning into cancer. Currently, 28 million Americans are not up-to-date on screening. In New York alone, an estimated 1.2 million have never been tested. It is estimated that screening would reduce the number of colon cancer deaths by 60%. The CDC states that precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include— Change in bowel movements - Including diarrhea, constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool or finding your stools are narrower than usual Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement). Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away. Losing weight and you don’t know why. weakness or fatigue These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor. There are several colorectal cancer screening choices for average-risk men and women ages 50-75: High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) – This at-home test should be done once a year. The patient sends a stool sample to a doctor’s office or lab. It looks for hidden blood in stool. Positive results should be followed up by a colonoscopy. OR Flexible sigmoidoscopy – The doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and lower third of the colon. This should be done every 5 years with a high-sensitivity FOBT or every 3 years by itself. OR Colonoscopy – The doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and the entire colon and removes polyps during the same procedure. This should be done every 10 years. Which screening is best for you? The one you do!! Discuss the options with your physician to determine what makes the most sense for you. If you or a close relative have: inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis; a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps; a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome), contact your physician. You may need to start screening before age 50 and be tested more often than other people. In addition to screening, a healthy lifestyle lowers your risk not only for colorectal cancer but for other cancers and chronic diseases as well. The American Cancer Society suggests the following management strategies. DO: Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, veggies, dairy, and lean proteins. Manage your weight. A healthy Body Mass Index (weight to height proportion) is 18-25. (to calculate your BMI, go to: Stay active. Walk, exercise, and play on a daily basis. Stop smoking. LIMIT: Processed foods, junk foods, fatty meats, and refined sugar products like cookies, candy, and cake. Screen and couch time. According to a new Nielsen report, Americans spend almost 8 hours per day with some kind of screen device. Limiting screen time may improve physical and psychological health. Alcohol and soda. If you would like more information about screening, go to: New York State’s Department of Health website at or locally, call the Cancer Services Program of Livingston and Wyoming Counties at 800-588-8670. If you are uninsured, the Cancer Services Program can also assist you with free screenings as well as insurance information. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 17, 2017

Medical Alert Tattoos

When I was a kiddo, I was fascinated by my Grandpa's tattoos. As a sailor in the Merchant Marines in the early 1900s, the blueish, black ink on his arm was the emblem of the organization. (I think he may have had one that read "Mom" too.) He was the only person I knew with a tattoo and I found it terribly exotic. Overtime, the social norms of my generation told me tattoos were for sailors and military types alone. Nowadays, those norms have changed once again as people from all walks of life are getting inked up with everything from Disney characters to Bible verses. It was not surprising to me then when my daughter said she wanted a tattoo. It may be surprising to you, however, her reason why. My daughter is a Type 1 Diabetic. As an athlete and incredibly active individual, she found medical alert bracelets and necklaces to be cumbersome. In addition, the jewelry often broke. She, therefore, opted for a medical alert tattoo, in her case the words "Type 1 Diabetes" strategically placed on her left forearm where an EMT would notice it when taking a pulse or putting in an IV. She has no other tattoos and it is very easy to read. Medical alert tattooing is becoming more common for various conditions such as allergies, MS, and epilepsy. This practice, however, is not without controversy. Issues exist regarding lack of regulation, consistency, placement, and lack of awareness on the part of medical professionals. Medic alert tattoos aren't standardized in terms of location, appearance or size. All you have to do is Google images of medical tattoos and you will see that there are designs ranging from easy to read and understand to "artsy" and unclear. Furthermore, some medic alert tattoos might be lost in a forest of other tattoos if a person is really "tatted up." One of the biggest objections has to do with legitimacy. Medic alert bracelets have a reputation for being a legitimate form of medical communication. Tattoos, on the other hand, are not so clear. If only the word diabetes is in a circle, does that mean the person has diabetes or is the person paying tribute to a loved one who has diabetes? And then there is the question of medical professionals, their awareness, and what is lawful. A 2014 article in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services states, "certainly tattoos that give information about a patient’s medical history, such as an allergy or chronic medical condition like diabetes or a seizure disorder, can be helpful to EMS." That being said a tattoo giving directions such DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) is not legally binding. If a medical professional sees the tattoo, it may prompt the EMT or doctor to initiate questions of the patient and family about whether the patient does in fact have an actual and valid advance directive in place. The article continues to instruct EMTs that 'The key is to consider a tattoo with supposed medical information as just one piece of information to be factored into the overall assessment and treatment of the patient. Always “treat the patient and not the tattoo.” The tattoo can—at best—only give you information about a potential condition you need to consider, like diabetes or a seizure disorder. A critical point to remember is that there’s a difference between a tattoo that purports to give medical instructions that an EMS provider shouldn’t follow (such as a DNR tattoo) and a tattoo that could provide potentially useful information about the patient’s past medical history that may be helpful in the course of providing care to the patient." As medical alert tattoos become more mainstream, regulations or at least recommendations from professional medical organizations may follow. But at this point, due to lack of regulation and an uncertainty as to whether medical professionals will read or pay attention to a tattoo, many healthcare organizations are still suggesting that patients either wear a medical alert bracelet or carry medical information in their wallets even if they have a tattoo. In addition, informing co-workers, family members, and friends about your condition is important in case you cannot communicate during an emergency. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for articles, you can contact her at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 10, 2017

Flu Myths

Flu season is in full swing. According to the CDC "FluView" report for the week ending January 28, 2017, flu activity continues to increase and is widespread in most of the United States. The proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like-illness (ILI) has been at or above the national baseline for seven consecutive weeks so far this season. New York state currently has a high level of ILIs. Despite the efforts of physicians, the CDC, and departments of health, there continue to be a number of myths surrounding the flu. Knowing the truth about the flu, its prevention, and treatment may help you and your loved ones weather this yearly influx of illness better. Harvard Health Publications, the Mayo Clinic, and the CDC help debunk the myths with the following information: •MYTH: You can catch the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can't transmit infection. So people who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway. It takes a week or two to get protection from the vaccine. But people assume that because they got sick after getting the vaccine, the shot caused their illness. CDC recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. While it is best to get the flu shot by the end of October, anyone who has not gotten vaccinated yet this season should get vaccinated now. It is not too late. MYTH: Healthy people don't need to be vaccinated. It's true that the flu vaccination is routinely recommended for people who are at risk such as: Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old; Adults 65 years of age and older; Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum); Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; and American Indians and Alaskan Natives. But anyone — even healthy folks — can benefit from being vaccinated. Speak with your physician about what is best for you. MYTH: Getting the flu vaccination is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu. There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself during flu season besides vaccination. Avoid contact with people who have the flu, wash your hands frequently, and consider taking anti-viral medications if you were exposed to the flu before being vaccinated. MYTH: The flu is just a bad cold. According to the CDC, the flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to differentiate. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Colds generally do not result in serious health problems while the flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. A simple test at the doctor's office is the only way to know for sure if it is the flu or some other virus. MYTH: You can't spread the flu if you're feeling well. Actually, 20% to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms. MYTH: You don't need to get a flu shot every year. The influenza virus changes (mutates) each year. So getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak. MYTH: You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather without a coat, with wet hair or by sitting near a drafty window. While it is not a good idea to go outside without proper winter clothing, that alone will not give you the flu. The only way to catch the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus. Flu season coincides with the cold weather, so people often associate the flu with getting chilled. MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever. If you have the flu (or a cold) and a fever, you need more fluids. There's little reason to increase or decrease how much you eat. You might not be very hungry if you are ill, but there is no reason to starve yourself. In addition, good nutrition will help you recover. MYTH: Chicken soup will speed your recovery from the flu. This is one of those yes and no type answers. Chicken soup alone does not have any specific qualities that cure the flu or the common cold. However, the Mayo Clinic states that warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea or warm apple juice, help speed up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, soup and other liquids help prevent dehydration. MYTH: If you have a high fever with the flu that lasts more than a day or two, antibiotics may be necessary. Antibiotics work well against bacteria, but they aren't effective for a viral infection like the flu. That being said, some people develop a bacterial infection as a complication of the flu. Typically, the flu can lasts for one to two weeks. The most severe symptoms usually subside in two to three days with lingering effects such as weakness, fatigue, and a cough lasting for seven days or more. If your symptoms drag on or worsen, make an appointment with your physician to determine if antibiotics are necessary. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville, NY. For more information or article suggestions, contact Lorraine at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

February 9, 2017

UR Medicine |Noyes Health Designated Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care

In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality maternity care, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced that UR Medicine | Noyes Health has received for the second year in a row the Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation, a designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units. In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation agree to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as initiate programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others. Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. “The healthcare team here at the Noyes Health Birthing Center is committed to providing excellent care with compassion and enthusiasm,” said Birthing Center Nurse Manager, DeNae Gibson, RN, MSN, CLC. “We strive to make each family feel comfortable and supported while they’re here, and hope their experience encourages them to recommend Noyes to friends and family in the future. The Blue Distinction recognition demonstrates that our efforts have had lasting results.” Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims. Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants. Research shows that compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. For more information about the Noyes Health Birthing Center or to request a tour, call Birthing Center Nurse Manager, DeNae Gibson, RN, MSN, CLC at 585-335-4293. For more information about the program, visit UR Medicine |Noyes Health is a diverse and comprehensive healthcare system which includes Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital, a 67-bed facility in Dansville, Noyes Health Services in Geneseo, Noyes Kidney and Dialysis Center in Geneseo, and Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Services in Dansville. Noyes Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and serves all of Livingston County and parts of Steuben, Allegany and Ontario Counties. Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital is a community hospital and the only Emergency Department in Livingston County, located off Interstate 390, Exit 4. For more information about Noyes Health, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.5 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools. To learn more, visit About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for nearly 105 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA. About Blue Distinction Centers Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.... Read More

February 4, 2017

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month - a time to focus on heart health, learn about the risks, and engage in preventive measures. While there are awareness months throughout the year, this particular one is very meaningful to me. My Dad had a cardiac arrest at his workplace when he was in his early 70s. He collapsed on the floor, co-workers performed CPR, and the paramedics used a defibrillator to restart his heart. Those actions bought my Daddy six more years before his body finally gave out at the age of 78. That was almost 12 years ago and just a few years ago, my husband at age 52 had a heart attack. I know first hand how important it is to know your risk factors, seriously look at your lifestyle, and employ changes as necessary. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for 801,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. That is 1 of every 3 deaths. About 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular diseases each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds. In fact, cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined. Currently, about 92.1million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. Heart disease including coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and stroke remains the number one cause of death in the U.S. The American Heart Association's goal is to reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020 and improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent. The first steps toward reaching those goals are educating the public on risk factors and giving them healthy lifestyle tools. Major risk factors for heart disease fall into two categories: non-modifiable and modifiable Non-modifiable factors cannot be changed. They include your age, gender, and family history. Modifiable factors can be affected even by modest lifestyle changes. They include: high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and overweight, smoking, diabetes, and poor diet. So for instance, in my Dad's case, he had a family history - pretty much every male in his extended family had cardiovascular disease. So that was out of his control, however, the man loved peanuts, jelly beans, and rich foods. Extra pounds around his waistline and foods high in sugar and fat made his heart disease worse and this was in his control. In my husband's case, he had absolutely no family history. His numbers were actually good, meaning low blood pressure, normal weight, and acceptable cholesterol levels. He did, however, eat lots of sugar. (It is the only factor the doctor and he have been able to identify.) While his waistline was fine, the sugar was contributing to clogged arteries. Two and half years after his heart attack, he eats less sugar, hits the gym 3-5 times a week, and eats more veggies - all things under his control. Those simple changes are part of what the AHA calls the Simple 7. The seven things every person can do to reduce risk and improve their daily health include: Eat Right - eat more veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Reduce anything processed like frozen dinners, canned spaghetti, potato chips, baked goods, and soda. Lose Weight - According to the National Institutes of Health, more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity. Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese. Get Moving - About 30% of adults report participating in no leisure time activity. Just walking after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, taking the stairs, or parking far away from the door at the grocery store can make a difference. The idea is to spend more time moving naturally throughout the day. Stop Smoking - Worldwide, tobacco smoking (including second hand smoke) was 1 of the top 3 leading risk factors for disease. Locally, Noyes Health offers smoking cessation classes. (for more information, call the contact number at the end of this article.) Manage blood pressure - About 33% of Americans have high blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis and if necessary, take medication per your physician's directions to control it. Control Cholesterol - About 40% of Americans have high cholesterol. This can be controlled by diet, exercise, and medications. A yearly physical including a blood workup will reveal your cholesterol levels. Reduce blood sugar - An estimated 23.4 million adults have diagnosed diabetes. An estimated 7.6 million have undiagnosed diabetes. Additionally, about 81.6 million or almost 34% of the population have prediabetes which without eating right and moving more can lead to type 2 diabetes. Like cholesterol, your blood glucose level can be measured via a simple blood test. For more information, recipes, and ideas for a healthy lifestyle, go to: American Heart Association - CDC - Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville. For more information on this topic or to suggest article ideas, contact Lorraine at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

January 27, 2017

Know Your Numbers in 2017

Tax season is right around the corner. Pretty soon, we will all be looking at last year’s earnings, taxes, deductions, and hopefully, refunds! It is critical for businesses and households to know and understand their finances in order to plan for the future. Likewise, individuals should know their health numbers; yet, few people put this on their yearly to-do list. Many people either don’t know their health numbers or understand them. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 12% of Americans are proficient in health literacy; meaning they can look at health tables, charts, and numbers and interpret them correctly. Yet, those numbers are important for good health and well-being. Critical health numbers include: blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and body weight. The Centers for Disease Control state “Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and others. These numbers can provide a glimpse of your health status and risk for certain diseases and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more.” Visiting your physician and getting a blood draw is the first step in knowing your numbers. Once that is accomplished, a thorough discussion of the results along with a game plan for either maintaining or improving your numbers is next. Before you analyze your results, look at the following guidelines for healthy numbers: Blood glucose – There are two basic measurements. One is the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood after fasting. This is measured in milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL. A normal reading would be under 99 mg/dL. Blood sugar is also measured by the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in your blood. An HbA1c test gives you a picture of your average blood sugar control for the past 2 to 3 months. This is commonly known as your A1c and is measured as a percentage. A normal reading would be 4.0%-5.6%. 5.7%-6.4% indicates an increased risk for diabetes and a reading above 6.5% indicates diabetes. Blood pressure – Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg. This refers to the height to which the pressure in the blood vessels pushes a column of mercury. There are two numbers. The top number is the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating (systolic pressure), and the bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Prehypertension is 120/80-139/89 and hypertension (high blood pressure) is 140/90 or higher. Cholesterol – A blood draw for cholesterol will reveal four numbers: total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL) of blood or mg/dL. A desirable total cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL. HDL or the “good” cholesterol is best at 40mg/dL or higher and LDL or “bad” cholesterol optimally should be less than 100 mg/dL. Triglycerides are best at 150 mg/dL or lower. Body weight – To determine optimal weight, doctors refer to the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is a formula developed to test how much body fat we have in relation to our weight. In the USA, we use the following formula: BMI= 703 x weight/height2. A normal BMI reading is 18.5-24.9. Overweight is 25-29.9 and obese is 30 or greater. Doctors will also take into consideration your build, muscle mass, and age when analyzing the BMI. As you plan for 2017, consider putting a visit to the doctor on your calendar. Ask for a blood draw and a BMI reading so you can know your numbers and start off the year on the right track. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

January 20, 2017

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. It is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms affect middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages. The eye is similar to a water balloon with a string attached. It consists of an outer covering that is full of fluid that gives it a round shape. The string is the optic nerve which leaves the back of the eye, carrying information to the brain. The brain decodes that information into images that we understand as sight. There are tiny openings called angles in this balloon that allow fluid to leave the eye as more is produced. If these openings are blocked for any reason, the fluid in the eye builds up and exerts pressure on the optic nerve, causing irreversible damage resulting in vision loss or even blindness. This condition is called glaucoma. There are several different kinds of glaucoma. By far the most common is open angle glaucoma. In this disorder, the fluid can still leave the eye but the drainage canals are slowly clogging over time causing increased pressure inside the eye and on the optic nerve. It is this pressure on the optic nerve that causes irreversible loss of vision. Glaucoma can also be present without an increase in eye pressure. This is called normal or low tension glaucoma. In normal-tension glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged even though the eye pressure is not very high. Experts still do not know some people’s optic nerves are damaged even though they have almost normal pressure levels. One other type of glaucoma is acute glaucoma also known as angle closure glaucoma. Angle closure glaucoma is caused by blocked drainage canals, resulting in a sudden rise in intraocular (within the eye) pressure. This usually happens quickly, and the symptoms are dramatic, including severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and rapid vision loss. This is a medical emergency and demands immediate medical attention by an eye specialist. The Glaucoma Research Foundation indicates the following groups of people are at risk for glaucoma: Those of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent People over 60 Family members of those already diagnosed Diabetics People who are severely nearsighted Early detection, through regular and complete eye exams, is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma. A complete eye exam includes five common tests to detect glaucoma. Those tests looks at inner eye pressure, the shape and color of the optic nerve, the complete field of vision, the angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea, and the thickness of the cornea. It is important to have your eyes examined regularly. Your eyes should be tested: Before age 40, every two to four years From age 40 to 54, every one to three years From age 55 to 64, every one to two years After age 65, every six to twelve months Note: Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35. Check with your eye specialist to determine the best timing for you. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods. The goal of any treatment is to prevent loss of vision, as vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. The good news is that glaucoma can be managed if detected early, and that with medical and/or surgical treatment, most people with glaucoma will not lose their sight. If you would like to learn more about glaucoma, go to: The Glaucoma Foundation - The National Eye Institute - Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

January 20, 2017

UR Medicine | Noyes Health opens new Mental Health and Wellness Building

UR Medicine | Noyes Health opens new Mental Health and Wellness Building Organization Completes Renovation of Former GCC Building in Dansville UR Medicine | Noyes Health announces the opening of a new home for Mental Health and Wellness Services at 9221 Robert Hart Drive in Dansville. The move to the new building consolidates services formerly available at 1 South Main Street and a second off-site location. The phone number for information and appointments remains the same: (585)335-4316. The 7000 square foot building on 3 acres, a former GCC site, is at the corner of Main Street and Zerfass Road, and has renovated offices and consultation rooms for a full-time psychiatrist, 18 therapists and 2 prescribing nurse practitioners, as well as 2 art therapy studios, a conference room, and an observation room for training purposes. With the new building comes a new name: Noyes Mental Health Services is becoming Noyes Mental Health and Wellness, encompassing a broadened focus to include preventive and holistic health initiatives. What hasn’t changed is the mission of making a profound and positive difference in the lives of those struggling with life's everyday challenges, as well as those with mental illness. “The new Mental Health and Wellness facility demonstrates our continued commitment to the well-being of the communities we serve,” says Amy Pollard, UR Medicine | Noyes Health CEO. “Patient volume has almost doubled in the last 6 years. As the demand for mental health services in the region has grown, our staff has grown and we outgrew our old space. The new building is bright and spacious, and will allow us to continue to expand, if needed.” The building renovation was in part funded by Noyes Health employees through “Dress Down Day” fundraisers, and the renovation work completed by Noyes Health engineering staff. “Our new, airy building will help us continue to bring mental health issues out of the shadows,” comments Dr. Robert Whelpley, Mental Health and Wellness Services medical director. “We hope that our investment in the new facility demonstrates how much we value our patients and clients, and that we will treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. “ Noyes has provided mental health services to the tri-county region for 35 years. The organization’s multidisciplinary mental health professionals offer individual, group and family therapy for adults and children, and collaborate with patients, their families, and the community to support wellness and recovery. We address issues including: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, behavioral problems, stress management, anger management, grief and loss, trauma, life transitions, depression and anxiety, mood disorders, marital and family problems, chronic pain and health issues. Noyes offers many approaches to treatment from marriage and family therapy, co-occuring disorder groups, play therapy, art therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication management for those involved in therapy. ... Read More