Skip to content
Menu
express care logo
Riverwalk:
mins
Andover:
mins

News & Events

Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age

What’s the key to keeping your mind sharp and your brain healthy as you grow older? Online puzzles? Nutritional supplements? Mall walking? Pickle-ball tournaments?

The truth is, there’s no single “miracle cure” for memory problems or other brain changes that come with aging. But there is cause for optimism. Science points to a combination of social factors and healthy habits that—taken together—can help you build, preserve, and protect your brain’s function over time.

Continue reading “Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age”

Wellness Wednesday: Sometimes all You Need to Do is Breathe

 

Breathing exercises offer an extremely simple, effective, and convenient way to relieve stress and reverse your stress response, reducing the negative effects of chronic stress. There are definite benefits of breathing exercises. While simple diaphragmic breathing can provide relaxation and stress relief, there are several different types of breathing exercises to try, each with its own twist. Here are several breathing exercises, some of which are commonly recommended, some of which are unique, and all of which can each offer help in managing stress. This is an easy exercise that only takes a few minutes. Here’s how.

Mindful Diaphragmic Breathing

Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and start to notice your breath. Before you begin to alter it, pay attention to the pace and depth. Are you taking deep breaths or shallow ones? Are you breathing quickly or slowly? (Becoming aware of your breathing can help you to become more mindful of your body’s response to stress, and can help you to notice when you need to deliberately relax your breathing.)

Counted Breathing

Counting your breaths can be helpful, both for pacing and as a form of meditation. This technique helps with pacing–it enables you to elongate your breath and stretch out your exhales. There are a few ways to do this.

As you inhale, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your teeth, then breathe through your nose and slowly count down from five; on the exhale, let the air escape through your mouth and count back up to eight. Then repeat. This helps you to really empty your lungs and relax into each breath.

A variation of this is known as “4-7-8 breathing,” and is recommended by wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil. With this option, you inhale for a count of four, wait for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. This allows you to pause between breaths and really slow things down.
You may also find your own pace. Experiment with whatever ratio feels comfortable to you, and see if it helps you to feel relaxed. The act of counting as you breathe still helps you to maintain a steady pace and keep your mind on your breath and the present moment, so it is still more effective than simply breathing regularly and unconsciously.

Visualization Breathing: Inflating the Balloon

Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you inhale, imagine that your abdomen is inflating with air like a balloon. As you exhale, imagine that the air is escaping the balloon slowly. Remember, you do not have to force the air out; it simply escapes on its own, in its own time. You may want to imagine the balloon as your favorite color, or that you are floating higher in the sky with each breath if this is relaxing for you. Regardless, the “inflating balloon” visualization can help you to breathe deeply from your diaphragm rather than engaging in shallow breathing that can come from stress.

Visualization Breathing: Releasing Your Stress

Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and start diaphragmic breathing. As you inhale, imagine that all the stress in your body is coming from your extremities and into your chest. Then, as you exhale, imagine that the stress is leaving your body through your breath and dissipating right in front of you. Slowly, deliberately repeat the process. After several breaths, you should feel your stress begin to subside.

Deep, Cleansing Breath

Sometimes all you need to release stress from your shoulders, back, or the rest of your body is a few big, cleansing breaths. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and take in as much air as you comfortably can. Then release it, and really focus on emptying your lungs. (Many people hold air in their lungs after an exhale, so emptying your lungs on a deep exhale can help you to get more fresh oxygen into them.) Repeat this breathing exercise for a few breaths and release the tension in your back, your shoulders, and anywhere else it tends to reside.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This breathing exercise variation has been practiced for thousands of years as a form of meditative breathing. As you inhale, place your finger over your right nostril and only breathe through your left. On the exhale, switch nostrils and only breathe through your right. You can breathe at whatever pace is comfortable for you, either a 5-8 ratio, a 4-7-8 ratio or whatever pace feels most relaxing for you (see “counted breathing,” above).

 

Cite: VerywellMind.com
 

Meet the Expert Speaker Series on Tuesday Feb 19, 6pm

 

Dr. Brenda Jimenez, Gastroenterologist will be presenting 

Family History and Herediatary Colorectal Cancer at 

On Tuesday February 19 from 6-7pm 

Holy Family Hospital-Haverhill Auditorium 140 Lincoln Avenue Haverhill, MA

To RSVP email: george.nugent@steward.org or call 978-887-0151 ext: 4897

 

 

Energize Your Body and Mind with Good-For-You Carbs

The diet industry has been doing you wrong by being wishy-washy about carbs. Despite what you may have heard, carbohydrates aren’t a no-no.

So, stop feeling guilty for noshing a much-needed macronutrient and focus on smart carb consumption strategies to adequately fuel your beautiful bod and brain.

Continue reading “Energize Your Body and Mind with Good-For-You Carbs”

Viral Gastroenteritis aka ‘Stomach Bug’

It seems the stomach bug is around, so what are the signs? 

What are the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is typically cause by a virus and symptoms usually begin about 1 to 2 days after the virus gets into the body.

Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • VomitingWoman holding stomach in pain
  • Watery diarrhea

Other possible symptoms are:

  • Mild Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Stomachache

Signs of dehydration:

  • Decreased urine output
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dry skin
  • Thirst
  • Dizziness

Signs of dehydration in young children:

  • Dry diapers (from a lack of urination)
  • Lack of tears
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Sunken fontanel (the soft spot on the top of an infant’s head)

How is viral gastroenteritis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will most likely diagnose your condition based on your history and symptoms. You will rarely need testing. If your symptoms persist, your healthcare provider may ask for a stool sample to look for viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Can viral gastroenteritis be prevented?

You and your children can help prevent viral gastroenteritis by taking these steps:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after going to the bathroom, after changing a diaper, and before touching any food.
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizers.
  • If someone in the house has gastroenteritis, wash all surfaces that might be contaminated with a bleach-based cleaner.

How is viral gastroenteritis treated?

In most cases, you simply need to drink plenty of fluids and rest at home until the virus leaves your system. In rare cases, you may need treatment for severe dehydration, with IV (intravenous) fluids.

Helpful home care tips include:

  • Drink plenty of light fluids like water, ice chips, fruit juice, and broth. Keep in mind that sports drinks are high in sugar and are not appropriate if you are extremely dehydrated. In this case, you will need an oral rehydration solution.
  • Avoid drinks that contain milk, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Once you feel hungry again, start with mild, easy to digest foods. (BRAT Diet – Bananas Rice Apples Toast)
  • Rehydrate children with oral rehydration solutions.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

Viral gastroenteritis is common in children and adults. In most cases, the disease is not serious and will run its course in a few days. Call your healthcare provider if you or a family member has vomiting or diarrhea that’s not getting better, worsening abdominal pain, if you see blood or tar-like stool, or if you have any signs of dehydration.

If your doctor is unable to see you, you can be seen at one of ExpressCare locations in Andover or Riverwalk/ Lawrence.  Visit www.pmaonline.com/expresscare to learn more or to schedule an appointment online.