5 Ways You Can Practice Self-Love on Valentine’s Day

According to DatingAdvice.com, Nashville is North America’s #1 “Most Romantic City” in 2019. Who knew? Whether or not this Valentine’s Day will bring you chocolate and roses, we recommend everyone learn to practice the invaluable skill of self-love!

What Is Self-Love?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes self-love as, “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.” Oscar Wilde wrote, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” In short, self-love is living a life that prioritizes your own health and happiness! And what better time of the year to start living such a life than Valentine’s Day?

#1 Toss What’s Holding You Back

As we come off the start of the new year (and find ourselves in awe of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix), it’s a great time to clean out closets and get rid of those things that don’t bring us joy. The ability to take a dress off the hanger without having to squeeze everything else to the side is a wonderful feeling! Negative space can be more life-giving than the junk that fills it!

#2 Add One Healthy Habit a Week

We all have opportunities for improving our health. And when we’re healthier, we’re happier. Are you one of the three million Americans who have acid reflux? Try one of these six habits for managing your symptoms. Do you hate exercise, but love nature? Then instead of trying to force yourself to get on the treadmill, try one of these four hikes in Nashville. In short, listen to yourself. Pay attention to how you feel. If there are areas of your physical or mental health where you think you could feel better, then do a little research and find ways to make improvements. The St. Thomas Medical Group Blog is a great place to look for ideas!

#3 Turn Off the Devices

Multiple studies have indicated an inverse relationship between happiness and social media use. And while there’s certainly a time and place for vegging out in front of the TV, watching three hours of Hulu night after night after night isn’t exactly a key to happiness. Start small with this lifestyle change. At first, take just an hour to totally unplug. Read a book. Sit in a coffeeshop. See a friend. Try a new recipe. Reflect on how the experience makes you feel, and then try something new the next day! Maybe you’ll even work your way up to a totally unplugged Sunday!

#4 Get Screened for Breast Cancer

If you are a woman age 40 or over, getting a screening mammogram may be one of the best acts of self-love you can do. Sadly, women in the United States have a one in eight lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. However, the good news is that women with stage 0 or stage I breast cancer have a 5-year relative survival rate close to 100%. Get screened so that if you need care, you can get it early on! Learn more.

#5 See Your Healthcare Provider

We all get sick from time to time. And when we do, isn’t it so much nicer to be able to see a doctor that knows you? Wouldn’t you prefer to have access to an integrated health care team that has some knowledge of your baseline health? Visiting a provider now for an annual wellness exam can be the start of a wonderful relationship – especially if you really need a doctor in the months or years that follow! Schedule your appointment online.

Practice Self-Love… And Schedule an Appointment With a Doctor In Nashville!

Find a provider at St. Thomas Medical Group by calling +1 (615) 297-2700. Both new and returning patients can also schedule online.

5 Tips for Getting Young Kids to Eat Healthier!

“Trust me, it’s good for you,” has never been a compelling enough argument to move broccoli from the fork to a toddler’s mouth. “Just try it,” doesn’t tend to yield much better results either.

At times, getting your toddler (let’s be honest, maybe even your teenager) to eat healthy feels like an uphill battle. After all, what three-year-old wants green beans when there are fruit snacks?!

At St. Thomas Medical Group, pediatricians aim to ensure toddlers and children get adequate nutrition… and for you to keep your sanity! Parents should always feel welcome to discuss diet, nutrition, and eating strategies with providers during wellness exams. Until your child’s next exam, reference these tips below from our pediatric health care team…

5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Diet

  1. Make it fun. Presenting a plate full of veggies or unfamiliar “healthy” foods in front of a child is often a big turn-off. It’s perfectly fine to introduce new foods (you should!), and nutritious items should be a part of every meal. That being said, mealtime is not an all-or-nothing battle. Include foods your child knows and likes with every meal. Then, make the new or healthy foods that you introduce fun. Broccoli florets can come with a delicious dipping sauce, whole grain toast can be cut into small star shapes, bananas can come with peanut butter, etc.
  2. Involve your child. Children are primed to soak up new experiences. Why not give your toddler the opportunity to pick out a fruit or veggie at the grocery store? Take it home, cut it up, taste it, talk about it. Maybe they won’t like the taste of that grapefruit they selected, but they might be wowed by the brilliant ruby color and enjoy the autonomy that comes along with choosing their own special fruit. By opening up your child to the diversity of food, you’re planting seeds of curiosity, which can blossom into a willingness to explore and experiment.
  3. Be the eater you want your child to be! If you want your child to eat carrots and hummus for a snack, you can’t eat french fries and ketchup. Set an example for your child by eating nutritious foods.
  4. Get on a schedule. You are not a short order cook and the kitchen is not always open. Establish a breakfast, lunch and dinner routine with two snacks during the day. Toddlers will learn to self-regulate. If they refuse breakfast, they can catch up at lunch. While it is perfectly fine to offer options, your menu should have limited options. Finally, keep meal time under a half-hour. Don’t let meals drag out to a point that your toddler becomes fidgety and disinterested. Give the appropriate five- or ten-minute warning and then remove the remaining food, assuming your child is no longer consistently taking bites.
  5. Treats and “junk” are okay. Getting your child to eat healthier doesn’t mean you have to completely purge the pantry of sugar. When you completely forbid a food group, you risk putting that group on a pedestal and creating an increased desire for that thing! Cookies and juice are okay. As the saying goes, “All things in moderation.” Talk through why these foods are special treats and dole them out accordingly.

See a Pediatrician in Nashville Today

Find a pediatrician near you at St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults. Please note, walk-ins are available on Saturday for established patients with acute medical concerns. (Learn more.) To schedule an appointment, call +1 (615) 301-7040 or schedule online.

hearing aid tech

Not Your Mother’s Hearing Aids… What’s New In Hearing Aid Tech

According to Miracle-Ear, one in six baby boomers (born 1946-1964) experience hearing loss. Yet only one in four of those baby boomers proactively seek help for their hearing loss.

Why do so few adults with hearing loss see their doctor about resolving this problem?

For one, the issue may be hard to acknowledge. Hearing loss can take place gradually over many years. Your ability to follow a conversation may diminish. You may begin asking others to repeat themselves more frequently. At first you don’t even think about it. Then you notice that these instances are happening increasingly often in loud environments. Perhaps you start to avoid crowded restaurants or other places where it’s difficult to hear.

There are many warning signs of hearing loss, but it may take many months or even years before people can identify those warning signs in their own selves.

Another reason why so many adults aren’t seeking out the help they need for hearing loss?

Well, let’s face it… hearing aids have a stigma for being… bulky… obvious… a sign of “old age.” The truth is, you probably talk to other people wearing hearing aids every day and don’t even realize it. And with the high decibel machines and environments we’re all exposed to on a regular basis, more people are needing hearing aids at a younger age.

The old stigma is no longer true. Today’s hearing aids aren’t your mother’s hearing aids! They’re barely noticeable – sometimes all but invisible – and high tech.

Advanced Technology, Slim Profiles

Audiologists at St. Thomas Medical Group prescribe Nashville patients with six different styles of hearing aids from brands like Phonak, Resound, Widex, Unitron, Siemens, and Starkey. Styles include:

    • Power Behind the Ear
    • Micro Behind the Ear
    • Full Shell in the Ear
    • In the Canal
    • Completely in the Canal
    • Invisible in the Canal

(See images of these styles.)

Many of these styles, such as “completely in the canal” hearing aids, are all but impossible for anyone to even detect. However, the best hearing aid isn’t necessarily the most discreet. The best hearing aid is the one that helps you boost both volume and your self-confidence!

What’s Stopping You from Exploring Your Options?

Wouldn’t you like to…

    • Enjoy following the conversation in a restaurant?
    • Listen to the television at a volume that agrees with others?
    • Hear the voices of children or grandchildren more clearly?
    • Not have to rely on closed captions?

Schedule an appointment with Nashville ENT Audiology by calling +1 (615) 292-5191. This is a risk-free appointment to learn about the absolute best technology in the hearing industry from highly educated and experienced audiologists in Nashville. What’s stopping you? Call today!

heart attack symptoms unique to women

What are the Heart Attack Symptoms Unique to Women?

Eye popping, chest clutching, forward slouching exasperation… that’s what a heart attack might look like on TV. But it’s not how heart attack symptoms actually play out in many real life cases. And it’s especially not an accurate representation of how women experience heart attacks.

In fact, men and women can experience heart attack symptoms quite differently. And, by the way, heart disease isn’t just a man’s problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.”

Heart disease is responsible for one in four female deaths, and approximately the same number of men and women die from heart disease each year. Nearly two-thirds of women who die from heart disease have no previous symptoms.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

In women, heart attack symptoms may include:

  • Angina (chest pain/discomfort that may range from dull to sharp)
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back. (These areas can be more common among women than men.
  • Additionally, this pain is more likely to be characterized by women as “sharp” or “burning.”)
  • Indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Note: some women may experience no symptoms at all.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, call 911 immediately.

While chest pain is the #1 symptom for both men and women, women are more likely to experience the other pains described above, as well as shortness of breath and nausea/vomiting.

How You Can Reduce Your Risk for Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs every 43 seconds in the United States. However, you don’t have to be a victim. Talk to your internal medicine doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group about how you can manage risk factors such as diabetes, poor diet, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol use.

Risk reduction techniques may include:

  • Managing high blood pressure through diet, exercise or medication.
  • Getting tested for diabetes (if recommended by your health care provider).
  • Quitting smoking (if currently a smoker).
  • Learning and implementing healthy dietary habits.
  • Lowering stress levels.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to one drink per day.

See an Internal Medicine Doctor In Nashville

Do you need a physician who will partner with you in your heart health? Meet the internal medicine providers at St. Thomas Medical Group. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call +1 (615) 297-2700. You can also request an appointment online.

11 Questions to Ask In Choosing Your Child’s Pediatrician

Whether you’re new to Nashville or new to being a parent, finding the right pediatrician for your child can feel like a daunting task. In this post, our team at St. Thomas Medical Group hopes to make the process easier for you! Browse through some of the suggested questions below to jumpstart some thoughts about what you prioritize in your child’s healthcare.

Selecting a Pediatrician in Nashville

Do any of these questions spark some thoughts?

1. Do you have any specialized training?
2. How long have you practiced medicine?
3. What hospital(s) do you work with?
4. Do you offer same-day visits? At St. Thomas Medical Group, we do our best to provide same-day acute care visits Monday through Saturday with extended weekend hours.
5. What tests are done in-office? Will I have to take my child to a separate facility for certain tests?
6. What are your views on sleep training or circumcision? If you have questions about specific, sometimes controversial, health-related issues, it’s okay to ask the pediatrician directly for his or her opinion. Your child’s pediatrician is a partner in health, after all!
7. Can we contact you if we have an urgent need or a routine question?
8. Do you provide input on issues outside of my child’s physical health, such as social behavior and psychological development?
9. How long will we have to wait to get an appointment?
10. How long does a typical wellness exam take?
11. What is your opinion on prescribing antibiotics?

These are just a few questions to help you start thinking about what’s important to you as a new parent. In meeting with a pediatrician, nothing is off the table. After all, this is your child’s health we’re talking about!

If you already have children, feel free to bring them with you to the interview. Also, make sure to bring pen and paper so you can take notes on the answers!

Are you a new parent? If so, read our brief New Parent guide.

Find a Pediatrician in Nashville Today

Find a pediatrician near you at St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults. Walk-ins are available on Saturday for established patients with acute medical concerns. (Learn more.) To schedule an appointment, call +1 (615) 301-7040 or schedule online.

Where to Get an Aviation Medical Exam in Nashville (FAA Approved)

Obtaining an aviation medical certificate is an essential step for an aspiring commercial pilot. While passing this exam is easy and painless for those of relatively good health, pilots with some health concerns may feel a little anxious about getting their aviation medical certificate.

Fortunately, there is some room for grace in this exam. If you’re not in perfect health, you still have a chance of receiving FAA approval.

Scheduling the Aviation Medical Exam

In order to obtain a certificate, you must schedule an appointment with an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner. Dr. John M. Guenst at St. Thomas Medical Group offers this exam. (He’s also a licensed airline transport pilot and certified flight instructor!) Meet Dr. Guenst and schedule here.

Undergoing the Exam

During the medical exam, Dr. Guenst will go over your health history and discuss any issues that may delay a certificate. Even though some medical conditions are considered disqualifying, they can sometimes be waived if they are considered to be adequately controlled. (Examples may include: heart disease, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, and others. Learn more.)

Eyesight (including color vision, near- and farsightedness, and peripheral vision) is checked, as well as your hearing. Urinalysis, a blood pressure exam, and questions about your mental health may also be included. If over the age of 40, an annual ECG may be part of the health requirements for flying.

After the Exam

An aviation medical exam can have one of three outcomes: approval, denial, or deferment to the FAA. An outright denial is uncommon. If your exam does not result in an approval, it’s common for the examiner to send the application on to the FAA for further approval.

For more information, you can view the latest guide for Aviation Medical Examiners here. This guide contains all the information you may want to know about the exam and regulations surrounding the process.

Schedule an Aviation Medical Exam in Nashville

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Guenst online using the following link. If you need to be seen sooner than the listed available appointments, please call the office, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

For more information on scheduling an aviation medical exam, call +1 (615) 964-5821.

The 8 Warning Signs of Diabetes: Should You Get Tested?

With more than 30 million adults living with diabetes in the U.S., we all know someone who’s developed this illness. In fact, diabetes has become increasingly common over the last 20 years. During this time period, diagnoses have tripled in the U.S.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 15% of the adult population in Tennessee has diabetes, while 35.8% has prediabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

But what exactly is diabetes? In short, it’s a chronic disease that compromises your body’s ability to process food into energy. There are three types: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, which can occur among pregnant women.

In this post, we’re going to focus on type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95% of cases in the U.S. In patients with type 2 diabetes, the insulin hormone, which plays a critical role in turning blood sugar into energy, can’t keep up. In most cases, the pancreas will not produce enough insulin to meet the demand of the glucose level. This can lead to other major health problems, such as kidney disease and heart disease.

The 8 Warning Signs of Diabetes

Approximately one in four people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease. This is just one reason why it’s so important to recognize the early warning signs that type 2 diabetes presents. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over a third of all adults in the U.S. have prediabetes (and 90% don’t know it).

So, what are the warning signs?

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Fatigue
  3. Dry mouth
  4. Increased hunger
  5. Headaches
  6. Blurred vision
  7. Unexplained weight loss (despite eating as usual)
  8. Frequent urination (or urinary tract infections)

Should You Get Tested for Diabetes?

If you experience any of the symptoms discussed above, see your primary care physician or an internal medicine doctor in Nashville for an evaluation. These symptoms, on their own, do not necessarily indicate the presence of diabetes. However, it is important to get checked out if you’re experiencing symptoms such as fatigue and blurred vision.

If your provider deems it necessary, you may get tested with a simple blood sugar test. There are several blood tests that are easily performed in office; results are often available quickly.

See an Internal Medicine Doctor In Nashville

Need help managing your diabetes? Looking for a physician who will partner with you for better health? Meet the internal medicine providers at St. Thomas Medical Group. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call +1 (615) 297-2700
. You can also request an appointment online.

men's wellness exam

What’s Covered In a Men’s Wellness Exam?

Only sixty percent of men go to the doctor for annual physical.

And just over forty percent of men will go to the doctor only if they think they have a serious medical condition.

These findings from a recent Cleveland Clinic survey raise a few questions, namely, why aren’t men visiting their doctors?

Annual Wellness Exam for Men

Guys, the truth is, your health insurance plan covers you for one free wellness exam every year. If you have Medicare or a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you can receive an annual wellness exam from a doctor or provider in your plan’s network.

You don’t have to wait until you’re sick to see a physician. When you develop a relationship with a Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group, you help us establish what we call “baseline wellness.” Then, if you do become sick, we have some information we can use for comparison.

Additionally, when you develop a relationship with a physician, we can establish records of your personal medical history and family history, which help us provide better informed and potentially more effective care later on, should you become sick.

What Does a Marketplace Health Plan Cover?

According to HealthCare.gov, plans must offer the following preventive services without charging you a copayment or coinsurance (even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible):

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening (men ages 50-75)
  • Depression screening
  • Type 2 diabetes screening (men ages 40-70 who are overweight or obese)
  • HIV screening
  • Immunization vaccines
  • Tobacco and alcohol use screening
  • …and much more

Your annual wellness exam can be an opportunity to get checked out for a number of health conditions. (See the rest of the list here.)

Why Get an Annual Wellness Exam?

Men’s wellness exams offer many benefits. These are just a few great reasons why you should schedule with a doctor in Nashville today…

  1. Wellness exams may lead to early detection of an illness; early detection could result in better outcomes.
  2. Wellness exams could lead to the detection of risk factors for chronic disease, creating an opportunity to change lifestyle habits and prevent the development of disease.
  3. Wellness exams provide an opportunity for your doctor to update your clinical data, creating a more accurate picture of your overall health, which may be critical in an emergency.

See a Doctor in Nashville at St. Thomas Medical Group

Has it been a while since your last men’s wellness exam? Schedule an appointment with a provider at St. Thomas Medical Group by calling +1 (615) 297-2700. You can also request an appointment online at your convenience.

Building a Campfire or Bonfire? Read This First!

The temperature has dropped and that crisp autumn breeze has blown into Nashville. As the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, many Nashvillians will light up the fire pit! Whether you’re going camping at Fall Creek Falls or just enjoying a warm fire in your own backyard, be sure to follow these guidelines for your own health and safety!

Health & Safety Guide for Campfires & Bonfires

  • Check the county’s policy on fires and burn bans before making a fire.
  • Never use gasoline or any flammable that is not exclusively intended for fire-starting purposes.
  • Build your fire away from fences, trees, and overhead items (string lights, telephone wires, etc.).
  • Only burn dry material, as damp wood causes excess smoke.
  • As a general rule, a fire should be distanced at least 5x its height from the nearest structure. For example, a fire burning four-feet tall should be at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case the flames get out of control.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Closely supervise children around a fire.
  • Anything that goes into the fire stays in the fire.
  • Store extra wood upwind of the fire.

First Aid for Burns

Accidents happen. If a burn does occur, follow this first aid guide.

Option #1 – At-Home Care. Many first-degree burns can be treated at home with basic first aid practices. Follow these steps.

  1. Stop the burning.
  2. Remove any clothing or jewelry in the area.
  3. Cool the burn by running cool (not cold) water over the skin until pain diminishes.
  4. Protect the burn with a sterile, non-adhesive cloth or bandage.
  5. Use over-the-counter pain relievers.

See your Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group if pain and redness lasts several hours or more, if the burn produces a large burn blister, or if you notice any signs of infection (such as swelling, oozing, fever, worsening pain).

Option #2 – Call 911. Certain types of burns require emergency care. This includes burns that…

  • Sear through multiple layers of skin.
  • Are on the hands, feet, face or genitals.
  • Cause leathery, charred, white, black, or brown marks on the skin.

Always call 911 if the burn victim is an infant or senior.

St. Thomas Medical Group: Partners In Your Health

At St. Thomas Medical Group, primary care physicians partner with patients throughout Nashville with a common goal: better health. To learn more about how you can better care for yourself and your family, schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group. You can schedule online or by calling +1 (615) 297-2700.

Who Should Get Screened for Breast Cancer?

From the supermarket shelves to the TV commercials, you’re probably well aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While funding research and learning more about this cancer is important for both men and women, perhaps the single most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself by getting screened!

This month, doctors at Nashville’s St. Thomas Medical Group are encouraging women ages 40 and older to get their annual screening mammograms. (See below for details. Talk to your doctor to learn more about screening recommendations based on your personal and family history).

Breast Cancer Facts

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)…

  • “Breast cancer accounts for 30% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in women.”
  • “In the United States, a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 12% (one in eight).”
  • “It is estimated that 252,710 new cases of breast cancer, resulting in 40,610 deaths, will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2017.”

While these are sobering facts, there is good news. Breast cancer mortality rates have plummeted significantly in the last half-century. For example, while women had a five-year survival rate of 75% in 1975, the current five-year survival rate is 90%.


This major step forward can largely be attributed to earlier detection and better treatments. Early detection is key when it comes to breast cancer, which is why physicians at St. Thomas Medical Group encourage the following breast cancer screening recommendations.

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

The American Cancer Society offers the following breast cancer screening recommendations:

  • Women age 40-44: Consider beginning annual breast cancer screening with mammogram.
  • Women age 45-54: Annual mammograms recommended.
  • Women 55+: Continue annual screening or switch to every other year. This practice should continue for as long as a woman is in good health and expects to live 10 years or more.
  • All women: Talk to your doctor to learn more about the benefits, limitations and potential harms associated with routine screening mammography.

Get Screened at St. Thomas Medical Group

To schedule your next screening mammogram, contact St. Thomas Medical Group by calling +1 (615) 297-2700.