News | St. Thomas Medical Group

5 Tips for Handling Spring Allergies in Nashville

We hate to say it. We really do. But you know it’s coming… Nashville’s spring allergy season is right around the corner. We’ve discussed the causes behind Nashville’s allergens, as well as testing and treatment methods. But is there anything you can do now to reduce the severity of symptoms? The ENT specialists and allergists at St. Thomas Medical Group say, yes!

#1 Mold Removal in the Home

Pollen’s not the only culprit that could be lurking behind your allergy symptoms. Mold is a common offender… and it could be hiding out in your home. Especially common in Middle Tennessee, where we often have high humidity and warm temperatures, mold may grow under leaky kitchen or bathroom sinks, in dehumidifiers, and in poorly sealed windows. Remove mold by scrubbing with a mixture of bleach and water. If mold is caused by a leak or some other moisture source, address the root of the problem, too! Get those pipes sealed.

#2 HEPA Filters on Vacuums

While most any new vacuum will have a decent air filter, there’s nothing quite like a HEPA filter (high efficiency particulate air filter), which can filter out 99.7% of particles that are within a diameter of 0.3 microns or more (source). HEPA filters can remove much of the pollen and dander in your home that causes allergies.

#3 Rethink Your Decor

While regular cleaning and vacuuming can go a long way in reducing allergens, you may also want to rethink the decor in your home.

Hard floor surfaces are easier to clean and less likely to trap allergens than rugs and carpets.
Roll-up shades will hold fewer allergens than drapes and curtains.
Plastic covers over mattresses and pillows can prevent dander from settling in.

#4 Change Air Filters

Change your HVAC’s air filter every 90 days or so. Change it more frequently if you have pets, a high number of occupants, or asthma or allergies. A high efficiency filter can help keep your home’s air more pure. If using an air purifier, check to see that it offers enough coverage for the room it’s operating in; update to a HEPA filter, if available.

#5 See a Doctor Before Symptoms Start

If your Nashville allergies haven’t kicked into gear, but you know it’s just a matter of time, schedule an appointment with a local allergist now. New treatments or combinations of treatments may be available since you saw your doctor last allergy season. Get a head start on allergies by being proactive and seeing your physician.

Find an ENT/Allergist at St. Thomas Medical Group (Nashville)

Struggling with allergy symptoms? Call on the Nashville ENT & Allergy Clinic. Contact St. Thomas Medical Group at +1 (615) 386-9089 to learn more.

Living With IBS: 5 Ways to Manage Your Symptoms

Approximately 10 to 15% of people suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). That equates to about 70,000–100,000 people in the Nashville area alone. According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, many patients with this disorder suffer for more than six years before their condition is diagnosed.

As anyone with IBS can attest, the abdominal pain and symptoms can be unpredictable and completely disruptive to daily life. If you suffer from IBS, please know that gastroenterology providers at St. Thomas Medical Group in Nashville are here to come alongside you and work with you to develop a comprehensive management plan that supports your overall health and wellbeing.

For those who are new to IBS and would like to know more about managing symptoms, view some of the following recommendations from our gastroenterologists at St. Thomas Medical Group…

5 Ways to Manage IBS Symptoms

While there is no cure or guaranteed “fix” for IBS, many patients find symptoms improve through the use of some of these strategies…

  1. Identify and eliminate trigger foods. Many patients find that their IBS symptoms flare up when certain trigger foods are introduced into their diet. At St. Thomas Medical Group, your gastroenterologist will work with you to identify those trigger foods so that you can eliminate them from your diet. Common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and raw fruit.
  2. Exercise routinely. Exercise has a number of health benefits, including the ability to help regulate stress, promote contractions in the intestines, and improve overall mood.
  3. Slowly increase fiber. Individuals with IBS who suffer from constipation may find their symptoms improve with a moderate increase of fiber. However, too much fiber can cause gas and cramping, so increase fiber intake slowly.
  4. Eat regularly. Regular meals at routine intervals can help reduce IBS symptoms. If constipated, eating larger fiber-based meals may improve regularity. For those experiencing diarrhea, eating smaller meals more frequently may help manage IBS symptoms.
  5. Develop good eating habits. It’s not just when and what you eat that matters. How you eat can also affect IBS. Drinking through a straw, for example, can cause you to swallow air, which may worsen IBS. Eating food on-the-go, overeating, chewing gum, and eating quickly can also worsen symptoms. Instead, eat slowly, regularly, and mindfully.

Gastroenterology in Nashville, TN | Schedule Now

Struggling with IBS or other issues of the digestive system? Find a gastroenterologist at St. Thomas Medical Group. Don’t delay in getting the care you need. Call +1 (615) 297-2700 or schedule your appointment online.

What Is the Keto Diet? Should I Try Keto?

So long, Atkins, there’s a new diet in town. And if it looks a little familiar, well… it is.

  1. Low in carbs.
  2. High in fat.
  3. Promotes weight loss.

The ketogenic diet (“keto” for short) has captured the country’s attention, and Nashville is no exception. Check out the following graph, which shows Google search interest in Nashville in keto (blue) compared to Atkins (red) since November 2016.

No doubt, you’ve heard of keto. But what exactly is it? And should you try it? Today on the St. Thomas Medical Group Blog, we’re going to take a closer look at that question. As always, please remember that this blog does not constitute medical or diet advice and is not a substitute for the specific recommendations provided by your doctor. As always, do not begin a new diet without first discussing risks and benefits with your physician.

About the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet emphasizes a high fat and low carbohydrate intake. The standard ketogenic diet, for example, typically follows these proportions:

  • 75% fat
  • 20% protein
  • 5% carbs

A popular and well-researched variant is the high-protein ketogenic diet, which looks something like this:

  • 60% fat
  • 35% protein
  • 5% carbs

Other variations exist, yet they lack the the same degree of evidence-based research that these two diets have supporting them.

So, what’s the science behind the keto diet? In a typical diet, people consume carbohydrates for energy. These foods include bread, pasta, some fruits (like bananas), and starchy vegetables. The keto diet drastically limits carbohydrate intake, prioritizing fats instead. This puts the body in a state of ketosis, forcing it to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Additionally, fats turn into ketones in the liver, and ketones then supply energy to the brain.

Many people experience weight loss with the keto diet without having to count calories and limit portions to the same degree required by other diets. This is due, in part, to the fact that foods in the keto diet are often quite filling and satisfying. Of course, this is also one of the reasons why this diet has grown quickly in popularity!

Should I Try the Keto Diet?

If you’re interested in the keto diet, talk to your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group to learn more about how diet and lifestyle changes can best serve your health goals. The keto diet can be a drastic change for many people, and patients are not advised to begin this diet without first discussing it with their healthcare provider. With that being said, some studies have shown that the keto diet may be effective in improving the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • …and others

Generally speaking, the keto diet is not recommended for high-performance athletes or those wishing to gain significant weight or muscle mass. Also, it’s worth stating that the keto diet, like many diets, does require a serious long-term commitment in order for results to be seen.

Keto Diet Questions? Talk to a Doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group.

Have more questions about the keto diet and whether it’s right for you? Schedule an appointment with a physician at St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults, conveniently located at the intersection of Green Hills, Sylvan Park and Belle Meade. Meet our providers online, or call +1 (615) 297-2700 to schedule.