News | St. Thomas Medical Group

What’s Your Heart Health IQ?

Nelson Mandela once said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Today, let’s test your head knowledge about your heart! Take the knowledge you learn in this post and apply it to better heart health for the rest of the year to come…

#1 – Fast Facts About Tennessee Heart Health

Heart disease is a national health problem, and Tennessee is no exception. According to the Tennessee Department of Health:

  • “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Tennessee, accounting for approximately 27% of deaths…”
  • “Stroke is the third leading cause of death…”
  • “Together, heart disease and stroke account for 1 out of 3 deaths in Tennessee each year.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Tennessee had the sixth highest heart disease death rate among all states in 2017. The good news is, many cases of heart disease can be prevented. It starts by knowing your risk factors.

#2 – Heart Disease Risk Factors

While some risk factors may be hereditary, others are within your control. Let’s look at a few heart disease risk factors that your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group may help you manage:

  • Hypertension: High blood pressure can increase risk for heart disease and stroke by putting excessive pressure on the walls of the arteries. High blood pressure may be managed through diet and exercise. Medication may also be an option.
  • Smoking: Once inhaled, the chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause clots to form in the blood, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • High LDL Cholesterol: High cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, blocking healthy blood flow. Reducing saturated fats, eliminating trans fats, and increasing fiber intake can help lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Diabetes: Excess sugar in the bloodstream can damage blood vessels and nerves. By preventing or managing diabetes, you may be able to lower your risk for heart disease.

#3 – Action Items: Own Your Heart Health!

What can you do to improve your overall heart health?

  • Stay active. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week – that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, talk to your Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group about quitting.
  • Lose weight. One recent study found that overweight or obese adults between the ages of 40 and 59 were at a 21 to 85 percent higher risk for developing heart disease than adults of the same age in a normal weight range.
  • Eat healthy. Sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, and sugar all increase risk for heart disease. Cut these unhealthy ingredients and replace them with whole foods, such as heart healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • See your doctor. Your doctor can make specific recommendations based on your personal health history. Your doctor would be thrilled to hear you say, “I want to make changes to reduce my risk for heart disease. Where do I start?” In many cases, patients are reactive to new developments in their health. Be proactive and start making positive heart health changes today – before any warning signs appear.

Find a Doctor Near You In Nashville

Need a doctor who will partner with you in your health? Find a provider at St. Thomas Medical Group by calling +1 (615) 297-2700. Both new and returning patients can also schedule online.

When Should Babies Start to…

Whether you’re a new parent or raising your third or fourth child, every little milestone in your baby’s life can be exciting… especially that first “sleep through the night” milestone! While infants reach these big milestones on their own time, this post may help set some expectations for when you might experience some breakthroughs…

Smile

Surprise… your baby was most likely smiling before you even met her! Of course, in utero smiles probably aren’t what you’re asking about. Baby’s first “real” smile may show anywhere from six to twelve weeks. You may be able to tell that it’s not just a reflex by looking for emotion in the eyes. And laughing? Expect those full-blown belly laughs somewhere around five months.

Eye Contact

Eye contact may occur as early as six to eight weeks of age. However, some babies may not make definitive eye contact until three months of age.

Roll Over

Rolling over may happen as early as three months, but it’s more common to take place somewhere around the four to six-month mark. Of course, infants have a way of rolling over for the first time when you’re not totally prepared! That being the case, never leave your baby unattended on a changing table or other elevated surface where he could roll over and fall.

Sleep Through the Night

Mark this milestone as the most exciting one that you won’t even notice until it’s over! Many babies will sleep six to eight hours uninterrupted after about four months of age. (But just because they do it once doesn’t mean it’s the new status quo!) By about six months of age, baby may even make it to ten blissful uninterrupted hours of sleep!

Talk

Around six months of age, babbling may turn into actual words. (Though meaning may not be associated with those words until around 12 months.) At approximately 18-24 months, very short, simple sentences may appear.

Crawl

If you haven’t done so already, it’s officially time to baby-proof the home at about six months of age. Crawling often occurs between seven and 10 months. Lots of tummy time and play may encourage crawling in your baby!

Walk

Once your baby begins to pull himself up, walking is just around the corner. Babies often begin to pull themselves up to a standing position around nine to 10 months, and are walking around 12-15 months.

See a Pediatrician in Nashville at St. Thomas Medical Group

Again, it’s worth repeating that these milestones are general in nature. If your baby hasn’t reached a milestone during the age range described here, don’t panic. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns!

Looking for a pediatrician who can partner with you in caring for your child? St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults is conveniently located at the intersection of Green Hills, Sylvan Park and Belle Meade. Meet our providers. Call +1 (615) 301-7040 or schedule an appointment online.

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.