Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

6 Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk

Cancer is often unpredictable, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. What’s more, some of those same behaviors can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases, and boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.

  1. Get regular cancer screenings.
    Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early, when they’re small, have not spread, and are easier to treat.
  2. Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
    Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many cancers, including breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, and
    pancreatic cancer.
  3. Exercise regularly.
    Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, endometrium, prostate, and colon cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
    Studies show that eating a lot of different vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fish or poultry is linked with a lower risk of developing certain cancers. On the other hand, eating more processed and red meat is linked with a higher risk of developing
    certain cancers.
  5. Avoid tobacco.
    Tobacco use in the US is responsible for nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths – about 480,000 early deaths each year. About 80%
    of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco use.
  6. Limit alcohol.
    Research has shown that alcohol can increase your risk for certain kinds of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectal cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk.

Habits of Healthy Families

  • Don’t go hungry. To stay at a healthy weight, you have to eat, not starve yourself. If you don’t fuel up regularly, you’ll become insatiably hungry, causing the “hunger” hormone, ghrelin, to spike. Then you may eat more than you need.
  • Automate lunch and breakfast. Don’t risk making bad, spur-of-the-moment grabs. Have staples on hand that are healthy and filling like oatmeal and soup.
  • Exercise 20 minutes a day, at home. An hour can be hard to dedicate to exercise, but almost every day, we can find 20 minutes to jump rope, do crunches, or take a walk.
  • Be the food decider in the house. If you don’t buy chips and cookies, both children and adults will find something healthier to eat when they’re hungry.
  • Eat dinner together every night. This simple ritual improves not just kids’ eating habits, but their grades and willingness to open up to you too.
  • Play together every day. The key is to carve out a reliable pocket of time when you can get active as a family. Have a dance party, a game of soccer, or shoot hoops before dinner.
  • Tell your little ones a bedtime story. Or talk to older kids about their day. It keeps you in touch.
  • Make sure you have a bedtime routine. A good night’s sleep keeps you young. And not getting enough sleep can be a contributing factor to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Bond in bed. Having regular sex can add an extra three years to your life expectancy. So strengthen your relationship and your health!

A Health Coach Can Help

Leslie Dredge-Murphy

Leslie Dredge-MurphyIf you were to interview some top professional athletes about their success, chances are they’d give a lot of credit to a coach who helped them along the way. A great coach recognizes someone’s current capabilities as well as their future potential. They can often see opportunities that others might miss. The same is true for Health Coach Leslie Dredge-Murphy, RN, at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. She works one-on-one with clinic patients to help them meet their potential and reach their life goals. “It’s all driven by our patients,” said Leslie. “We can work on anything they would like to improve. Often its things like weight loss, COPD, or congestive heart failure. But I work with them on anything health related that’s holding them back from having a healthy, happy life.”
Having a Health Coach on staff is relatively new. Although Leslie has been at the clinic for 16 years, she began in this role last April. “It’s a growing trend,” she said. “We’re seeing such a change in healthcare. Instead of just treating the sick, we are now really promoting preventative care. It’s become more important to encourage healthier lifestyles.”

Leslie doesn’t work alone. She’s part of a team that includes the patient and his or her practitioner. “I get a lot of information from our face-to-face meetings,” explained Leslie. “Then I report back to the practitioner so they’re notified on what we’re working on. I keep everyone up to date on each patient’s progress. We are all on the same team and we work together.” Typically Leslie meets with her patients weekly, sometimes in person, sometimes over the phone. Her time is not billed. Her services are an added benefit of being a Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patient. Ringgold County Hospital CEO Gordon Winkler is pleased with Leslie’s coaching and what she brings to clinic patients. “She’s doing a great job. We’re excited to have her in place,” he said. A native of Mt. Ayr, Leslie knew she wanted to live here and raise her family here. When she’s not coaching patients at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, she’s watching other coaches and their teams in action. A busy mother of two teenage sons, Leslie spends her spare time “at every sporting event there is!” Leslie’s health coaching services are available to Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients. To make an appointment, call: 641-464-4534.

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