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Amelia Islander

Enjoying a Healthy & Active Lifestyle

Oct 06, 2014 02:10PM
[heading style="subheader"]What Is a Medical Emergency?[/heading] There are some situations where it is obvious that you need to call 911. If you or a loved one is experiencing severe, sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, continuous vomiting, or has a broken bone, among other conditions, it’s clear that you need to call 911. But what about those medical situations where you just aren’t sure whether to call 911 or not? The bottom line is: when in doubt, you should always call 911.

Dispatchers at 911 are specially trained to provide support until rescue arrives. Fire and Rescue departments are designed to provide help when needed – they have no ulterior motive other than to provide life-saving care, so do not hesitate to rely on them when needed.

There are situations, however, which don’t require 911 and could be taken care of at an urgent care center. Baptist Health has affiliated with CareSpot to provide urgent care medical service. When does it make sense to go to an urgent care center? These types of centers can be a good option when you have a cold or sore throat and can’t get in to see your primary care physician, or when you or a child has an ear ache or a minor injury. You can also use an urgent care center to get immunizations up to date, or for a prescription refill if you can’t reach your primary care doctor. Again, if you are not sure about the severity of the injury or illness, call 911 and they will walk you through the safest solution.

Of course, a full-service ER like the one at Baptist Nassau is always ready to treat you or your family members with fast, advanced emergency care. The ER at Baptist Nassau is staffed with board-certified physicians who have the training and education to make the right diagnosis and provide you with the best medical care. If you need care beyond our scope at Baptist Nassau, we can quickly transfer you to Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. For children, many pediatric needs can be taken care of right here, or at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. The Baptist Nassau ER also has “fast track” service, which provides quick care for less critical needs. Thankfully, for all levels of emergency care, a variety of excellent options are at your disposal on Amelia Island.

Dr. Woodward is medical director for Baptist Nassau’s Emergency Services department. Baptist Nassau’s ER was recently renovated and expanded to provide more streamlined life-saving care in a modern, comfortable environment.

[heading style="subheader"]The Importance of Active Aging[/heading]

Wellness has become a popular topic of discussion in mainstream media, and perhaps a topic in your own inner circle. New gyms, fitness routines, and kale diets seem to be popping up everywhere you look. People are starting to focus on what it means to be healthy and how they can improve their overall well-being.

Regardless of age, staying active should be a top priority. If you are active when you are young, you tend to remain active as you age. From advancements in medicine to understanding the real importance of exercise, our culture is staying active well into their 70’s and 80’s—which means we are living longer than before.

How does wellness or wellness programming relate to retirement? When you decide the time is right to look at independent living communities, it is important to find a community that helps you to stay active and maintain your independence. Today, many independent living communities cater to the overall wellness of their residents through state-of-the-art fitness centers, dedicated wellness teams, and even changing out dining room menus to make them more heart healthy.

Focusing on the overall wellness of you or a loved one is extremely important to the aging process. According the International Council on Active Aging, it is important to look for a community that offers structured wellness programing to residents.

When you participate in wellness programming, you will enjoy a number of physical and emotional health benefits, including:

• Reducing your healthcare costs!  If you remain active and exercise, you can change your overall health and minimize your healthcare expenses.

• Increasing your happiness!  By participating in wellness programming, you are in fact socializing with other members and staff. Staying engaged leads to more satisfaction with your community.

• Living independently, longer!  Staying healthy is important to maintaining your independence.

• Enjoying one-on-one attention from a certified wellness instructor.

Many communities like Osprey Village have on-site wellness specialists that set up programs to fit residents’ specific needs. For more benefits on participating in wellness programming, visit the International Council of Active Aging at

Osprey Village is an all-inclusive, luxury retirement community on Amelia Island, offering an array of amenities, including maintenance-free living and on-site health services. For more information, visit

[heading style="subheader"]Probiotics and Immunity[/heading]

When it comes to safeguarding one’s health during seasonal change and holiday stress, there are a number of nutritional supplements to keep in mind and on hand. Vitamins C and D and herbs such as echinacea, andrographis, oregano, olive leaf, and garlic are all known to have immune-boosting properties, but what about taking “friendly” bacteria, known as probiotics, to stave off disease?

Bacteria are normally present in the gastrointestinal tract. A newborn first gets exposed to maternal and environmental bacteria at birth. The underdeveloped immune system of the infant allows bacteria to colonize the gut and be recognized by the body as normal. Eventually, a person’s gut flora will reach a staggering 100 trillion, outnumbering the body’s own cells nearly 20 to 1, and consist of up to 1,000 different kinds of bacteria, the exact combination as unique to each human as a fingerprint.

Now, it may be assumed that this is indeed a lamentable state of affairs, and we would all be better off without any bacteria in our bowels at all. Work with germfree (sterile) mice lacking all gut microflora indicates that this is not the case. It turns out that germfree mice are extremely susceptible to bacteria capable of causing disease. Administering probiotics to the germfree mice actually reverses this predisposition to disease.

The above observation hints at one mechanism by which probiotics aid in immunity, and that is to simply crowd out the less desirable bacteria by adding a dose of beneficial bacteria to the fray. Many bacteria (but not all) need to attach to the intestinal lining in order to grow and there is a competition between the good, the bad, and the neutral bacteria for prime surface area. Factors including stress, poor diet, alcohol consumption, climate changes, illness, and antibiotics can alter this balance, setting the stage for disease.

Another way that probiotic bacteria fight harmful bacteria is to acidify, or lower, the pH of the large intestine through the production of substances such as lactic acid. Harmful bacteria tend to prefer a more neutral environment and acidic conditions inhibit their growth.

A wide variety of probiotic products are currently available locally at Nassau Health Foods. These products contain varying combinations and numbers of beneficial bacteria all designed to restore balance to one’s normal microflora. Try adding some probiotics to your supplement regime and take “bact” your health!

Dr. Olsen holds a doctorate in cell & developmental biology from the University of Minnesota. He has worked as a grocery buyer in a natural foods store and as an adjunct faculty member at Century College in White Bear Lake, MN. He is the supplement manager at Nassau Health Foods.

[heading style="subheader"]Making the Most of Physical Therapy[/heading]

The advancement in modern medicine for pain management over the past thirty years has brought new medications, specialized injections and surgeries, and even the use of implantable computers, which modulate pain and control drug delivery directly to the spinal cord and brain. However, one tried-and-true treatment option that shouldn’t be forgotten is physical therapy.

Physical therapy can help restore and improve function to the body from conditions rising from car accident injuries to rheumatoid arthritis and post-surgical care. Often, physical therapy is chosen over invasive surgeries, including certain back injuries.

The spine, which provides support, balance and movement to the body, is made up of vertebrae that are protected by softer discs. When healthy, these discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, keeping it flexible. But if a disc is damaged, it can bulge out or break open, also referred to as a herniated, bulging, or protruded disc. Depending on the severity of the injury, there are a variety of physical therapy techniques to treat these discs and restore healing to the back helping the injured regain movement.

Techniques are split into two main categories: passive treatments and active treatments. Passive treatments sound exactly like what they are: they aim at the relaxation of the body. Active treatments are used to address joint mobility, strength and flexibility. It’s common to begin with passive treatments, and then switch to active treatments, giving the body a chance to heal before working on improvements.

Whatever treatments your therapist assesses are needed will be done in the office and at home for optimal healing. Your qualified therapist will usually create a home treatment plan tailored to your needs. Also, more work done by the patient at home allows for minimal office visits and a reduced overall cost. For the back, or other areas, using physical therapy to treat chronic pain can be a lifelong tool to reduce and prevent new pain.

Amelia Island is fortunate to have many excellent therapists, including Nassau Physical Therapy, Coastal Physical Therapy, Advanced Physical Therapy and Brooks Rehabilitation. Heartland Physical Therapy and Advanced Physical Therapy also serve Yulee, while Nassau Physical Therapy has a Callahan location.

Dr. Miller is a board-certified interventional pain management and physical pain & rehabilitation physician with Coastal Spine & Pain Center, located at 1865 Lime St., Suite 101. For more information, call (904) 321-2422 or visit

[heading style="subheader"]“Soft” Drinks are Hard on Teeth[/heading]

From a dental point of view, there is nothing “soft” about so-called “soft drinks”. Sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks are actually very hard on your teeth. Most people think this is because of the sugar content in these drinks. And yes, soft drinks are loaded with sugar. But what you may not know is that sodas, diet sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks all have pH values closer to battery acid than to pure water. The acid component of these drinks can be just as damaging as the sugar in them.

Let’s look at the sugar first. How much sugar is in a soda? One 12 oz. can of soda contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar. That’s right: 10 teaspoons! How does the sugar in soft drinks damage the teeth? Bacteria in your mouth ingest the sugar, digest the sugar, and release acid as a byproduct. The acid made by the bacteria eats away at your teeth. The more sugar you consume, the more acid the plaque bacteria produce, and a cavity is formed.

The second damaging effect of sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks is from the acid content of the drink. The pH of water is 7.0, a neutral pH, which is good for your teeth. However, anything with a low pH is bad for your teeth. At a pH of 5.5 or below, teeth will lose minerals in the enamel and dentin. Here is the pH of some common drinks:

Lemon Juice: pH 2.00

Sport Drink:  pH 2.9

Cola:  pH 2.5

Diet Soda:  pH 2.7

Energy Drink:  pH 3.37

Milk:  pH 6.0

When teeth are exposed to acidic drinks, erosion occurs and mini pot holes can appear in the teeth. The loss of minerals in enamel and dentin frequently results in permanent damage. Once the enamel and dentin is gone, your body can’t repair it. Restorative dentistry utilizing composite fillings or crowns may be needed to repair the damaged teeth.

Volume, frequency, and duration of the above noted drinks are important factors in how damaging these drinks will be to your teeth. Like most things, moderation is the key. Therefore, if you want stronger and healthier teeth, choose carefully what you drink.

Dr. Kitson is a dentist with the Amelia Dental Group, located at 1947 Citrona Drive in Fernandina Beach. For more information, call (904) 261-7181 or visit

[heading style="subheader"]Improve Your Movement and Stay Active[/heading]

Nassau Physical Therapy is once again proud to participate in National Physical Therapy Month, as we have for the past 25 years. National Physical Therapy Month is hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association each October to recognize how physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can help transform society by restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.

The educational base and the skills of a physical therapist make our profession the experts in restoring and improving motion in our patients. One of the goals of physical therapy is to help each patient enhance their lifestyle by improving movement and activity, not just for the short term, but the long term. Being active plays a crucial role in improving and maintaining health and quality of life. This can be at a low level, by moving more easily in and out of bed and walking safely with improved strength, balance and confidence, or to higher level activities such as gardening, working, fitness, sports and athletics.

Physical therapists evaluate and treat many mobility disabilities that can be directly associated to postural and movement disorders, which in turn can contribute to difficulty with balance and walking, ultimately leading to a fall. We work with so many individuals that are at a risk of falling or have fallen, and the numbers continue to rise. According to the National Council on Aging, falls among the elderly are prevalent, dangerous, and can diminish their ability to lead an active and independent life. About one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over age 80, will fall at least once this year, many times with disastrous consequences.

Nassau Physical Therapy is celebrating National Physical Therapy Month by offering a free balance/falls risk assessment and educational handouts. As a bonus, all participants will automatically be entered to win a FitBit One. To learn more about how physical therapists can help transform society by restoring and improving motion in people’s lives, and to test your knowledge about physical therapy myths verses facts, please visit

Jim Marino, PT, is a physical therapist, owner, and CEO of Nassau Physical Therapy. Nassau Physical Therapy was established in 1989, serving the Nassau County community for 25 years, with offices in Fernandina Beach and Callahan. For more information, call 904-277-4449 or visit

[heading style="subheader"]Don’t Let Hearing Loss Shut You Out[/heading]

Our sense of hearing is precious. Hearing contributes to personal safety, emotional well- being, and independence. Through our hearing, we are able to communicate directly with others and experience the sounds in your environment. It’s no wonder that hearing loss can be a challenge!

Studies have linked the effects of untreated hearing loss to many problems, including stress, depression, isolation, reduced earning power, and even health issues. But thanks to major strides in the field of hearing care, there are solutions for you that can improve your life.

If you are beginning to suffer from hearing loss, you are not alone. Hearing loss often occurs naturally, as people get older. We commonly associate hearing loss with advancing age, but that is not the whole picture. Although hearing loss is common in older adults, affecting approximately thirty percent of people over age 60, hearing changes can occur in one’s 30’s and 40’s, too. A surprising fact is that sixty-five percent of individuals with hearing loss are below retirement age. About 15% of Baby Boomers – age 41-59 – and more than seven percent of Gen Xers (age 29-40) already have significant issues with their hearing. Because hearing loss occurs so gradually, its effects are sometimes not immediately obvious. It’s typically not easy to recognize a change in one’s own hearing. Often it’s a friend, co-worker, or family member that points it out. But, even then, it is often hard to believe that it’s happening to you.

Taking good care of your hearing is your responsibility. It’s up to you to be alert to the signs and have your hearing checked if you suspect that your hearing may be changing. People get their eyes tested and their teeth checked on a regular basis, so why not look after your ears, too?

If there is a problem, a solution can be found. Consider how precious your hearing is. You can get help and get so much more out of life. If you have a hearing loss, you can take control of the situation. Hearing loss should not get in the way of enjoying your life. Hearing care is health care.

Dr. Patti Shelly-Lohman is an audiologist with Amelia Audiology. For more information, please call (904) 491-1515 or visit