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In Your Neighborhood

Act FAST and Be a Hero

Monday, May 2, 2016

Considering May is Stroke Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to remind everyone of the simple ways to detect any signs and symptoms of a stroke. When someone’s heart stops functioning properly, they may be having a heart attack. A similar term is now used with a stroke. A stroke can be referred to as a brain attack.

“We can be a hero and help save someone. The word to know is FAST.”
<p>We can be a hero and help save someone. The word to know is FAST.</p>

A stroke occurs when oxygen can no longer reach the brain. The arteries leading to the brain can be blocked or the vessels may rupture. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the leading cause of disability as well as the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. We can be a hero and help save someone. The word to know is FAST. It is actually an acronym that represents:

  • Face
  • Arm
  • Speech
  • Time

Face – The face is usually relatively symmetrical. If you notice that one side of someone's face begins to droop, this could a sign that he or she is having a stroke. The brain is no longer able to communicate to the muscles within the face and one side starts to hang down.

Arm – If someone begins to have weakness and the inability to maneuver an arm or a hand, this also could be a result of a stroke. You may ask them to raise both arms and see if they are able to control them.

Speech – When an individual has difficulty forming words or proper sentences, this too is a sign that cannot be ignored.

Time – Once a person displays even one of these signs or symptoms, there is no time to wait. He or she needs specialized medical treatment as fast as possible. You should not put them in your car and drive them to the hospital. It is imperative that 9-1-1 is called. The first three hours are extremely critical. A clot-busting medication can only be effectively administered within this short time period. Even if the 3 hour window has been surpassed, it is still important to contact 9-1-1.

Norman Regional Health System (NRHS) has designated as a Certified Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. According to the Joint Commission, this designation has been awarded based on the exceptional effort and best practices unique to patients who have experienced a stroke. They are used to create the opportunity for better long-term outcomes. The ability to provide this level of care should provide our community with peace of mind.

EMSStat is NRHS's emergency medical service that serves Norman, Moore and the surrounding communities. When they are informed of a potential stroke, they begin communicating with the emergency room so that the appropriate personnel are onsite to provide immediate care upon arrival. The clot busting medication is called Tissue Plasminogen Activator or tPA for short. This medication will be administered upon arrival in the emergency room. The faster it is administered, the more brain cells can be saved. According to Tom Gremling, MSN-E, RN, NRHS Stroke Training Center Coordinator at NRHS, "Studies show that early detection and activation of the EMS system is imperative when dealing with stroke. At the time of a stroke event, a billion brain cells a minute are dying off, so remember Time is Brain, act FAST!"

By acting FAST, you can be a hero. You have the ability to save a life or the quality of someone’s lifestyle. Remember: Face, Arm, Speech and Time.

Be Weather Aware

Monday, May 2, 2016

While tornadoes can happen at any time, the prime conditions usually present themselves between late March and August. Considering you may not be together when disaster strikes, to create peace of mind among your family members, it is important to have an emergency plan in place.

“Join us by being a Force of nature and taking actions that can save lives anywhere - at home, in schools, and in the workplace...”
<p>Join us by being a Force of nature and taking actions that can save lives anywhere - at home, in schools, and in the workplace...</p>

Start your plan with contact information. You should write down important phone numbers on a sheet of paper or on a wallet size card. Everyone should carry this card in their wallet, purse or back-pack. It would be helpful to have this contact sheet posted in a central part of your home; like on the refrigerator or a bulletin board. This way, if your cell phone battery dies, you can still be in contact. The card should include the following phone numbers and information.

  • Family members
  • Close friends
  • School/office,
  • Physician,
  • Insurance information
  • Out of town contact.

Here is a link to a template you can use from FEMA.

When a tornado strikes, you may have a better chance of communicating via text instead of phone calls. There are times that a text may go through when you are not able to connect via a phone call. In addition, it frees up connectivity for emergency personnel. It may be easier to reach an out to town/state number which is why it is recommended to have one point person everyone can call/text to keep informed. A text should include where you are located, who you are with, that you are OK and if you need something.

Select a meeting place. You can have one within your neighborhood or somewhere else in town. Discuss ways to get to the meeting places as well. Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. For pet owners, consider animal friendly locations. According to FEMA, here are examples of potential meeting places.

  • In your neighborhood: A mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor's house.
  • Outside of your neighborhood: library, community center, place of worship, or family friend's home.
  • Outside of your town or city: home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.

Social Media is a great place to stay in contact and keep others informed. On May 20, 2013, a friend traveling in Japan at the time of the tornado was able to connect with a quick phone call. Considering, electricity was out in the some of the metro area and phone service was spuratic, it would have been difficult to provide others with a status update. The friend was able to post an update letting people out of town know contact had been made and that everyone was OK.

It is important to practice your plan with your family. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans and discuss your designated meeting places. If you have not done it yet, now is a really good time to clean out the storm shelter. If you do not have a storm shelter, identify a safe area within your home. In addition, check the batteries in the weather radio. You want to make sure you have working flashlights as well as candles. Ensure you have back-up batteries.

"Norman Regional knows first-hand the devastating effects of severe weather and the importance of being informed of weather conditions and having a plan in place", said Shane Cohea, Director of Safety and Security at the Health System. During the May 20, 2013 tornadoes, the Health System's Moore Medical Center took a direct hit from an EF-5 tornado. While the building was destroyed, due to the preparedness of Moore Medical Center staff, those inside the building survived without injury.

Norman Regional Health System is proud to become a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is an effort to formally recognize NOAA partners who are improving the nation's readiness against extreme weather, water, and climate events. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, Norman Regional is committing to work with NOAA and other Ambassadors to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather.

Norman Regional Health System is holding six training sessions called EF-5 Fridays. The community is invited to learn about the best practices for severe weather. If you have any questions, you can contact our class enrollment line at 405-307-3176.

  • 5/6/2016 at 9:00 AM in the education center of Norman Regional Hospital at 901 N Porter Ave
  • 5/6/2016 11:00 AM in the 1st Conference Room at Norman Regional HealthPlex at 3300 HealthPlex Pkwy off of Tecumseh and I-35.
  • 5/6/2016 12:00 in the 1st Conference Room at Norman Regional HealthPlex at 3300 HealthPlex Pkwy off of Tecumseh and I-35.
  • 5/20/2016 at 9:00 AM in the education center of Norman Regional Hospital at 901 N Porter Ave.
  • 5/27/2016 9:00 AM in the education center of Norman Regional Hospital at 901 N Porter Ave.
  • 5/27/2016 11:00 in the 1st Conference Room at Norman Regional HealthPlex at 3300 HealthPlex Pkwy off of Tecumseh and I-35.

Join us by "being a Force of nature" and taking actions that can save lives anywhere - at home, in schools, and in the workplace before tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme types of weather strike.

Be Sweet to Your Heart

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Be sweet to your one and only, your heart, at Norman Regional’s healthy heart event. You can learn about heart disease and prevention from physicians as well as be screened for your risk of experiencing a heart attack. Light refreshments will be served. Activities include:

“Norman Regional is offering everyone who signs up for the Healthy Heart Fair a free lipid profile blood test.”
<p>Norman Regional is offering everyone who signs up for the Healthy Heart Fair a free lipid profile blood test.</p>
  • Free blood test results, blood pressures screenings and risk assessments
  • Health information on nutrition, recipes, fitness, tobacco cessation, food demonstration, heart risk assessments and more.
  • Physician Panel on prevention, heart disease, risk factors, treatments and recovery

Tuesday, February 23
5pm to 7pm

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Healthy Heart Fair

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm – Expert Panel

Norman Regional Hospital Education Center
901 N. Porter Ave.,
Norman, OK

Please RSVP 405.307.3176

Norman Regional is offering everyone who signs up for the Healthy Heart Fair a free lipid profile and A1C blood test. The blood test must be completed by Thursday, February 18th in order for the lab to send us your results in time for the event. Simply take this ad into any Norman Regional affiliated laboratory location during its normal business hours.

You must fast for 12-14 hours prior to this test.

Norman Regional Lab Locations:

Doctor's Park Building
500 E. Robinson St., Suite 1600, Norman

Findlay Medical Center
809 N. Findlay, Suite 101, Norman

Outpatient Diagnostic Services
901 N. Porter, Norman

HealthPlex Professional Building
3400 W. Tecumseh, Norman

HealthPlex Hospital Outpatient Services
3300 HealthPlex Pkwy, Norman

Norman Regional Moore Temporary Services
700 S. Telephone Rd., Moore

January – Thyroid Awareness Month

Friday, January 8, 2016

January is Thyroid Awareness Month and the perfect time to bring attention to thyroid disease. Many people know the term thyroid but do not know the important role it plays in keeping people active and healthy. The thyroid gland is essential in regulating the way our bodies function. All of the major organs require the appropriate amount of thyroid hormone in order to work properly. Disorders that result from a dysfunctional thyroid gland have been increasing in recent years.

“The thyroid is located below the Adam's apple at the base of the neck. It is a small gland that can be found in front of the windpipe and consists of two lobes resembling a butterfly.”
<p>The thyroid is located below the Adam's apple at the base of the neck. It is a small gland that can be found in front of the windpipe and consists of two lobes resembling a butterfly.</p>

What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid is located below the Adam's apple at the base of the neck. It is a small gland that can be found in front of the windpipe and consists of two lobes resembling a butterfly. The thyroid produces several hormones that impact metabolism, growth and development and body temperature.

What problems can occur with the thyroid?
Problems exist when the thyroid gland produces an abnormal amount of thyroid hormones. An overproduction can cause hyperthyroidism while an insufficient amount can create a condition called hypothyroidism. It may be difficult to determine if the thyroid gland is working properly which causes many people to go undiagnosed. Disorders can vary from a small, harmless enlarged gland called a goiter, which does not require treatment, to advanced stage life-threatening cancer. Thyroid nodules can also develop. While anyone can suffer from a thyroid disorder, more women are affected than men and the risk will increase with age. At this time, there is no way to stop the onset of thyroid problems but early diagnosis and treatment can prevent it from becoming serious.

  • Hyperthyroidism is caused by an over production of thyroid hormones. People with hyperthyroidism can experience rapid weight loss, high blood pressure, have trouble sleeping and can battle anxiety issues. The following conditions can result.
    • Graves' Disease: An immune system disorder caused by the production of too much thyroid hormone. A sign of Graves’ disease is having bulging eyes.
    • Toxic Adenomas: A disorder caused by the growth of thyroid nodules that may secrete hormones.
    • Subacute Thyroiditis: An acute inflammatory disease that causes pain in the thyroid gland. Pain could be experienced in other parts of the neck, ears or jaw. This condition could last weeks or potentially for months.
  • Hypothyroidism is a result of an underactive thyroid which can negatively affect an individual’s energy level. Decreased heart rate, chronic fatigue, weight gain, depression and constipation are some of the symptoms that exist with this disorder. Listed below are some hypothyroid conditions.
    • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: An autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and slowly destroys the thyroid tissue. The damage can result in a thyroid hormone deficiency.
    • Central or Pituitary Hypothyroiditis: Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland. If there is a problem with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, it could potentially cause hypothyroidism
    • Congenital Hypothyroidism: This is a pediatric condition where infants are born with a thyroid or enzyme dysfunction that will not allow a sufficient production of thyroid hormone. These infant are inactive, sleep for a lengthy time period and have a suppressed appetite.
  • Thyroid nodules are common and will be present most often in people without hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Nodules are either felt during an exam or more likely discovered incidentally during another imaging procedure in the neck. They require investigation despite not being symptomatic. Based on the size of the nodules, a biopsy may be indicated to exclude the possibility of cancer.

There is good news. Once a person has been diagnosed, they can begin treatment. There are conventional treatments available.

  • For hyperthyroid conditions, medication, radioactive iodide treatment or surgery can be employed to reduce or halt the production of the thyroid hormone.
  • For hypothyroid conditions, medication cannot increase the production; therefore hormone replacement could be a solution.

According to Dr. Tom Connally, the Medical Director of the Norman Regional Health System Endocrine Surgery Program and a pioneer in the area of minimally-invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgeries, "It is important to discuss your options with a physician to determine the most effective method for you based on your situation, age, health and medical history. If you are going to require thyroid surgery, you should seek a high volume endocrine surgeon for best operative outcomes."

Healthy Holiday Habits

Monday, November 23, 2015

The holidays are here and we wonder what the scale will look like come January. This is a time for family and friends to enjoy each other's company as well as partake in some delicious, traditional meals. With some planning, we can make it through these office parties, social gatherings and family meals without too much over indulging.

“With some planning, we can make it through these office parties, social gatherings and family meals without too much over indulging.”
<p>With some planning, we can make it through these office parties, social gatherings and family meals without too much over indulging.</p>

According to Teresa Brown RN, MPH, RD/LD, CDE, of the Health and Wellness Center and Diabetes Program at Norman Regional Health System, here are some tips for a healthier holiday season.

  • Focus on the real purpose for the gathering. Socialize, catch up, meet new people and have fun. The food should be secondary.
  • Do not arrive on an empty stomach. We tend to skip meals to save our calories to splurge at the big evening event. Eat sensibly during the day. Arriving hungry could cause you to eat more than you planned and make some unhealthy choices. Considering eating a salad, a small sandwich, some nuts, or a piece of fruit or vegetables, it will help you make wiser choices at moments of weakness.
  • Window shop the food at the buffet table first. Before just jumping in with a plate and a serving spoon, make a healthy game plan for the type of food you will place on your plate. It is OK to treat yourself, just do it in moderation.
  • Bring a healthy option to the pot luck. If you are the one to bring a sensible dish, you know there will be something healthy that you like. You can even offer to bring a healthy dish to a friend's gathering even if he or she is providing the whole meal.
  • Small portions and slow eating is the key. If we rush through our meals, are we even enjoying and savoring the wonderful flavors? It takes our brains about 20 minutes to realize that we are full. You can avoid that uncomfortable, overstuffed feeling by eating slowly.
  • No lingering. When you are finished with your meal/snack, it is time to step away from the dining table or the buffet area.
  • Walk the walk. Drive passed the parking spots closest to the entrance door. Park further away to increase the number of steps you take. We need to find any opportunities to move more a little more throughout our day.