Is the Doctor In?

With the ever-changing insurance landscape, many patients are frustrated to learn their provider of choice is no longer in-network. The challenge then begins to find the right doctor that best suits that patient’s needs.

GENDER BIAS

Finding a good doctor can be difficult, especially for women. Healthcare has a long history of gender bias, and it’s wreaking havoc on women’s health. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “ If you are a woman older than 50 who is critically ill, you are at particular risk of failing to receive lifesaving interventions. If you have knee pain, you are less likely to be referred for a knee replacement than a man, and if you have heart failure, it may take longer to get EKGs.” Women need to be their own staunch advocate when searching for the right treatment and the right provider for them. Not asking questions can be the difference between life and death.

DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS

Doctors are taught in medical school that 95 percent of a diagnosis is from a patient’s history, but too many have come to rely on labs instead of common sense and clinical know-how. Today, patients often complain (and rightly so) that their provider rushes through the initial consult and doesn’t pay attention or listen to them. GOOD providers know that taking time to listen, ask questions and examine the patient is vital to figuring out the problem. They use labs or other tests to support or refute their clinical diagnosis. Good providers also know that labs are not always accurate, and they understand WHY. They know the right tests to order, and when to delve deeper.

TRUST YOUR GUT

They don’t call it “women’s intuition or sixth sense” for nothing. If your gut is telling something is “off” when meeting with a new provider, it’s telling you that that for a reason! Here are some red flags to look for when interviewing a new provider:

  1. The provider or staff is rude, condescending or apathetic
  2. The provider is in a rush and doesn’t welcome your questions or input
  3. Tells you that you only need more rest, less stress and more exercise
  4. Acts patronizing and makes caustic comments especially when you are expressing what you may have learned through your own research.
  5. Expresses anger or disappointment in your desire to obtain a second opinion or request to send you to a specialist.
  6. Asks the same questions over and over again on multiple visits, appearing to have forgotten or just plain ignored all of your previous concerns.
  7. Upon your request to discuss a different drug or treatment protocol, refuses to do so and won’t explain why.
  8. Doesn’t seem to be current regarding new treatments or protocols.

At DeRosa Medical, our providers are trained to look at the WHOLE picture. Mind, body and soul all play their own respective roles in the healing process. Again as a patient, especially if you are a woman, you must be an advocate for your own health and well-being.

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Don’t Fry Day!

For many folks, Memorial Day is the official heralding of summer! Do you remember how you used to celebrate? “Laying out” in the backyard determined to get a tan using that unique, home formulated blend of baby oil and iodine while wearing “Sun In” mixed with lemon to get those fabulous natural highlights in your hair. Or, better yet, if you are fair-skinned and freckled, FINALLY, realizing that you were never going to get a tan so slathering on the Coppertone QT only to end up looking like an Oompa Loompa smelling like rotten eggs!

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way baby! The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.

With all of the new self-tanning products available (that don’t smell vile) and air-brushed tans, there is no need to damage your skin to get a great looking summer glow.

This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 73,870 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.
Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented. Check for any changes in size or coloration of moles. Have a loved one help check those hard to see/reach areas (your back). Pick your birthday as your mole check date so you won’t forget. If there is any discernible change, make an appointment with your provider as soon as possible to have it checked for any abnormality.

Those who have a family history of skin cancer, plenty of moles or freckles, or a history of severe sunburns early in life (those baby oil and iodine years) are at a higher risk of skin cancer as well.

So as we slide into summer and enjoy the great outdoors remember…to Slip! Slop! Slap!…and Wrap when outdoors — slip on a shirt, slop on broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wrap on sunglasses.

Sun Lovers Tips:

  • Do Not Burn or Tan
  • Seek Shade
  • Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
  • Generously Apply Sunscreen of an SPF of 30 or more
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
  • Get Vitamin D Safely
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How Dense Are You?

That isn’t an insult but something every person, over the age of 50 should know. How dense are you? The question and, more importantly, the answer could have a major impact on the overall quality and enjoyment of your life.

Perhaps it was a grandmother, your great Aunt or Uncle who fell and fractured their wrist and, eventually, had to go to a rehab facility. Perhaps, it was your elderly neighbor who broke their hip, had surgery and was moved to a nursing home. The fact is most of us know someone, over the age of 50, who have suffered a broken bone or fracture that, ultimately, affected their way of living and lifestyle; all because of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break.

What is important to know is that osteoporosis is not a “given” just because you are aging but, it is sneaky and more common than you know. It is often referred to as the silent disease because one can’t feel our bones weakening. So, we ask again…how dense are you? If you are over the age of 50, we recommend making an appointment with a DeRosa Medical provider to schedule a bone density test.

A bone density test will tell if you have normal bone density, low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis. The lower your bone density, the greater your risk of breaking a bone. A bone density test can help you and your healthcare provider:

  • learn if you have weak bones or osteoporosis before you break a bone
  • predict your chance of breaking a bone in the future
  • see if your bone density is improving, getting worse or staying the same
  • find out how well an osteoporosis medicine is working
  • let you know if you have osteoporosis after you break a bone

Knowing your bone density is the first step in preventing or delaying osteoporosis. It’s the first step, coupled with a nutritious diet, weight-bearing exercises, limited alcohol, vitamin D and medication (if needed) to insure you have a long, bone healthy, upright life.

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National Women’s Health Week Kicks Off

How fitting the National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 14, 2017! National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority.

At DeRosa Medical, we are all about women empowerment! We encourage women to take a proactive role in regarding their health, happiness and well-being so that they can “feel better, live better.™”

No matter your age, there are steps you can incorporate into ensure that you are living your best life NOW.

Your 20s – A well-woman visit is a yearly preventive checkup with your doctor. It’s a time to check in on how you’re doing, how you’d like to be doing, and what changes you can make to reach your health goals.

Contemplating birth control? Learn about the new choices available to you. Your Mother’s IUD is nothing like the IUDs available now.

Your 30s– Contemplating pregnancy? Better get started. Women over the age of 35 are considered high risk.

Get tested for STDs! At minimum, sexually active women should get tested once a year, even if they always practice safer sex. It’s a good idea to get tested again (on top of the once a year rule) after having unprotected sex, or if you think your partner might have an STD (because of symptoms or they’ve had sex with someone else).

Your 40s– Schedule your first mammogram. Mammograms detect 80% of all breast cancer.

Know the signs of perimenopause! Mood swings, migraines, low libido are just a few of the symptoms that could herald you’re experiencing premenopausal symptoms. Thankfully, at DeRosa Medical, treating all symptoms of perimenopausal is our specialty. Simply call to make a appointment with one of our valued providers and get back to feeling like yourself again!

Your 50s– Time for a colonoscopy. Colon cancer screenings should begin at age 50 for most people. If a colonoscopy doesn’t find adenomas or cancer and you don’t have risk factors, the next test should be in ten years.

Menopause – time to conquer the symptoms of menopause. Night sweats, mid-section weight gain, low libido, hot flashes DO NOT need to be suffered in silence. DeRosa Medical specializes in bio-identical hormone therapies! Simply call one to make an appointment with one of our providers and be on the road to relief quickly and safely!

Your 60s– How dense are you? A simple bone density exam can determine if you are suffering from osteoporosis (the silent killer) long before a bone is broken.

Get a flu shot! Vaccination is especially important for people 65 years and older because they are high risk for complications from flu. Flu vaccines are often updated each season to keep up with changing viruses and also immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against influenza. In fact, it is a good time to check to make sure you are current on all of your vaccinations.

At DeRosa Medical, we are to help women, of any age, live your best life. If it is time for you to incorporate any of these suggestions into your personal health and wellness plan, we are here for YOU!

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March 10, 2017 – National Women and Girls HIV/Aids Awareness Day

This is a nationwide event to promote Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention, testing and treatment and highlight the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

According to www.womenshealth.gov, only about half of women living with HIV are getting care, and only four in 10 of them have the virus under control. Women face unique HIV risks and challenges that can prevent them from getting needed care and treatment. Addressing these issues remains critical to achieving an HIV- and AIDS-free generation.

PREVENTION

The 2017 theme of National Women and Girls HIV/Aids Awareness Day is “The Best Defense Is a Good Offense.” Whether actively dating or in a committed relationship, taking these simple, effective steps can help prevent HIV infection for you and your partner:

According to the Center for Disease Control, women account for one in four of people living with HIV in the United States. Most of those diagnosed are attributed to heterosexual sex.

In the United States, HIV is primarily transmitted by having sex, sharing syringes or sharing injection devices with someone who is infected with the HIV virus.

MYTHS

Sadly, many myths still persist about how HIV is transmitted. A person CANNOT contract HIV through:

  • saliva
  • sweat
  • tears
  • insects
  • pets
  • sharing toilets
  • sharing food
  • sharing drinks

In the United States, transmission is mainly through having unprotected anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV. Only certain body fluids, such as semen, blood, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk, from a person who has HIV, can transmit the disease.

The risk of contracting HIV during vaginal sex is higher for women than men if no condom is used. Anal sex is riskier for getting the disease than vaginal sex. Sexually transmitted diseases such a gonorrhea and syphilis greatly increase the likelihood of getting or spreading HIV. Women who have been sexually abused are more likely than women with no history of abuse, to engage in sex without a condom, have multiple partners and exchange sex for drugs.

55+ and HIV

According to the CDC, in 2014, of the 6,721 deaths from HIV, 2,610 were among people aged 55 and older.  Many widowed and divorced people are dating again and may be less aware of their risks for HIV than younger people. Thus, many of those aged 55 and older are less likely to protect themselves against HIV.

Women who no longer worry about becoming pregnant are also less likely to practice safe sex. As women age, the thinning and drying of vaginal tissue may raise older women’s risk for HIV infection. While older people generally visit a physician more often than their younger counterparts, they seem to be less inclined to discuss their sexual behavior and doctors are less likely to ask their older patients about their sexual activity.

Aging with HIV also presents other challenges because HIV also increases ones risk for cardiovascular disease, thin bones, and certain cancers. Special attention needs to be made in regards to the interactions of medication used to treat HIV and those used to treat such illnesses as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol and hypertension.

HIV is a disease that can be managed. If you think you may have put yourself at risk or think you may have contracted the virus, we encourage you to see one of our providers at DeRosa Medical for testing. We are to help.

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Teen Violence Awareness Month

At DeRosa Medical, we know that many of our patients have teenagers or grandchildren who are faced with challenging forms of harassment. From on-line bullying to social media stalking, there so many threats to the health and wellness of our youth of today. Sadly, one of those threats, is dating violence.

According to www.victimsofcrime.org, dating violence is a pattern of controlling behavior that one person uses to control another with the ultimate goal of maintaining power and control in the relationship. This is done by fear, humiliation, and degrading the other person. 

This control can take the form of controlling behavior, verbal abuse, physical assault, battery, and sexual assault.  Although physical abuse can occur without warning, there are “red flags” to be aware of that can tip you off that your teen may be a victim of dating violence.

Controlling behavior may include:

  • Not letting your teen hang out with friends
  • Calling or paging your teen frequently to find out where they are, whom they are with and what they doing
  • Telling your teen what to wear or how to style their hair

Verbal and emotional abuse may include:

  • Calling names
  • Jealousy
  • Belittling (constant criticism)
  • Threatening to hurt your teen, someone in your family, or himself or herself.

There is often an escalation of controlling behavior, which can lead to forcing your teen to participate in sex against his or her will, not allowing the use of birth control or physically abusing them.

Physical abuse may include:

  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Hair pulling
  • Strangling

The abuser also often threatens suicide to ensure the victim won’t leave the relationship.

If you suspect your teen might be in an abusive relationship, please don’t be afraid to speak up, to offer help. Let your teen know that they are not alone and that nothing that they have said or done will change the behavior of the abuser.  

Give support by being a good listener and if there are signs of physical abuse, we encourage you bring the teen to see a provider at DeRosa Medical. We have staff that are trained in evaluating and recognizing the signs of dating violence and who can help you address the situation in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Depending on the severity of the dating violence, we also encourage the filing of a protective order with appropriate law enforcement as well as planning a safe, secure strategy for helping the teen leave the relationship.

As a valued patient, at DeRosa Medical we care not only about YOU but, about also the health and welfare of your entire family. Everyone deserves to feel happy, safe and secure especially, our teens. 

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February 14th is National Donor Day…

Everyone knows that February 14th is Valentine’s Day. But, did you also know that is National Donor Day?

National Donor Day was established in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers, to encourage all Americans to register as tissue and organ donors. In the past 15 years, millions of people have signed up to be donors, but the number of people needing transplants and the number of organs donated, still leave many patients dying while waiting on the transplant list.

People of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and medical histories can be donors. Medical officials will decide, at the time of death, if organs are viable for transplantation. Once organs become available, criteria such as blood and tissue match-up, geographic location and time on the waiting list, determines the organ recipient. There is no cost to become an organ donor.

There are many vital organs subject to this process, including heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, intestine, and pancreas. Tissue that is recoverable includes corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, as well as tendons and veins. According to the DCI Donor Services, of the nearly 120,00 patients on the transplant list, 58% are minorities and represent approximately 34% of those donating. As of 2016, of the 98,000 people nationwide waiting for kidneys, 34% are African American, 20% are Hispanic and 7% are Asians. According to the data released by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), because the minority population continues to grow and currently makes up approximately 20% of the U.S. population, the need for minority donors are expected to grow as well. The best matches between donors and recipients often lie in the genetic makeup between members of the same race. The Caucasian population accounts for 66% of those donating organs, compared to just 16% of African Americans and 13% of Hispanics. Members of the population that identify as Asian are the lowest rate of donors, at only two percent.

Should you have a medical condition such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, you aren’t precluded from being a donor. With recent advances in transplantations, more people than ever can donate. Careful testing of organs and tissue is done after a person passes away to determine which may be safely donated. The only donors that might not be eligible for donating are those with certain types of blood or eye cancers.

Surgical techniques used to retrieve organs and tissue are done in such a manner that only family members will know a donation has taken place, thus alleviating concerns for those that want an open casket funeral. According to research done by UNOS, all major religions support donations as charitable acts of love and giving. However, consulting with your personal spiritual advisor may put your mind at rest regarding donating.

According to the Organ Procurement and Transportation Network (OPTN), every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. On average, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant.

Becoming an organ donor is a very simple process:

  1. Register with your state’s Organ Donor Registry.
  2. Select ‘Yes’ to organ donation when you apply for your driver’s license.
  3. Sign a donor card, if required.

At DeRosa Medical, this Valentine’s Day, we encourage everyone to demonstrate a true act of love. Become an organ donor and bring hope and the gift of life of up to eight lives or save or heal more than 75 lives through tissue and eye donation.

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Cervical Cancer…the most Preventable!

Television personality, Erin Andrews, was recently diagnosed and treated for cervical cancer and, thankfully, is now cancer free. The key is catch cervical cancer EARLY.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition more than 12,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and more than 4,000 of those diagnosed will die as a result. Worldwide, that number is a staggering 500,000…more than 500,000 women per year are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The good news, if, caught early, cervical cancer is also the most preventable. The death rate for women with cervical cancer has decreased by approximately 2% per year. Symptoms include abdominal bleeding between menstrual periods, after sex or after menopause. Vaginal discharge that is unusual in amount, color, and consistency or smell, are other cancer indicators, as well as frequent urinating, pelvic pain and painful urination.

The Pap Test

Pap tests can detect cervical abnormalities and allow for early treatment. It is recommended that women continue to have yearly pap smears at least until the age of 70. Half of the women diagnosed are between the ages of 35 and 55. It is a rarity for women under the age of 20 to be affected and approximately 20% of those diagnosed are in women older than 65. Consult your family physician after the age of 70 to determine what is best for you, especially, if there is a history of cancer in your family.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, prevention starts with finding and treating pre-cancerous cells before they become true cancer. The old reliable Pap smear can be augmented with the HPV (human papilloma virus) test. The smear collects cells from the cervix and is examined under a microscope. The test can be done in conjunction with the pelvic exam and the same cells can be used to conduct the HPV test. 

Since HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer, it is imperative to take steps to prevent exposure to the virus. It is passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact with an infected area of the body. While it can be spread through sex, all that is needed is for skin-to-skin contact take place. Spreading can also occur from genital to genital contact, without sex, or through hand to genital contact. 

Any woman that has had sex, has a risk for genital HPV. Having many sex partners, having a sex partner that has had many partners, being younger than 25 years of age, and having sex before before the age of 16, raises your risk factors as well.  Also, men that haven’t been circumcised are likely to get and stay infected with the HPV disease and pass it on to their subsequent partners. 

Waiting to have sex until you are older can help you avoid contracting the virus by limiting your number of sex partners.  While the infection is most often spread between men and women, it is also seen in women that have only had other women as sex partners. An infected person can carry the disease, never show any symptoms, and pass it on to their partner.

Fortunately, vaccines are now available that can protect against some, but not all HPV infections. These vaccines can also protect against infection with the HPV sub type most commonly linked to cancer. These vaccines can also offer protection against anal and genital warts, but will not treat the virus if it is already in your system. Side effects from the vaccine are usually mild, the most common being short-term redness, swelling and soreness of the injection site. 

The American Cancer Society also recommends that boys and girls be vaccinated at age 11 or 12 and may be started on the series of injections as early as 9. The older a person is when getting the vaccine the less effective it is. Condoms can provide some protection, but they don’t completely prevent infection. Men, who use condoms correctly, are less likely to be infected.  While condoms are 70% effective when used properly all the time, they don’t protect the skin around the genital and anal areas. Female condoms that fit inside the vaginal area can also help protect against sexually transmitted diseases, but are not as effective as male condoms.  

If you would like to learn more about the HPV vaccine, simply call DeRosa Medical to make an appointment with one of our providers. The more you know, the more you can be protected.

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Do I Have Hypothryroidism?

At DeRosa Medical, optimal hormonal health is one of the hallmarks of our practice. Every year we see, literally, thousands of patients for thyroid replacement therapies. As January is Thyroid Awareness Month, we want to take this opportunity to educate you to the importance of this small butterfly shaped gland that sits in front of your neck and controls so many of your vital bodily functions. The thyroid is the engine of the body. If your engine isn’t running, YOU’RE not running!

It’s estimated, as many as 25 million Americans have a thyroid problem, and most, have no idea that they do. Hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, accounts for 90% of all thyroid imbalances.

Hypothyroidism can be either genetic or develop during the course of aging and occurs when the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland makes the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) both of which function to run the body’s metabolism. To wit, if you have a sluggish metabolism, it is feasible that you may have hypothyroidism.

Top 10 signs you may have Hypotheroidism:

  1. Weight gain or the inability to lose weight.
  2. Mood swings, anxiety or depression
  3. Infertility, irregular menses and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  4. Fatigue after sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night or needing to take a nap daily.
  5. Muscle pain, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis.
  6. Intolerance to cold
  7. Dry or cracking skin, brittle nails and excessive hair loss.
  8. Constipation.
  9. Brain fog, poor concentration or poor memory.
  10. Neck swelling, goiters, snoring or a hoarse voice.

When you have hyperthyroidism, your body is producing excessive amounts of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 and conjunctly, showing signs of a fast metabolism.

Top 10 signs you may experience with hyperthyroidism:

  1. Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  2. Frequent bowel movement—perhaps diarrhea
  3. Heart palpitations
  4. Heat intolerance
  5. Increased sweating
  6. Irritability
  7. Light menstrual periods—perhaps even missed periods
  8. Muscle weakness
  9. Nervousness
  10. Problems with fertility

At DeRosa Medical, we test ALL levels of the thyroid to make sure all are in working order with simple blood testing (most physicians do NOT). These blood tests can define whether the thyroid glands hormone production is normal, overactive, or underactive.

The standard treatment of hypothyroidism involves the daily use of thyroid hormone replacement therapies in the form of Levothroid, Synthroid or Cytomel or, better yet, Armour thyroid medication, which contains both T3 and T4. Your blood test results will determine what thyroid replacement therapy is best for you. In as little as one to two weeks, you should notice an increase in energy as well as lowered levels of cholesterol that may have been elevated due to the disease. Loss of weight may be noticed as well. This medication treatment will be life long, but the dosage may have to be adjusted over time. If you have coronary artery disease or severe hypothyroidism, your provider may start with a small dose and increase it over time, adjusting the dosage as the body’s metabolism adjusts.

Hyperthyroidism can be treated with anti-thyroid medications that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. The most commonly prescribed medication is Methimazole; which in essence, helps the body to stop overproducing thyroid hormones.

At DeRosa Medical, we want you to understand that whether you have Hypothyroidism OR Hyperthyroidism both are treatable and in 99.99% of cases, quite easily.

If you have no energy, are listless and just can’t quite get going on a daily basis, call DeRosa Medical today to make an appointment to see any one of our providers. They are here to help get you back on the road to optimal thyroid health.

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Just Say “No” To Holiday Stress

Yes, we know, easier said than done. But, actually just saying “No” is a great way to stop stress in its tracks before it starts.  Identifying and recognizing stressors go a long way to taking control of stress before it takes control of YOU.

External Stressors- comes from outside of a person. Stress that happens TO YOU. Below, are some examples:

  • Unpredictable Life Events – unexpectedly, Aunt Edna and Cousin Eddy (homage to the Griswolds) show up for the holidays, along with their dogs, cats and menagerie of ferrets.
  • Workplace – think Office Christmas Party, stressing over what to wear and how to dodge Mr. Happy Hands.
  • Social – you are introverted but have to fake being an extrovert; you MUST make the proverbial appearance at countless, endless holiday parties.
  • Noise – Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer on a loop resulting in the pulling of hair (not advised)
  • Interpersonal Conflict/Relationship stress – can be exacerbated by the holidays; i.e., overspending the family budget, kids pushing your buttons, guests showing up with scary dates, etc.

Internal Stressors – stress that comes from inside of person. Below are some examples:

  • Fears – fear of failure, fear of crowded places i.e., malls with screaming kids and Santas hired from the D list.
  • Unrealistic expectations – the pressure to create the PERFECT holiday experience for your friends and family.
  • Memory – the holidays can bring up latent memories of Christmas past both pleasant and unpleasant. It is one of the most emotionally charged holidays of the year.
  • Nutrition and Hydration – lack of nutrition and dehydration (think over cocktailing at all the parties) can trigger stress. Water is your friend!
  • Sleep Deprivation – exhaustion makes people react to situations that they would normally just ride out; like lashing out at a spouse or ranting at a co-worker.

The best way to manage stress is to learn coping strategies so that you can enjoy your life. After identifying and recognizing the stressors, incorporating natural coping techniques can improve your overall quality of life.  Effective coping strategies include:

  1. Just Say “No” – you don’t have to agree to Aunt Edna and Cousin Eddie and their bevy of animals staying at your house.  If they want to come visit you that badly for the holidays, they can find somewhere else to stay.
  1. Take a Walk – simply removing yourself from a stressful situation, say the Holiday Office Party with Mr. Happy Hands or Rudolph on the musical loop, can help you regroup, reframe and readjust your mindset. Couple a walk with deep breaths and you will be way ahead of managing your stress. And, this time of year in Arizona, is gorgeous. Get outside. Feel better.
  1. Hug a Dog/Pet a Cat (or do both!) – according to Animalsmart.org, playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.
  1. Get a Massage – with the advent of Groupon®, massages are more affordable than ever. And, with holiday specials aplenty, massages can purchased in packages. Hundreds of studies show, that massage reduces stress and muscle tension. A massage can also result in a feeling of connectivity; if you are stressed, get a massage and feel connected to the human race. You are not alone.
  1. Time Out! – it works for children, so why do you think it won’t work for you? You just got off the freeway and yet again people do not know how to merge.  Your husband didn’t pick up your child from daycare because it was YOUR turn. Argh! Time for a time out (after you pick up little Johnny). Take 15 minutes, go to a dark, quiet room, practice deep breathing and regroup. It REALLY does work.
  1. Get Some Rest – no one, no one, no one benefits from you walking around like a zombie. You won’t feel good, won’t look good and will be less productive; no one wins. In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours of sleep per night. By getting quality rest you entire quality of life will improve. Hot flashes, night sweats interrupting sleep, see Team DeRosa. They can HELP!

Don’t let stress, whether internal or external, rob you of the JOY of holiday season. From all of us a DeRosa Medical, we wish you a stressLESS, joyFULL holiday season.

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