Be well (part 1): 7 things you need to remember

Be well (part 1): 7 things you need to remember

Patricia Czapp, M.D.

A guest post from AAMC physician, Dr. Patricia Czapp.

Dear Nursing Staff, In honor of our Employee Wellness program, launching this week, Sherry asked me to put together some health advice for all of us. At 48, I am old enough to be a mother to many of you and a concerned sister to the others, so humor me and take a listen:

A few things that pertain to ALL of us, regardless of age:

1)     Family history: make sure your doctor is aware of your family history of diseases and conditions and that she is updated regularly. Knowing that your sister had breast cancer or a heart attack at 40 changes everything in how I approach your care.

2)      Teeth: Regular dental care helps keep you healthy. Most of us take better care of our dog’s teeth than our own. Please see your dental hygienist for cleanings. Some of us need them every three months, some of us once a year. It depends on smoking status, genes, and your other health conditions.

3)      Speaking of which, you don’t smoke, do you? If you do, please help me help you quit.  ‘Nuf said.

4)      Speaking of other things you put in your mouth: Good nutrition can be summarized thusly: Eat at least three times a day, but keep portions small. Eat more plants and whole grains. Eat enough protein, but not too much. Your daily serving of animal protein (e.g. steak, fish, chicken) should be about the size of your palm. Get rid of the junk! By that, I mean anything your grandmother would not recognize as food or would consider a very special, rare treat (a soda or piece of pie), so do honor to her and consume it as such.

5)      Keep moving: Sure, you are on your feet all day. But do something vigorous, special and fun that clears the cobwebs, ideally with someone you love. Be creative!

6)      Shots: Get your flu shot every year.  Get a pneumococcal vaccine if you have a chronic condition like asthma, diabetes, etc.  The new tetanus booster contains a pertusis booster that is important for us to get at least once.

7)      Body mechanics: Mom was right. Again. My heart sinks when I see someone with rolled-in shoulders and a curved upper back. That’s a recipe for wicked neck problems later. I have given up on saying, “Watch your posture.”  Now I say, “Enjoy your height.”  Sounds less bossy and makes people smile.

Do you have questions about wellness? Post them here, anonymously, if you like. I’ll be back to answer them.

-Patricia Czapp, M.D.


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