2012 Winter Newsletter

The 2011-2012 Flu Season

As flu seasons go, the 2011-2012 season is shaping up to be quite mild.  That can probably be attributed to a rising percentage of people who took the precaution and got themselves the flu shot.  Just because we haven’t had large scale outbreaks as of yet doesn’t mean we are out of the woods.  Outbreaks can and have happened into April, so continue taking precautions and follow these steps:

  • Get your flu shot if you haven’t already. The vaccine is in plentiful supply. This is especially important for people over 65 and under five years of age.  This year’s vaccine protects against H1N1 and seasonal strains of the flu.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If no soap is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands. Germs spread easily by the hands.
  • Stay away from sick people as much as possible.
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink lots of water and eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Wake Internal Medicine has flu shots available through your doctor by appointment or at both Rx Urgent Care locations on a walk-in basis.

Strange Fact:

Male hospital patients fall out of bed twice as often as female hospital patients.

Weight Loss: The Real Story of What You Need To Do to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

If you are looking for a magic pill that melts the weight off your body, then you are about to be disappointed. There are lots of advertising claims that you can lose weight without exercise or dieting, and while that’s possible in the short term, it’s almost always unhealthy and the weight is quickly regained.

Taking in more calories than you burn each day causes weight gain. As the body ages our metabolism slows, and unless you decrease your caloric intake or increase your daily exercise, you will gain weight.

Sustainable weight loss is achieved by changing eating and exercise behaviors. This requires making a lifestyle change, not dieting for 60 or 90 days. Lifestyle change sounds daunting, but when taken one day at a time it’s very achievable. For example, it’s probably still okay to eat pizza, but do it once a month instead of once a week.

Every person is different, and that means you need a plan that’s tailored to your body type, eating habits and routines. You should be the one to develop that plan in consultation with your physician who will help you set goals and get started on a healthy weight loss plan that will keep the weight off.  These are the basic rules to help you get started:

  • Do your own research. Find out how many calories a person your age and weight should burn. Figure out how many calories you take in now. Most foods have nutrition labels with this information. Create a weekly menu of foods you like. Portions should have fewer total calories when all three meals are added together than you will burn each day. More exercise means you will burn off more calories.
  • Avoid fad diets. They are called fads for a reason, because they don’t last very long.
  • Eat whole foods or products with as few ingredients as possible.  Preservatives and additives lead to weight gain.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.  These should dominate your food list.
  • Eat whole grains and reduce sugar and salt as much as possible.
  • Cook at home – you will consume fewer calories and be in control of ingredients and portion sizes.
  • Get up and move. Strive for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day.  Mix in weight lifting three times per week to strengthen bones and muscles.
  • Drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.
  • Eat breakfast every day. It jumpstarts your metabolism and gets the body burning calories.
  • Live by the rule “everything in moderation.”
  • NO STARVING YOURSELF.  Lack of food signals your body to hold onto fat because it doesn’t know when you will eat again. That’s the opposite of the intended effect.

Change your mindset and stop thinking of a “diet” as a way to lose weight. Your “diet” is the healthy, great tasting food you eat every day that fills your nutritional needs and maintains your desired body weight.

Certified Nutritionist
If you would like assistance in developing a weight loss plan, please contact Lori Bridges, P.A.-C, in our Blue Ridge Road office. She provides weight loss and nutritional counseling that is covered by insurance in most instances. She holds nutrition and weight loss certifications from the American Fitness Professionals Association. Call 781-7500 ext.1502 to schedule an appointment.

Easy Exercise:

Do a squat when you bend over to pick something up. You’ll avoid stressing your lower back and knees and it forces you to use your leg muscles, helping to build strength.

Managing Stress

Let’s face it.  Stress to some degree is a normal part of life.  However, the way you manage stress can be the difference between happy and healthy versus overwhelmed and sickly. Some of the signs that stress has reached an unhealthy level:

  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Overeating
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Using pills or other drugs to relax
  • Putting things off
  • Sleeping too much
  • Lashing out at others

The most important step to managing stress is identifying the situations that are causing it.  Once you do that, try some of these tips to manage and reduce your stress level:

  • When possible avoid what you know will be a stressful situation.
  • Learn to say no. Your schedule doesn’t need to be filled every minute of the day.
  • Take time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and avoid fatty and greasy foods.
  • Take a walk outside. Walk through your neighborhood or go to one of the many walking trails in this area and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  • If you don’t do it already, start a daily exercise routine. When you are physically fit, your body does a better job of handling stress.
  • Play with your kids or your pet.
  • Listen to music or read a book.
  • Walk away from the computer and cell phone.  These instruments cause more stress in many situations than they alleviate.
  • Avoid negative people. They will try and bring you down into their world.
  • Focus on the positive. Look for the good in each situation rather than the bad. Seek out and associate with people who are upbeat and have a positive attitude.
  • Accept things you cannot change.
  • If you feel that your stress is unmanageable on your own, talk to your doctor. If they are unable to help, they will recommend someone who can.

A proactive approach to dealing with stress won’t make it go away, but you’ll be better prepared to handle it.

Breakfast cereals marketed to children have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber and 60 percent more sodium than cereals marketed to adults.

Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk

Wake Gastroenterology is proud to have been a sponsor of the 2012 Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk. It was held this past weekend on Saturday March 3 at the Fred Fletcher Park in Raleigh.

Started by the Colon Cancer Coalition, the Get Your Rear in Gear event promotes prevention and early detection of colon cancer and provides support to those affected. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. But colon cancer is highly treatable and if found in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. The key to educating the public about colon cancer is to get the word out about prevention. A colonoscopy can be performed and detect polyps (small growths) that in time can turn cancerous. Once these polyps are detected, a physician can remove these growths.

To learn how to contribute check out the following website for further information:


Colonoscopy prevents colon cancer by removing polyps before they can become cancer. Starting at age 50 you should have a colonoscopy screening, which makes earlier diagnosis and treatment possible.