Me, My Selfie and I: What Your Selfie Says about You

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health | Posted on 12-16-2014

selfieFrom Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat and beyond, we are living in a selfie world. But is that a good thing or a bad thing?

One recent study indicated that selfie-takers may form more shallow relationships than those who don’t. The study concluded, “Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy in personal relationships.”

But, inherently, does being more selfie-ish make you more selfish? Or does it place too much value on the approval of others?

“People often rely on others’ perceptions, judgments and appraisals to develop their social self,” said Sondra Wise, a licensed clinical social worker for Memorial Counseling Associates. “According to Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, selfies can present a more attractive image of a person’s life. When selfies are posted on social media, getting ‘likes’ from peers reinforces the social self over the real self.”

You Don’t Want to Mess Around with the Flu

Posted by | Posted in Flu, Memorial Medical Center | Posted on 12-15-2014

Flu-infographic-eblast-imgSuffering from the flu is a costly and potentially dangerous experience, which is why getting vaccinated against the influenza virus is so important.

“Some people think the flu is like a common cold, but really, the flu is a lot worse than that,” said Raj Govindaiah, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Memorial Health System. “Anyone can suffer from serious complications of the flu, and the illness can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.”

Common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue. Dr. Govindaiah cautions people not to believe the pervasive flu myth that vaccinations actually cause the flu.

“You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine,” he said. “The injection contains dead vaccine. It can’t cause the flu. The inhaled nasal spray contains inactivated or weakened live virus and is also safe.”

To protect yourself from this year’s flu virus, visit your local healthcare provider for a flu vaccination as soon as possible.

Are You Fitter than a Fifth Grader? Take the Presidential Physical Fitness Test

Posted by | Posted in Exercise, Expert Tips, SportsCare | Posted on 12-11-2014

Erica-V-SitPut on your polyester gym uniform and call your friends for a game of crab soccer…it’s time for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test!  It doesn’t matter which U.S. president signed your certificate in grade school; everyone knows bragging rights went to whomever could run the mile the fastest, do the most sit-ups and complete the pull-up challenge.

Here are three of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award benchmarks for fifth graders. Are you up for the challenge? We’ve also included a few fitness-related tips for those who haven’t been in fifth grade since President Reagan’s signature was on certificates, but would like to get in better shape.

Keep Your Weight on the Nice List this December

Posted by | Posted in Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 12-09-2014

greek-style-chicken-recipeFor many of us, a blizzard is the least of our worries this time of year. December’s perfect storm comes in the form of cookies, candy, egg nog, cold weather, early sunsets and busy schedules that often lead to hurried, fast-food dinners and decreased outside activity — which adds up to a few extra pounds.

If a person who weighs 160 pounds gains just one pound, he or she will need to walk at a moderate pace for more than two hours daily for a week to burn that pound off.

It’s no surprise that most Americans gain weight during the holiday season, said Jude Clapper, a registered dietitian, diabetes instructor and wellness advocate at the Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center.

“One way you can prevent weight gain is to prepare healthy meals at home,” she said. “You’ll avoid the traps of fast food and overeating at parties.”

Clapper said preparing healthy meals doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

We gathered a few of our favorite recipes that are easy to make ahead and store as leftovers throughout the busy holiday season.

Stop Drinking Soda…And Other Things Your Hair and Nails may be Telling You About Your Health

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Physician Services | Posted on 12-04-2014

manicured-hands-on-white-towelWhen “measuring” our health, we often think of numbers – such as our weight, body mass index and blood pressure. While these numbers offer important information about our physical state, you can also learn a lot about your health by paying attention to what your hair and nails are telling you.

Avoid the Classroom Party Sugar Rush: Healthy Holiday Treat Ideas for Kids

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition, Parents, Recipes | Posted on 12-03-2014

Fruit-Salsa-and-Cinnamon-ChipsBelieve it or not, winter parties for the preschool and elementary crowd can be fun AND healthy. Move away from the “icing sugar cookies” station, candy canes and gingerbread houses. Instead, offer these nutritious alternatives that will tickle their taste buds.

Christina Rollins, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and director of Memorial Medical Center’s Food and Nutrition Services department, offers these tips for  festive and fun holiday party treats for kids.


  1. Kid-friendly cocktails will transform your party into a special event. Flavor seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice; garnish with frozen berries.
  2. Swap sugary desserts with naturally sweet fruit dishes. Serve fresh cut fruit with yogurt dip or try Memorial’s recipe for fruit salsa with cinnamon tortilla chips.
  3. Serve raw vegetables or pita chips with homemade hummus.
  4. Offer pretzels, granola bars and dried fruit instead of candy in treat bags.

Bariatric Surgery Testimonial: Ken

Posted by | Posted in Bariatric Patient Stories, Weight Loss & Wellness Center Patient Stories | Posted on 12-02-2014


Ken and his sons before surgery

Ken and family after surgery

Ken and family after surgery

For many people who struggle with obesity, dieting and exercise alone are not enough to lose and maintain substantial weight loss to improve their health.

For some, bariatric surgery, in addition to lifestyle changes, may be the holistic approach to achieving and maintaining great health.

Over 1,200 central Illinoisans have undergone bariatric surgery through Memorial Medical Center’s Bariatric Services program, all with the intended goal of living a more fulfilling, active life after shedding weight.

One such story is Ken, who has lost 180 pounds since his surgery in 2010.

Suffering from multiple weight-related health issues such as high blood pressure, back and foot pain, difficulty sleeping and acid reflux, Ken was faced with making a life-changing decision.

“I wanted more time with my son,” he said. “I knew if I didn’t do something I wouldn’t live to see 50.”

Read his story in his own words below.

(Enlarge Ken’s Testimonial)

Heart Stents 101

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Emergency, Heart | Posted on 11-26-2014

Ruth-Bader-GinsburgStents aren’t just for 81-year-old Supreme Court justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently underwent a heart procedure to fix a blockage in her right coronary artery.

The senior member of the country’s highest court was exercising when she experienced discomfort – a timely reminder for people of all ages to pay attention to your body’s signals during exertion.

Diabetes Awareness Month: How To Tell If You’re at Risk for Gestational Diabetes

Posted by | Posted in Diabetes, Physician Services, Women | Posted on 11-25-2014

Pregnant-WomanOf all the hallmarks of prenatal appointments – the weigh-ins, urine tests and blood draws – the glucose screening is among the least popular with expectant moms.

Draining a cup of the super-sweet drink is a requirement at the 4- to 5-month mark to help obstetricians determine if the patient is at risk for gestational diabetes. A positive glucose screening can lead to a three-hour glucose tolerance test, which involves returning at a later date, fasting ahead of the appointment and drinking even more of the sugary sweet liquids.

While the screening and test may be a hassle, the condition they are designed to detect is a potentially harmful one. Gestational diabetes affects between 2 percent and 10 percent of expectant mothers and indicates an elevated (and abnormal) level of sugar in the blood.

That’s What Friends are For: Friends of Memorial Volunteers Provide Education, Outreach

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center | Posted on 11-19-2014

Coakley-Lisa-FriendsFriends of Memorial is a volunteer group that has supported Memorial Medical Center in its mission to improve the health of the people and the communities it serves for more than 35 years. To support the work of the hospital, Friends helps Memorial take its services into the community through outreach programs, continuing education, health promotions and disease prevention.

Lisa Coakley has been on the Friends of Memorial board for 19 years. In her years with Friends, she has helped with the group’s popular Babysitting Clinic, composed its quarterly newsletter, been treasurer (a few times), been a director-at-large, served as vice president of education and membership, and volunteered in a variety of roles for the annual Festival of Trees event as co-chair of design, president and chair of the Holiday Market.

“My husband works in the Radiology department and so I initially had that connection to the hospital. I stayed with it because Memorial is a great organization and does a lot for the community,” Lisa said.