What could you afford if you quit smoking?

Given the choice, would you rather watch this year’s Super Bowl live as a VIP… or at home with a couple packs of cigarettes?

It’s a fair question, because anytime you buy cigarettes, you are turning down every other item that you could have bought with that money.

To put into perspective just how expensive smoking can be, consider this:

In New York, where high taxes affect the cost of a pack of cigarettes, low-income smokers spend as much as 25% of their money to support their habit. That is one out of every four dollars, literally up in smoke. Smoking just two packs-a-day comes out to approximately $7,400 a year.

Can you think of a better use for $7,400? In case you need some help, here are a few suggestions. Just by quitting smoking, and without earning a penny more, you could:

• Lease a 5-series BMW and have enough left over for gas

• Go on a sailing vacation in the Galapagos with your spouse… every year.

• Start a college fund for your 4-year old child – and have enough to completely cover their tuition at a private university by the time they turn 18

• Purchase VIP seats for you and a friend at every Super Bowl

Those are just a few of the luxuries that smokers could enjoy simply by quitting the habit. Plus, the tremendous health benefits of kicking the habit means a longer life to enjoy those luxuries.

Of course, quitting smoking is not easy no matter what the incentive. But it also isn’t something that you have to do alone. Southern Ohio Medical Center offers smoking cessation classes that are completely free of charge. To find out how you can sign up, contact SOMC Community Health and Wellness at 740-356-2552.

‘Burg Middle School samples fitness class

The Wheelersburg Middle School recently invited the SOMC LIFE Center to teach the students about fitness. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders participated in yoga, piloxing and Zumba. To find out how you can enjoy the fitness opportunities of the SOMC LIFE Center, call 740-356-7650.

Your health improves 20 minutes after you stop smoking

When you quit smoking, it doesn’t take long for your health to improve. In fact, even if you don’t notice, you’re actually a healthier person just 20 minutes after you set down your last cigarette.

Twenty minutes after you quit, your heart rate drops to a normal level.

Twelve hours after you quit, carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to a normal level.

Two to three weeks after you quit, your risk of having a heart attack drops. Your lung function also begins to improve.

One to nine months after you quit, coughing and shortness of breath decreases.

One year after you quit, your risk of coronary heart disease reduces to half that of a smoker’s.

Five to fifteen years after you quit, your risk of stroke drops to that of a non-smoker’s… and your risk of getting cancer in your mouth, throat and esophagus becomes half that of a smoker’s.

Ten years after you quit, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of getting bladder cancer is half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of getting cervical cancer, cancer of the larynx, kidney and pancreas all decreases.

Fifteen years after you quit, your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker’s.

SOMC provides Safe Sleep Kits

Maternity Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center are joining with other hospitals throughout the state to participate in the Ohio Hospital Association’s Safe Sleep Campaign.

“Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation, and as leaders in our communities, hospitals are ideal partners to help address this issue in a coordinated and targeted way,” Jone Stone, nurse manager of SOMC Maternity Services said.

Statistics show that between the years of 2008-2012, Infant Mortality Rates (or deaths that occurred under one-year of age per 1,000 live births) have averaged 6.1 across the United States, 7.7 in Ohio, and 9.7 in Scioto County. In addition, from 2007-2011, 819 infants died in Ohio due to a sleep-related death (or instances caused from unsafe sleeping environments or positions).

“These statistics are the reason that SOMC, OHA and other Ohio hospitals have been working closely with the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio division of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, and other partners to launch the Safe Sleep Campaign,” Stone said. “This initiative is the beginning of addressing this tragic problem in Ohio and could potentially save more than 150 infants annually.”

As part of the campaign, the OHA and its Foundation for Healthy Communities will distribute 25,000 free safe sleep take-home kits to partnering hospitals to be given to maternity families at the time of discharge. The kits are aimed at teaching parents the ABC’s of Safe Sleep (which stand for Alone, on Baby’s Back, and Crib), and contain an insulated diaper bag, a “This Side Up” sleeper, a Sleep Baby Safe and Snug board book, and other educational materials.

Stone said that additional education opportunities and newborn safety initiatives will be put into action in 2015. Staff members of SOMC Maternity Services have already planned to increase their knowledge by attending the 2014 Ohio Infant Mortality Summit, given by the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, in December 2014.

“We’re happy to assist the OHA and agree that this is a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the importance of providing a safe sleeping environment for our babies,” Stone added. “We hope that these efforts, combined with others,  will continue to lower the state-wide rate of infant mortality.”

SOMC named 13th on Modern Healthcare list

Southern Ohio Medical Center is proud to announce it has once again been named one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

This year’s winners were ranked on one of two separate lists for either healthcare provider/insurer or healthcare supplier. SOMC ranked 13th among providers/insurers nationwide and 2nd in the category of large providers. This is the fifth consecutive year that SOMC has been featured on this list.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the best healthcare facilities to work for in America by Modern Healthcare,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “Being named to this list is a tremendous accomplishment and says a lot about both the quality of people and the quality of care you can expect to find at SOMC.”

The Best Places to Work in Healthcare award recognizes employers for creating workplaces that enable employees to perform at their optimum level while providing the best possible patient care and services. Approximately 300 companies deemed as both providers/insurers and suppliers applied to be on this year’s list.

“It’s all about our employees,” Arnett said. “Our employees love what they do, and sustaining a great place to work ultimately allows them to continue providing exceptional care to our patients and their families.”

To achieve this designation, SOMC completed a culture audit questionnaire. The Best Places Group then surveyed SOMC employees regarding policies, practices, benefits, leadership and planning, training and development, and overall satisfaction.

Modern Healthcare revealed the ranked order of the 2014 Best Places to Work in Healthcare at an awards gala in Chicago on Oct. 23.

“SOMC is a great place to work and people want to be a part of that. This distinction, as well as our Magnet designation, VPP Star status, and FORTUNE Best Places to Work award, shows that there is something special at SOMC,” Ken Applegate, director of Human Resources, said. “These accolades are a great source of pride for our employees and our community and we are honored to be featured among some of the most impressive healthcare providers in the country.”


Obesity can lead to other problems

Obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, including cancer. In fact, it raises your risk of getting at least 13 types of cancer… and studies have shown that one in three cancer deaths can be traced back to excess body weight, poor nutrition and/or physical inactivity.

The link between obesity and cancer has to do with the overall affect excess weight has on your body. It negatively affects your immune system, how your body’s cells grow and divide and even your levels of certain hormones and proteins.

It’s a serious issue, and one that affects two out of every three Americans.

You may feel like you could stand to lose a few pounds, but whether or not you’re technically overweight or obese can be boiled down to one number – and it isn’t your weight. It’s your BMI.

To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight by 703. Then, multiply your height in inches against itself (if you’re 70 inches tall, your formula would be 70 times 70). Then divide the first number into the second number to determine your BMI.

If your BMI is between 18.5 and 25, you’re in a normal weight range. If it’s lower, you are underweight. If it’s 25-30, you’re overweight. If your BMI is more than 30, you’re obese.

And if that’s the case, it’s no secret what your next steps should be. You should try to decrease how many calories you consume and increase how many calories you burn. Cutting out 500 calories a day will result in you losing one pound every week – after a year, that’s 52 pounds!

While actually cutting those calories may seem like a daunting task, there are various ways that SOMC may be able to help. For more information, visit somc.org or contact the SOMC LIFE Center at 740-356-7650.

Glockner donates to Compassion Fund

The Glockner Family of Dealerships recently made a donation of $5,245 to the SOMC Compassion Fund. The money was raised through their Fourth Annual T-Shirt Sale, as well as a cookout fundraiser. An additional $10 was donated for every car sold during the month of October. Pictured here, from left to right, are Rachelle Collins, Lisa Morgan, Dr. Johnny Bernard, Peggy Ruggles, Jodi Murphy, Kathy Stiltner, Wendi Waugh, Kim Richendollar and Vickey Smith.

Ash Dash set for November 15

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s “Raven Rock Ash Dash” 5k is scheduled to take place on November 15.

“The Ash Dash is an opportunity for you to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one,” Director of Community Health and Wellness Wendi Waugh said. “We’re encouraging people to put down the cigarettes and put on some running shoes.”

The race is a 5k with obstacles, and is designed to get participants’ adrenaline pumping while testing them physically. All participants must sign a waiver in order to participate. Children under the age of 18 are permitted, but must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. All participants will receive an Ash Dash t-shirt.

For more information, contact the SOMC LIFE Center at 740-356-7650. Registration can be completed online at www.tristateracer.com.

Some conditions affect women more than men

Just as breast cancer is more likely to affect women than men, there are several other health issues and conditions which impact the genders differently.

The impact and prevalence of alcohol abuse, for example, can be different in men and women. Men are more likely to become addicted to alcohol, but the health affects of alcohol abuse are more serious in women. These effects include an increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Similarly, women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States.

Women are also more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men. Depression  is the most common health problem for women, and they receive the diagnosis at higher levels than men. The same is true of osteoarthritis.

Even STDs can be more serious for women than men. Untreated STDs cause infertility in at least 24,000 American women every year – and they are untreated more often in women because symptoms are less obvious.

And though most risk factors for strokes apply to both men and women, there are several gender-specific risk factors that affect women. Because of this, there are actually more women who suffer from strokes than men. Factors for women, but not men, include taking birth control pills or being pregnant.

With all this considered, it is perhaps understandable that – according to a survey by the American Psychological Association – half of all women reported experiencing stress. These numbers were also higher than those reported by men, only 39% of which reported feeling stress.

Regardless of statistics, however, it is important for both women and men to do what they can to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A major part of that is a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as regular checkups with a family doctor. To find out how SOMC can help you in those departments, visit www.somc.org.