Development Foundation purchases new stretchers

The Emergency Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center recently purchased new stretchers with funds raised through the SOMC Development Foundation. The stretchers offered improved mobility, which makes transporting patients easier and safer. They also feature a bed alarm, which alerts medical staff of patient movement, decreasing falls, and allow patients to be weighed without ever leaving the bed.

Seen here with one of the new stretchers is SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett, far left, and Director of Community Relations and Development Kara Redoutey, second from left. Also pictured, from left to right, are Emergency Department nurses Jason Donahoe, Ryan Souders, Karissa Couch, Jason Ross, Melissa Baily and Caylee Hopkins.

Amazing Race registration deadline is April 13

Fans of “The Amazing Race” have until April 13 to register for SOMC’s second annual Amazing Race competition.

The event will be held in conjunction with several local sponsors and is scheduled to take place April 25 at the Portsmouth LIFE Center.

The competition is comprised of a series of events meant to provide both a physical and mental challenge, while also being fun and entertaining.

Teams will compete against one another for the chance to win up to $2,500. Each team will start at the SOMC LIFE Center Gym and be routed to their first challenge. Once there, they must complete a task to move to the next challenge location. After successfully completing all challenges, teams must report to the SOMC LIFE Center Gym for final scoring.

The Amazing Race is open to participants ages 10 and older, with no more than four people on a team. The team captain must be 18 or older. One may compete as an individual but may be at a disadvantage during some of the challenges. Teams are encouraged to get creative with names and costumes.

Once a team has been formed, it has until April 13 to register. Registration is limited to 75 teams and may be completed at Cost is $150 per team and all participants will be asked to sign a waiver.

All proceeds from the race will benefit the SOMC Development Foundation Community Health and Wellness Fund, which supports health and fitness opportunities in our community.

LIFE Center celebrates 30 years with “Spring Into Fitness”

In celebration of its 30 years of business, the LIFE Centers of Southern Ohio Medical Center will open its doors to the public, free of charge, March 20-April 3 as part of the “Spring Into Fitness” event.

During these two weeks, non-members and their children are invited to utilize any of the LIFE Center facilities, located in Portsmouth, Wheelersburg, and Lucasville. Children ages 14 and older are welcome to use the facilities during any of the open access times, while children under the age of 14 are welcome during family hours (with the supervision of a parent/guardian).

Members will also be rewarded March 20-April 3, earning one LIFE Center Buck for every visit they make during those two weeks. LIFE Center Bucks can be redeemed for LIFE Center merchandise and personal training sessions.

A LIFE Center Open House will also take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 at the Portsmouth facility. The event will feature gym tours and guest speaker Nicole Nichols, fitness expert. New members who sign-up during the open house will have their joining fee waived.

Open access times for the two-week trial period will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays (family hours); and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays (family hours).

Bring your family, try-out the facility, and experience the large selection of group fitness activities! For more info, please call 740-356-7650.


Understanding diabetes and pre-diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a dangerous disease, and one for which there is no cure. In 2010, it was estimated that 79 million Americans ages 20 and older had pre-diabetes – and even more were at risk.

There are a number of factors that can increase your odds of diabetes or pre-diabetes. Some are controllable, while others are not. Some of these factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Exercising fewer than three times each week
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being older than 45
  • Having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Having high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Having a history of heart disease
  • Being African-American, Hispanic, American-Indian or Pacific Islander
  • Having given birth to a baby 9 pounds or larger
  • Having a history of some other endocrine conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome

Fortunately, pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes can often be prevented. Research shows that reducing your body weight by 5 to 10 percent – or 10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds – can cut your diabetes risk in half.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, however, the first thing you should do is set up a diabetes care team. The first step is to make sure you have a primary care doctor. Your physician can help you recruit the rest of the team, which should include a:

  • Diabetes or nurse educator to help you manage daily aspects of diabetes. This includes how to take insulin shots and how to identify low blood sugar reactions.
  • Registered dietician to help you plan a healthy diet.
  • Optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to watch for diabetic eye disease.
  • Social worker or psychologist to help you cope with the emotional side of diabetes.
  • Podiatrist (foot doctor) to help prevent, diagnose and treat foot complications from diabetes.
  • Dentist to take care of your teeth and gums.
  • Exercise physiologist to help develop a fitness program for you.
  • Pharmacist to answer questions related to medication.

To goal of managing diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels under control to prevent complications. Your team will tell you where your blood sugar level should be. You may need to check your blood sugar levels several times a day – this is especially important right after being diagnosed, starting new medication or changing doses.

Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent colon cancer

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States… but it doesn’t have to be. You can decrease your odds of colon cancer by making a few lifestyle changes.

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.

Drink alcohol in moderation, if you drink it at all. You should limit your intake to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Stop smoking! SOMC offers free smoking cessation classes that can help you kick the habit.

Exercise most days of the week. You should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you’ve been living an inactive lifestyle, you can start slowly and gradually build up to that level.

Maintain a healthy weight. Exercising and eating right can help you reach a healthy weight, and once you have it you need to keep it. Ultimately, weight loss comes down to a simple formula: aim to increase your exercise and decrease your calories.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent colon cancer, consult with your physician.

SOMC donates to Portsmouth Connex

The Southern Ohio Medical Center Development Foundation recently donated $10,000 to Portsmouth Connex, matching a $10,000 donation given by the SOMC Medical Staff. Portsmouth Connex is a local group proposing a series of activity routes throughout Portsmouth and its surrounding communities. The routes could be used to promote biking, running and walking. Present at the check presentation were, from left to right, SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett, SOMC Community Health and Wellness Director Wendi Waugh, Dr. Cynthia Hamm of the SOMC Medical Staff, SOMC Development Foundation Chairman Dave Fowler, Barb Bradbury and Jeff Smith of Portsmouth Connex, and SOMC Director of Development Kara Redoutey. For more information about Portsmouth Connex, visit

Understanding heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 600,000 Americans every year. That’s one out of every four deaths in the country.

But what is heart disease? It’s a term that refers to several conditions, most commonly coronary artery disease – which can cause heart attacks. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, can cause heart failure and prevent the heart from pumping well.

Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. Some people are actually born with it. It occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries, causing them to narrow over time and reduce blood flow to the heart. There are a number of factors that can increase your odds of developing heart disease. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and not getting enough exercise are all culprits. Your risk is also increased by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the type, but for most people the first sign is chest discomfort or a heart attack. Other signs include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, neck or back
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

To learn more about heart disease, visit

Shuffleboard champions donate winnings to Hospice

Billy Logan and Pat Malone recently donated their winnings of $832 to SOMC Hospice after coming in first place during a memorial shuffleboard tournament at the Stag Bar on U.S. Rt 23 in Portsmouth. Pictured here, Logan (left) and Malone (right) are seen with Sheila Riggs of SOMC Hospice following the donation. For more information about SOMC Hospice, visit

How to turn bad habits into healthy habits

It’s no secret that healthy habits can reduce your risk for a lot of diseases, but that makes it sound easier than it is. The truth is, adopting healthy habits can be hard – especially if you don’t approach them from the right angle. That’s why the American Heart Association has published a list of tips to help the challenge more manageable.

First, understand that you have to do something for 60 to 90 days before it becomes a habit. This is a critical period – whatever change you want to make, you have to make time for it no matter how busy your schedule may be. You should also understand that negative habits are easier to form because they offer immediate gratification, but you pay for it later in life. Positive habits, however, do not offer instant gratification but give you a bigger payout in the future.

And don’t think of your task as ending a habit so much as replacing it. In the 1970s detective drama “Kojak,” for example, the title character sucks on lollipops because he is trying to quit smoking. This is an example of someone using a new habit to replace a worse one. Of course, replacing smoking with lollipops is not as healthy as replacing it with running, but either option is healthier than cigarettes.

You should also remind yourself of why it is you’re making the change to begin with. Maybe you want to see your kids graduate, or walk your child down the aisle… or maybe you just want to look better so you can impress someone special. When it comes to why you should live a healthier life, there’s no wrong reason.

When trying to develop a new habit, it’s also helpful to break it into smaller, short-term goals. If your goal is to cut back on your alcohol intake, for example, start by reducing how much you drink by a little bit each day. Once you start to see how much difference a little change can make, you’ll be motivated to try larger changes.

Share your goal with someone you trust, and who will hold you accountable. It’s tough to change a habit when you don’t have the right support.

Allow yourself a cheat day once in a while. If you’ve avoided sweets all week and have been exercising, it’s okay to let yourself splurge a little. That’s a reward for your hard work.

You should also try to free yourself from the television, or at least exercise while you watch. Imagine how healthy you would be if all the hours you spend in front of a TV were simultaneously spent on a stationary bike.