Nov 28, 2022 | Faces of HDGH, Road to Recovery – Restorative Rehabilitative Care
Physical activity has been long-touted as a pillar of healthy living. Exercise can help regulate factors such as weight loss, glucose control and blood pressure. It can improve cardiovascular conditioning and increase bone density, but did you know it can also have a meaningful and positive impact on your immune system? As we approach another cold and flu season, here are a few ways daily movement can help keep you healthy.
Exercising at a moderate to vigorous intensity for 30-45mins promotes the circulation of blood and white blood cells. This increase in circulation moves white blood cells into more areas of the body where infection can be identified. This rise in white blood cells can remain in effect for up to three hours after exercise is complete.
Research shows that even a modest amount of sleep loss is shown to increase the risk of infection and inflammatory markers. Regular physical activity promotes the release of endorphins, or “feel good” hormones. This can help lower overall stress levels, allowing you better quality nighttime rest.
There is research to show that regular exercise can help improve cholesterol levels, maintain normal blood pressure, lower blood glucose levels and lower your resting heart rate. Having one or more of these chronic illnesses can make it more difficult for your immune system to fight off viral infections such as influenza or COVID-19.
Research suggests that chronic stress and depression can have a dramatic impact on the immune system. It creates an environment of low chronic inflammation that favors illness and infection. Exercise can slow the release of cortisol and other stress hormones and promote the release of endorphins, positively affecting mood, behavior and resilience to everyday stressors.
It is important to note that both exercise intensity and exercise duration can affect the impact exercise has on the immune response. Most research suggests that regular, moderate-intensity, sustained activity lasting 30-60mins has the most beneficial effect. Activities like a brisk walk after dinner, or a lunchtime bike ride can fulfill this requirement quite easily.
As always, some exercise is better than none. If you aren’t sure where to start, or if exercise is new to you, speak with your doctor. Small sessions accumulated through the day can add up and make a big impact, so start where you are and progress from there.
Jasmine is a Windsor girl, born and raised. She has been a registered kinesiologist since 2014 and an exercise specialist for the Cardiac Wellness Center since 2007. She has the good fortune of helping cardiac patients regain their confidence and independence after life-altering events. When not working, you can find her at the local hockey rinks, soccer fields or camp grounds, promoting an active lifestyle with her husband and three children.
Jun 7, 2022 | Faces of HDGH, Road to Recovery – Restorative Rehabilitative Care
June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and according to the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF), concussion is one of the most common brain injuries experienced by people of all ages.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that results from a blow to the head or mechanical force to the brain from a fall, assault, exposure to an explosion, or a sudden stop in a high-speed collision. This injury usually results in functional changes to how the brain operates (software) rather than structural changes to the brain (hardware).
After a concussion, people might experience physical symptoms (headaches, dizziness, fatigue, sleep problems, tinnitus, noise & light sensitivity & poor balance), cognitive symptoms (slowed thinking, poor concentration, memory problems, impulsivity & word-finding difficulties), or emotional symptoms (irritability, anger outbursts, anxiety, & depression). Everyone’s experience of concussion is different and not everyone will experience the same symptoms. These symptoms are normal after a concussion and not a sign of worsening brain damage. The good news is that these symptoms will gradually resolve over a few days to a few weeks, especially with symptoms management strategies.
At one time, healthcare providers recommended that people rest until their symptoms resolved. Yikes! Turns out that the research shows that this advice was wrong and we now know that after a concussion, rest is only needed for 1-2 days. People benefit from gradually resuming their normal activities and by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest (i.e., pacing). As long as symptoms do not get worse, it is O.K. to increase the length of time and the intensity of an activity every few days over several weeks and gradually decrease the rest periods. Staying connected with others and doing things you enjoy is important to your physical and mental health so text your friends, watch some T.V., and go for a walk, but start off with brief manageable bits of these activities that do not make your symptoms worse.Persisting Symptoms After a Concussion The ONF reports that about 10-30% of people with concussion continue to experience persistent symptoms for several months. Again, the symptoms are not a sign of a worsening brain injury but rather that your brain functioning has “gotten stuck” or other factors may be prolonging your symptoms. These symptoms do not only occur after concussion but can also result from other conditions that affect how the brain functions (i.e., pain, sleep disturbance, substance use, and the stress of having persisting symptoms). If you continue to have symptoms after 4 weeks, it may be time to get some specialized help. A recent review by researchers (Mollica et al, 2022), recommended prioritizing treatment of dizziness and balance problems, posttraumatic headache, sleep problems, depression and anxiety as these symptoms may contribute to other persistent symptoms. So how can healthcare providers help you with these persisting symptoms? Your family physician or nurse practitioner can review your pain medication use and determine how to best manage your headache pain as well as refer you to other health care providers. Physiotherapists can treat balance problems and vertigo (as well as a neck injury that can contribute to headaches) and also coach you through graded exercise programs. Occupational therapists can help with pacing and prioritizing activities to find that “sweet spot” of activity that does not make symptoms worse and offer strategies to help get things done easier. A psychologist or social worker can provide psychotherapy to deal with sleep problems, depression, and anxiety s well as by changing unhelpful illness beliefs and reducing avoidance behaviour. It can be discouraging to deal with persisting symptoms but individuals can continue with their recovery by finding the “sweet spot” of activity level that does not make the symptoms worse; by gradually returning to activities and exercise; and, by targeting problematic symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbance and depressed mood.
For more information, check out these resources & references:https://concussionsontario.org/https://www.uhn.ca/Krembil/Canadian-Concussion-Centre/EducationMollica et al. (2022). Neuropsychiatric treatment for mild traumatic brain injury: Nonpharmacological approaches. Seminars in Neurology. CogSmart – Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Patients. VA San Diego Healthcare System.
Dr. Anne McLachlan is a clinical neuropsychologist at HDGH who has provided psychological services to the rehabilitation programs for over 25 years. Always open to different perspectives, she has a passion for learning from her patients, students, and colleagues. Outside of work, she is a community volunteer, amateur cook, and weekend gardener.
Apr 1, 2022 | Mental Health, Leadership, Research and Innovation, Community and Partnerships, Patient Stories, Faces of HDGH, Road to Recovery – Restorative Rehabilitative Care, Palliative Care, Spirituality, Heritage
Welcome Readers. Our HDGH Team has always loved sharing stories with our community. Our Blog is just one of the many creative ways to do that with you. It has become a popular corner of our website where everyone is welcome to not only learn ABOUT our hospital, but also FROM the talented healthcare experts and professional voices we are proud to call our HDGH People. Our blog will be home to sharing expertise through varying healthcare-related topics from interviews, experience, patient stories, daily topics on how to stay healthy, and more.
You may have also noticed a new name to the HDGH Blog. “Maison Dieu Health” is a nod to our HDGH Heritage, honouring our French-Canadian five founding sisters of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph’s (RHSJ) who with love, perseverance, faith and persistence travelled from Montreal over 135 years ago to establish Windsor’s first hospital – Hôtel-Dieu of St. Joseph.
You can think of Maison Dieu Health as your refuge for wellness-related resources, all accessible “under one roof” through the many voices of our HDGH staff and community.
With that, welcome to Maison Dieu Health.
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