OWH Wellness Watch June 2012

       OWH Wellness Watch

                        Across the Lifespan ~ Across Indiana

June newsletter

No Joking Matter: The Health Benefits of Laughter

On Thursday, May 14, ISDH personnel enjoyed a presentation on the practice of Laughter Yoga by Sarah Lyttle, a program coordinator with Fisher Institute of Gerontology. Sarah's visit included an overview of the many physiological benefits of laughter and an introduction to some of the concepts and exercises that are part of a laughter yoga routine.
The concept of Laughter Yoga, which has gained an international popularity and interest from the business world for its stress-reducing effects on the workplace, is based around the scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter as the psysiological benefits are the same. Research around laughter’s effects inside the body show that laughter can relax muscles, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, elevate mood, increase the body’s oxygen content and produce biochemical changes. Laughter as an exercise and with a prolonged delivery can reduce some of the negative health implications of stress.  Stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, research has shown, are often catalysts for various health problems from heart disease and anxiety to insomnia, asthma, tension headaches and the onset of chronic disease.
Sarah’s exercises aimed to deliver laughter loudly and from the diaphragm. Planned laughter often results from the disciplined delivery and yogic breathing. OWH has placed a link to laughter yoga resources on our website www.womenshealth.isdh.in.gov, for those interested in learning more about this form of exercise, or “wellbeing workout.” One exercise that Sarah shared is easy to describe and perform: it is a variation of the roaring lion pose or asana. For this exercise, participants were instructed to stand with feet hip width apart, raise arms over head, inhale and then vocalize a “roar” sound and project one’s tongue as arms are brought down to one’s sides forming a circular shape in front of the body. This can be a release for negative emotions and can dissipate feelings of anger or frustration.  Please contact Morgan McGill at mmcgill@isdh.in.gov if you wish to receive more information on Sarah or her practice.
june newsletter

Summertime… and the Safety’s easy!

The weather’s heating up, which means Hoosiers are spending more time outdoors. While many of us look forward to outside summer activities, did you know that June is a time of increased unintentional injuries? National Safety Month occurs annually in June to bring awareness to public safety and to change behaviors to prevent injuries.
One of the easiest behaviors to change that will have a big impact on health is to avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water. We have all heard it before, but our bodies really do need plenty of water to work properly and alcohol can cause dehydration, so consume responsibly.
Another easy change to make in your daily life is to wear sunscreen. To get the best protection, make sure you are using water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and it provides coverage against both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to reapply often.
Warm-weather activities offer a nice change of pace to our normal workout routines. But whether you are showing off your mad skateboarding skills, tearing up the pavement while rollerblading, practicing your doggie-paddle or leisurely bicycling to the farmer’s market, make sure you are practicing safety at all times by ensuring all equipment is up-to-date, checked for safety and you are wearing it as prescribed.
Find these safety tips and more at the National Safety Month website. Follow these safety measures and you’ll be on your way to a fun and safe June!

June OWH Wellness watch scleroderma pic

  “Ask Me About Scleroderma”

June is National Scleroderma Awareness Month and you can become an advocate by helping to raise the awareness of a disease that doesn’t receive much attention, but can be devastating for those affected. Scleroderma is a Greek word for hard skin; however it really is much more: it can be disfiguring, debilitating and deadly. According to the Scleroderma Foundation there are approximately 300,000 people living with the disease and as many as 10,000 people die each year.  Those living with scleroderma will often have trouble bathing, dressing and taking care of daily needs. Some studies estimate that four out five patients diagnosed with scleroderma are female. OWH interviewed an expert at Indiana University Health's Rheumatology Department, Dr. Christopher Wu, to find out more about scleroderma and why so many women are affected.
OWH: What causes scleroderma and what are the signs?
Dr. Wu:Scleroderma results from an overproduction and accumulation of collagen in body tissues. Collagen is a fibrous protein in the body that makes up your body's connective tissues, including skin. Although doctors aren't sure what prompts this abnormal collagen production, the body's immune system appears to play a role. For unknown reasons, the immune system turns against the body, producing inflammation and the overproduction of collagen.
 A common sign of the disease is skin hardening and thickening, particularly involving the fingers, as this is a nearly universal feature of scleroderma. Another very common feature is color change of the fingers with cold exposure, what is known as Raynaud's phenomenon. A majority of patients will also experience general symptoms such as fatigue, joint stiffness, muscle pain and weakness.”
OWH: Why are women more prone to the disease than men?
Dr. Wu: “The reason why scleroderma affects women more than men is because it is an auto-immune disease, and many auto-immune diseases are more common in women than men. Female hormones may increase a women's chance of an auto-immune illness compared to men, or it may be the results of genes located on the X chromosome.”
OWH: How does the disease affect the body?
Dr. Wu: “Scleroderma can manifest as thickening and hardening of skin, tightness around the joints, fibrosis or scarring in the lungs, difficulty with swallowing and acid reflux, scarring around the heart and changes in normal vascular physiology. The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly from individual to individual, and the effects of scleroderma can range from very mild to life-threatening. The seriousness will depend on what parts of the body are affected and the extent to which they are affected. In the past, kidney disease was a leading cause of death in scleroderma (a condition called "scleroderma renal crisis"), although new medications have dramatically lowered that once fatal condition. Today, the leading cause of death from scleroderma is lung involvement from either pulmonary fibrosis or pulmonary hypertension. Cardiac involvement can also be a very serious manifestation.”
OWH:  Is there a cure or treatment for scleroderma?
Dr. Wu:At the present time, there is no cure for scleroderma, but there are many treatments available. Some are directed at particular symptoms like heartburn, which can be controlled by medications called proton pump inhibitors or medicine to improve the motion of the bowel. Some treatments are directed at decreasing the activity of the immune system. Some people with mild disease may not need medication at all and occasionally people can stop treatment when their scleroderma is no longer active.”

Get Involved and Become an Advocate!

June 2012

June 1-30: National Scleroderma Awareness Month. To learn more, please visit: www.scleroderma.org

June 1-30: Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month: www.myasthenia.org

June 1-30: National Congential Cytomegalpvoris Awareness Month: www.stopcmv.org

June 1-30: Cataract Awareness Month: www.preventblindness.org

June 3: National Cancer Survivors Day: www.ncsd.org

June 14: National Blood Donor Day, a day set aside to thank the millions of people who voluntarily donate blood each year. This year's theme focuses on the idea that "Every donor is a hero." Become a local hero and donate. Visit www.indianablood.org

June 19: World Sickle Cell Day to promotes public awareness of one of the most common genetic disease in the US. Over 70,000 Americans have Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). People with sickle cell have red blood cells that contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Sometimes these red blood cells become shaped like a sickle, and have trouble passing through small blood vessels. When these sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels, blood cannot reach parts of the body, which causes tissue damage. For more information on SCD, visit 


June 27: National HIV Testing Day, www.napwa.org

June Newsletter

Events in June

June 9: Indiana Tour de Cure is hosting a bike ride to help raise funds to support research, education and advocacy in Indiana. Join the American Diabetes Association at 6 a.m. at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To register, form or join a team and help to stop diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org/indytour.
June 9: American Senior Communities Health Fair from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. at OrthoIndy South, 1260 Innovation Parkway, Greenwood. The Health Fair will include free health screenings: blood pressure checks, hearing screenings, flexibility screenings, oxygen level screenings and much more! For information, visit www.ascseniorcare.com
June 16: Ladies give that special man in your life a well-deserving Father's Day gift! Take him to the Men's Health Fair at the Blackburn Health Center, 2700 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m Wishard Hospital and several other community organizations will be offering free mini physical exams, along with free health screenings that include blood pressure, body mass index, diabetes, CPR training, cholesterol, dental and HIV and STD screenings. For more information, call Milton Flowers at 317-931-4306.
June 20: Topic: Health and Healing: Senior Skincare presented by Dr. Nicholas Countryman. Time, 11:30 a.m., at the PrimeLife Enrichment Center  1078 SW Third Ave, Carmel, IN. St. Vincent Carmel Hospital sponsors a physician-led education series for those 50 years and older. Please call 317-338-CARE to register.
June 20: Mended Heart of Riverview Hospital offers the gift of hope and encouragement to heart patients,their families and caregivers. Meetings are held from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. in Classrooms A/B located on the lower level of the Professional Building (entrance 13). Lunch is provided. Call 317-776-7377 for more information.
June 21: Executive Women in Healthcare is having a June Leadership event from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the St. Vincent de Paul Room at St.Vincent Health North, 10330 North Meridian. Topic: Wellness: Leading the Way in the 21st Century. To register or for more information, visit www.ewhc.org
June 23: Indiana Latino Expo (ILE) is hosting their first annual expo. ILE partnered with Indiana State Department of Health to sponsor a heath fair at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 6002 Michigan Road from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ILE will offer free health services and information to the community that target obesity, diabetes, mammograms, health screenings and HIV/AIDS  among others. For information, contact 317-254-3240 or visit www.indianalatinoexpo.org
June 23: The Martin Center is hosting their 16th Annual Sickle Cell 5K Run/Walk at Riverside Park, 2420 E. Riverside Dr. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Martin Center programs which aim to aid and enhance the lives of those affected by Sickle Cell. For information or to register contact Casey Cawthon at 317-927-5158 or visit www.themartincenter.org
June 26-27: IU School of Medicine Department of Public Health is hosting a screening of the four-part HBO documentary The Weight Of The Nation at the Campus Center Theatre from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Parts one and two will be presented on Tuesday, followed by Parts three and four on Wednesday. Each day will feature a short exercise break, light refreshments and discussion after each part. To register, visit www.publichealthconnect.org and click on "IPHTC Events." For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/L8ttj2
June 28: Join The Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter, for their inaugural "A Tasteful Affair" event at the Caribbean Cove Hotel and Conference Center in Indianapolis from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Fine wine and dishes will be served at this casual event. A silent auction will also be featured! Ticket price: $50. For more information or questions, call 317-225-4400. To register and purchase your tickets, go online to www.lupusindiana.org
OWH Wellness Watch pic zumba
There is still time to join the OWH Zumba team for the Big Red Bash event in Military Park on July 14, hosted by Little Red Door. If you are interested and can Zumba from 12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m., we would love to have you join us! Please email Katie Jones at kajones@isdh.in.gov if you are interested. We already have 10 OWH team members signed up! 

Strawberry Festival on Monument Circle, hosted by Christ Church Cathedral, happens this year on June 14 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. For more information, please vist: http://www.cccindy.org/strawberry-festival



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June OWH Wellness Watch hydrangeas