Grundy County Memorial Hospital | Live Well | Spring 2021

Samantha Bissen, DO, UnityPoint Clinic–Grundy Center Family Medicine Brandy Tripp, BSN, RN, GCMH Cardiac Rehabilitation Coordinator SPR I NG 2021 All kinds of routines have been changed due to the pandemic and, for many of us, that includes routine preventive health care. Certain routines we adopted, such as staying home more while getting out and exercising less, may have actually harmed our health. If this describes you, now’s the time to focus on routine health care and disease prevention. Effects of the pandemic Samantha Bissen, DO, family practice physician with UnityPoint Clinic–Grundy Center Family Medicine, says that the lack of physical activity combined with the extra stress of the pandemic took a toll on people, physically and mentally. “It’s been a rough year, and between extra life stressors and worry about the virus, nothing has been normal,” she says. “We are seeing many uncontrolled health conditions as people resume their wellness visits, which is why it’s so important that these visits are sched- uled so we can help people get back on the right track.” Brandy Tripp, BSN, RN, Grundy County Memorial Hospital Car- diac Rehabilitation Coordinator, says that the stress of the past year has increased risk factors for chronic disease. “When we’re feeling anxiety— whether we realize it or not—we tend to increase the behaviors that are risk factors for heart dis- ease. These include getting less sleep and exercising less, while smoking more and eating more foods that contribute to high blood pressure or excess weight,” she says. Time for a health reset “As people get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and more everyday activities open up, it’s the perfect time for a health reset,” Tripp says. “We can’t change the pandemic and the tragic losses it has caused, but we can take control of other health risk factors to reduce our likelihood of developing high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.” According to Dr. Bissen, catching up on doctor visits may include preventive care, such as: ● Screenings for heart disease, includ- ing regular blood pressure checks, and for type 2 diabetes. ● Screenings for cancer, such as mam- mograms and Pap tests for women and colonoscopies for both men and women. ● Routine checkups where you can get advice about diet, exercise and safety. Dr. Bissen adds that a routine checkup can also help you find care for anxiety or depression that may have developed during the pandemic. “The pandemic has brought on stress that is different from our typical life stressors. Whether it was the loss of a loved one, the loss of contact with friends, or the inability to celebrate important life events, we experienced loss in different ways. Talking to someone—whether it’s your health care team, family or friends—is so important. Feeling connected, sup- ported and listened to is a great start at improving your mental well-being.” Most health insurance plans cover preventive care services, and it’s more important than ever to get them scheduled. Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; 3 Blood pressure: What you need to know 4 Keep stress at bay with focused breathing Return to (healthy) routines Inside