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Health Information Second Takes: Information Is Power
When It Comes to Your Health

Sometimes "seconds" should take first priority. The following seconds can help keep you on track for better health.

Second Helpings — Don't Dish It Up Twice

Knowing when to stop can be an important skill, especially when it comes to eating. To stay trim and healthy, turn your back on second helpings.

That can be a tall order, but these strategies can help.

  • Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full.
  • Learn to recognize the feeling of being full, and stop when you sense it — even if there is food left on your plate.
  • Restaurant servings are often so large they equal two servings. Have your server put half your meal in a to-go box before you even begin eating. Or, if you're dining with someone, try splitting a meal.

Second Fiddle — Know When to Put Yourself First On The List

If you're caring for a loved one who is ill, it's easy to forget about your own needs. But when family caregivers neglect their own health, they can quickly become ill themselves. 

The following steps can also help reduce stress and preserve your physical health:

  • Lighten your load by asking friends or family to do specific chores.
  • Protect your back. Caregivers often need to lift, and the right lifting techniques can help you avoid back pain.
  • Get some exercise, even if it's 10 minutes of power walking around your neighborhood. Exercise helps you stay in shape and relieve stress.

Caregivers can also get a helping hand from the Anne Byron Waud Patient and Family Resource Center at Rush. You can find caregiving resources, such as books and videotapes, as well as receive a free, personalized phone consultation, by calling (800) 757-0202.

Seconds Matter — Especially With A Heart Attack

Doctors count the minutes it takes for a heart attack patient to receive artery-opening balloon angioplasty — and every second of that time matters. The time between entering the emergency room and getting this treatment is called door-to-balloon time, and according to Gary Schaer, MD, interventional cardiologist, it can mean the difference between life and death.

The seamless system in place at Rush led it to become the first hospital in Chicago to receive accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. As an accredited chest pain center, Rush ensures patients brought to the emergency department are treated in the shortest time possible. That means six specialists, including an interventional cardiologist and two additional cardiologists, are immediately called to the emergency department for patients with chest pain.

Gary Schaer, MD, is director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Rush. He is a sought-after lecturer on interventional treatments for heart and vascular disease.

Second Careers — Digging Into Health Care

How do you go from unearthing ancient Turkish sewer systems to caring for patients during life-altering brain surgeries? Just ask Rush University Medical Center nurse Ezra Erb, BSN, MA.

After earning two master's degrees to become an archeologist, he traveled extensively to uncover long-forgotten pieces of history. Along the way, he met many uninsured laborers with limited access to quality health care. Profoundly disturbed by what he saw, Erb decided to become a nurse to make a difference, earning his nursing degree at the Rush University College of Nursing. Today, Erb is an operating room nurse at Rush, attending to patients undergoing complex surgeries to remove brain tumors and alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

"At the end of each day, I can look back and see where I made significant contributions to the care of someone in need," Erb says. “That's incredibly satisfying.”

Secondary Infertility — When Great Expectations Fail

It can be a sad surprise for people who already have children to learn they can't conceive another. But it's not unusual. It's called secondary infertility, and Ewa Radwanska, MD, an obstetrician and reproductive endocrinologist, says it's becoming more common.

"Women are delaying childbearing until they are older," Radwanska says. "But the ability to conceive declines throughout life and more rapidly close to age 40."

Aging egg cells may be the problem, but secondary infertility sometimes results from conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis, which can occur in both younger and older women.

Being overweight can also make conception more difficult. Also, male fertility can be diminished by conditions that affect sperm, such as infections, obesity and environmental factors.

Many technologies, such as ovulation induction, insemination and in vitro fertilization can help people overcome infertility, Radwanska says.

To learn more about the options available at the Rush Center for Advanced Reproductive Care, call (888) 352-RUSH (7874).

Ewa Radwanska, MD, has been director of the Section for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Rush since 1988. She is the author of more than 200 publications on reproductive endocrinology.

Second Wind — It's All About Oxygen

People who exercise vigorously — such as swimmers and runners — may know the feeling of getting a second wind.

According to sports medicine specialist Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, that's when your body begins to burn nutrients aerobically — also known as aerobic exercise.

Up to that point, when you're pushing yourself after your initial warmup, your muscles need oxygen faster than your heart and lungs can deliver it. This is anaerobic exercise — when you're out of breath and your muscles burn.

Your second wind happens when you can maintain a rate of exercise for an extended period of time. "With anaerobic exercise you gain power and strength," Bush-Joseph says. "But when you get that second wind, that's where the cardiac value is — and the value for overall fitness."

Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, is a professor of orthopedic surgery at Rush and the lead team physician for the Chicago White Sox.

Talk to your doctor about visiting a specialist at Rush. Call (888) 352-RUSH (7874) to make an appointment.

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