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  • 10/09/2019 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Accepting the Challenge to Reduce the Infant Mortality Rate

    Infant mortality is the death of an infant before the age of one. According to Statista, the state of Indiana ranked 9th in 2018 with an average of 7.4 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This rate is even higher among the African-American community. What’s happening to our babies? While the rate and causes of infant mortality vary depending on the country and region, the above source goes on to state that the leading causes of neonatal deaths include pre-term birth complications, intrapartum-related events (birth asphyxia), and sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection). 

    How do we prevent these conditions from occurring? The most important step is effective and consistent prenatal care.

    Finding out that you’re pregnant can bring about a variety of emotions from happiness and joy to disbelief or worry. No matter the reaction, the fact remains that a child is on its way, and care ideally should begin immediately. A major barrier that some moms in low-income environments may encounter is a lack of healthcare coverage or facilities that offer comprehensive pre-natal healthcare programs.

    One of the programs that our team at Community HealthNet Health Centers worked hard to implement is CenteringPregnancyTM. This model provides expecting moms with the care and tools they will need during and after pregnancy, which helps combat the rising infant mortality rate in low-income communities. Take a look at some of the services that are available:

    Group Prenatal visits:

    • Assessment of the mom and the baby
    • Education of the mom and significant others
    • Support of the mom, the baby, and the family

    Here are the attributes of the GROUP MODEL FOR CENTERINGPREGNANCY™:

    • Initial intake done before mom’s 1st session
    • The first group session is usually started when the moms are between 12-16 weeks
    • Groups of 8-12 women, with similar due dates, are placed together
    • Moms will do their own weight and blood pressure
    • An individual physical assessment is done within the group space by the provider
    • 10 Sessions lasting two hours each are facilitated by a group leader
    • 4 Sessions occur every 4 weeks: Months of pregnancy 16, 20, 24, 28
    • 6 Sessions occur every 2 weeks: Months of pregnancy 30, 32, 36, 38, 40, Post Pregnancy
    • Self-Monitoring
    • Mom checks her own BP
    • Weight is monitored
    • Mom makes notations of the data for her record

    In essence, Community HealthNet is empowering moms to monitor their pregnancies to detect any complications early while increasing the likelihood of successful deliveries. We even host community baby showers for expectant mothers!

    I am personally alarmed by the rate of infant mortality in our communities and ask that you join me in spreading the word about the pre-natal services available right here in Northwest Indiana and across the country. Don’t let the lack of healthcare coverage keep you from seeking assistance. Community HealthNet and many other health centers are ready and willing to help because your health (and your baby’s health) matters!

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 04/12/2019 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    April is National Minority Health Month – Let’s Get Moving

    Did you know that April is National Minority Health Month? Yes, it’s a thing! Back in April 1915, Dr. Booker T. Washington began advocating for "National Negro Health Week." He reached out to local health departments, schools, churches, organizations, government entities, and businesses in search of support for this initiative to create a National Health Movement. His efforts grew into what we now celebrate for an entire month.

    Each year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) develops a theme for Minority Health Month. This year, it is "Active & Healthy," which will allow OMH and minority health advocates throughout the nation to highlight the health benefits of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity into our daily lives. This topic is near and dear to me, as I am always encouraging my patients and social followers to incorporate some form of exercise and healthy eating into their lifestyles.

    Now that we all know what the focus is for April, here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate Minority Health Month:

    1. Identify a health accountability partner. Accomplishing any goal is always easier when there is someone holding you accountable. Identify a friend, family member or significant other who will hold you accountable in your healthy lifestyle goals this month. Whether it’s a morning jog or sticking to a healthy menu, enlist the help of someone you trust to ensure that you stay on track.
    2. Make an appointment with your physician. If you haven’t seen your general practice physician this year, this month would be a great time to make an appointment. There doesn’t have to be anything going on for you to see your doctor. Get a physical and maybe a few general screenings for starters. It never hurts to stay ahead of the game when it comes to your health.
    3. Try a few healthy recipes. Since the theme for National Minority Health Month is "Active & Healthy," why not add a few healthy dishes to the menu? In fact, I have a nice variety of healthy recipes on my website DrJanetSeabrook.com. 
    4. Get a gym membership. The time has passed for New Year’s resolutions, so April is another good starting point to commit to a regular exercise routine. It’s something about a gym membership that can bring about greater commitment, especially since there is a price tag attached. Gyms also offer classes, equipment and exercise programs that provide more consistency in your workout. Keep in mind that physical activity promotes health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases and other conditions that are more common or severe among racial and ethnic minority groups.

    I’ve only listed a few, but there are plenty more activities that you can participate in to celebrate National Minority Health Month. A quick Google search should yield a comprehensive list of events taking place in your area, or better yet, create an event and invite your family and friends who want to celebrate healthy living too! Happy National Minority Health Month!

    To learn more about activities taking place this month, visit www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov.

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  • 04/12/2019 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Media Advisory: Community Easter Egg Hunt

    WHO: Community HealthNet Health Centers

    WHAT: Community HealthNet Health Centers will host a Community Easter Egg Hunt for area youngsters. There will be games, food, giveaways, and information available about the health services that Community HealthNet provides.

    Two lucky hunters who find a golden egg will each receive an iPad!

    Attendees will also have the opportunity to register for Community HealthNet’s upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness 5K which will be held in September at Marquette Park in Gary.

    WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 2019 11:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.

    WHERE: Community HealthNet Health Center 1021 W. 5th Avenue Gary, IN

    Media are invited to cover this community event. Dr. Janet Seabrook, CEO of Community HealthNet Health Centers will be available for interviews.

    For more information about this event, call 219-880-1190. Learn more about Community HealthNet Health Centers by visiting www.chn-indiana.org.

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  • 03/27/2019 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Shedding Some Light on Multiple Myeloma

    If I ask a room full of people if they have ever heard of lung or breast cancer, it’s likely that all hands would go up. If asked the same of Multiple Myeloma, there would probably be considerably less hands in the air. March is Myeloma Action Month and a perfect time for me to shed some light on this little known cancer.

    According to Myeloma.org, "Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells, white blood cells that make antibodies. A cancerous or malignant plasma cell is called a myeloma cell. Myeloma is called ‘multiple’ because there are frequently multiple patches or areas in the bone where it grows."

    While Multiple Myeloma is not as well-known as many other cancers, it is the second most common blood cancer in the world. In fact, there are more than 225,000 people living with the disease with another 110,000+ cases being diagnosed annually. The encouraging news is that the death rates connected to this condition are declining at an approximate rate of .8% annually.

    Multiple Myeloma has several causes/triggers including exposure to toxic chemicals like benzene, dioxins, engine exhaust, some fuels and even cleaning products. There have also been cases linked to atomic radiation, cancer-causing viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis virus and some herpes viruses among others. There is also a small percentage of cases that result from heredity. So if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, it would be a good idea to speak with your physician and arrange a screening.

    Awareness and early detection can ultimately help with treatment and the decline in death rate. So, here are a few more facts you should know about Multiple Myeloma*:

    Symptoms

    • Persistent or worsening tiredness due to anemia or reduced kidney function
    • Sudden pain due to a broken bone in the spine, ribs, or elsewhere
    • Recurrent unexplained infections, such as pneumonia, sinus, or urinary infection

    Signs

    • Pain with movement and/or at night/rest
    • Pain tenderness/swelling of bone areas
    • Swelling, shortness of breath or evidence of heart or kidney failure (late stages of the disease)

    Throughout the month March there will be an increased amount of activities to help raise awareness of Multiple Myeloma. If you are interested in getting involved or starting a local effort, be sure to visit www.mam.myeloma.org to get started.

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

     

    *Myeloma.org

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  • 03/27/2019 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    The Relationship Between Heart Health and Depression

    February is the month that discussions about your heart health become most prevalent. The American Heart Association designated the second month of the year as Heart Month way back in 1964, and to this day, there are still countless activities and events that take place encouraging us to take better care of our hearts. While this crusade is great and has undoubtedly saved many lives along the way, there’s one heart conversation that doesn’t take place enough – depression and how it impacts your heart health.

    According to Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, "A person’s mental health, in terms of their general health, is underestimated." This basically means that while we are so focused on getting a medical diagnosis on our health, we often don’t consider how our mental condition factors into what’s going on with our bodies.

    Depression is a condition should be professionally diagnosed and treated, however, we all can notice certain things that cause us to feel down. For example, the loss of a loved one, divorce, break-up or stress on the job can obviously place one in a different emotional state. These types of life-altering occurrences may lead to over-eating, decreased appetite, smoking, alcohol consumption and other poor habits that ultimately impact the health of your heart.

    "Other physiological things are happening in the body, including increased stress hormones, higher levels of cortisol and higher glucose levels," says Goldberg. "Taking care of your overall outlook and well-being is as important as taking care of your blood pressure and cholesterol."

    It’s normal to feel down on occasion for a short period of time, such as a few days.  Try identifying what the issue(s) may be that are causing your stress and/or anxiety and take steps to eliminate the source. For example, if the job is stressing you out, perhaps a little time off may be in order. 

    If feelings of depression become consistent for several weeks, then it’s time to seek some professional help.

    I always recommend healthy eating choices and exercise, but going forward, don’t forget about your mental health. Engage in activities that make you happy, and surround yourself with people that do the same. A good laugh and a great time can go a long way when it comes to caring for your heart. And remember, #yourhealthmatters! 

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 01/09/2019 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Dispelling the Myths of the HPV Vaccination

    Happy New Year!

    I bet you thought my column was going to be about making resolutions for a healthier lifestyle in the New Year. While I am all for this, there is no need to wait for a specific date to make better choices when it concerns your health, so let’s just do it!

    There is a topic, however, that I have mentioned on other platforms and during several media interviews that I felt compelled to discuss in greater detail, and that is HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination.

    According to Planned Parent Parenthood, "HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. HPV is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts. There are more than 200 types of HPV, and about 40 kinds of HPV are spread during sexual contact. Cancers caused by HPV include cervical cancer in women as well as cancers of the anus and throat in men and women. Other types of HPV cause common warts like hand warts and plantar warts on the feet — but these aren’t sexually transmitted.

    There are 3 brands of HPV vaccine — Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix. All of these vaccines protect against HPV types 16 and 18 — the 2 types that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases." 

    In recent years, there has been much debate over HPV vaccination and whether there are risks or even ethical ramifications associated with youth as young as 11 or 12 getting vaccinated since the virus is transmitted via sexual contact.

    With any type of vaccination or medical treatment, it is always my advice to consult your physician, but beyond this consultation, I also encourage parents to do your research. Keep in mind that vaccines are created to prevent the contraction of viruses. If you knew that you could potentially prevent your child from contracting cervical cancer, wouldn’t you at least want to learn more on how this can be achieved?

    The biggest educational barrier around the HPV vaccine is the stigma of it being sexually transmitted. If the vaccine were for something skin cancer or lung cancer, I probably would not have to write this column. Once we get past the fact that HPV is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), perhaps we can then focus on the important information around prevention.

    I am pleased to share that Community HealthNet Health Care Centers has partnered with the IU Simon Cancer Center and the  Gary Housing Authority to present a series of information sessions about HPV and vaccination in 2019. It’s a great opportunity for residents to hear from healthcare professionals about the vaccinations and make an educated decision on behalf of themselves and their children.

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  • 12/11/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Health Care Open Enrollment – The Deadline is Approaching

    It’s hard to believe that 2018 is almost over, and so is the period for open enrollment for healthcare. As a medical professional and CEO of Community HealthNet Healthcare Centers, it is my passion and mission to ensure that the communities we serve have access to affordable and quality healthcare services. Part of this means educating our clients and the masses about the availability of healthcare programs and the deadlines associated with them.

    Open Enrollment for health care coverage in 2019 runs from November 1, 2018, to December 15, 2018. If you’re reading this, then it means you have just under a week left to enroll or update your current healthcare plan. So let’s get started! Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

    1.       Make sure you are eligible to enroll. To be eligible to enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace, you must live in the United States, be a U.S. citizen or national (or be lawfully present) and can’t be incarcerated. If you have Medicare coverage, you’re not eligible to use the marketplace to buy a health or dental plan.

    2.       Review your options and create an account. If you haven’t enrolled in a healthcare plan, take the time to review the options in the marketplace in order to select the plan that best suits you. Find this information at healthcare.gov.

    3.       Check open enrollment deadlines at your job. Job-based healthcare plans may have different open enrollment periods and/or deadlines. Please be sure to check with your employer to confirm what your open enrollment dates are.

    4.       There are some special cases for enrollment outside of the enrollment period. Outside the Open Enrollment Period, you generally can enroll in a health insurance plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You’re eligible if you have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby, or loss of other health coverage.

    5.       Some other plans have open enrollment year-round. Depending on income, you may qualify for an insurance plan with tax credits or for Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Keep in mind that you can apply and enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time of year. Visit healthcare.gov. to determine eligibility.

    Remember, you will need to create an online account in order to enroll, so seek help from a computer savvy family member, friend, a human resource rep at your place of employment or possibly a healthcare professional if you are uncertain on how to proceed. Community HealthNet also has Health Navigators available to assist with this process. Call (219) 886-8980 or visit www.chn-indiana.org to schedule an appointment.  

    All plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive services. Access to quality health care coverage is your right, so please get educated and get enrolled!

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 12/11/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    November is Men’s Health Month – Health Advocates Wanted!

    "I feel fine. I don’t need to see a doctor."

    "I’ll make an appointment when I get a free moment."

    "I’ll be alright. It’s probably nothing."

    These are all some of the responses and excuses that wives, significant others, partners and family members might hear when urging the men in their lives to go see a physician. Even a routine check-up seems to be one of the things that multitudes of men are most likely to avoid.

    So what’s the big deal? Is it fear? Anxiety? In many cases, it’s neither. Since pre-historic times, the "traditional role" of the male was defined as the provider and protector of the family. He was to be strong, fearless and invincible. Fast forward to 2018, many of those stereotypes still exist causing some men to let their pride and "invincibility" get in the way of going to get checked out!

    While you may want to give in to their reluctance, I urge you to be persistent with the men you love about getting routine medical check-ups. It just may save their lives. I can’t tell you how many cases I’ve seen where if the patient had only come in when the symptoms first began or just adhered to a regular exam, their prognosis would have been avoidable, treatable or even…curable.

    If you really want to help that "stubborn man," appoint yourself as his health advocate.

    Here are a few easy assignments to get started:

    1. Stay on top of all of the medical appointments and try to accompany him if you can.
    2. Make a list of medication, physician/insurance information, and make sure you have and he have it with you at all times.
    3. Monitoring any changes in your loved one’s condition – weight gain, weight loss, not feeling well, etc.
    4. Don’t hesitate to contact his physician if you think something is wrong. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

    This all may sound a bit overwhelming at first, but if you remain consistent with your "duties," there’s a chance that the "patient" will get on board and be more open to making his health a priority. Remember, his health matters!

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 10/17/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Professionals to Watch: Janet Seabrook

    She raised her hand with enthusiasm, much faster than any of the other children sitting cross-legged in the circle. Granted, she was still just a little girl. However, Gary native Janet Seabrook already had big girl dreams. On that day, she knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she wanted to not only exclaim it to her teacher but her entire kindergarten class.
     
    Janet wanted to be a doctor.

    "I specifically remember all the kids laughing at my answer," says Dr. Janet Seabrook, Executive Director of Gary-based Community HealthNet. "Back in those days, the men were the doctors, and the ladies were the nurses. That was just the way it was. But I didn’t care. I loved the idea of using a stethoscope and taking care of people."

     

    Luckily, not everyone laughed at her career aspirations. Her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Springer quickly explained to Janet and her fellow classmates that "you could be anything you wanted to be," and Janet believed every word. Read more…

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  • 10/16/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    The Mammogram: The Fear of Knowing the Truth

    October, of course, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I penned the column below a year ago, and its contents is still relevant! I ask that you read it once more, but this time, commit to action once you’re done. Special thanks to everyone who supported Community HealthNet’s 20th Annual Breast Cancer Walk. Funds raised will go toward supporting programs designed to deliver health services to low-income families and individuals throughout Northwest Indiana. Now, on to the facts about mammograms!

    It’s a time when thousands of women flock to their physicians for their annual breast exams and mammograms. But what about when October ends? The advertising and awareness events stop, and there are still thousands of women who are fearful of knowing the true health of their breasts. So many who simply say, "I don’t want to know!" What do we say to them in order for them to take that next step in caring for their bodies? 

    A diagnosis of any disease can be an emotional and scary revelation. Thankfully, there are year-round resources and solutions that serve as possible remedies to rid the apprehension of getting a mammogram:

    • Reach out to women who have had mammograms exams and ask them about their experience. Their testimonials can paint a clearer, honest picture of what the mammogram procedure entails without all of the medical terminology, which is often easy to misunderstand.
    • Take someone whom you trust to your mammogram appointment and can serve as a source of comfort during the process.
    • Treat yourself after the exam. Go to lunch/dinner with friends or a spa appointment. A relaxing environment will allow an opportunity to reflect on the experience with less anxiety coupled with a support system of people who are genuinely concerned about your mental and physical well-being.
    • Make arrangements to have a family member or friend be with you to receive your mammogram results. Good news or bad, it’s always better to have someone by your side for emotional back-up.
    • Enact a medical treatment plan. If breast cancer is detected, immediately consult with your healthcare providers on next steps. Depending on the stage and aggression of cancer, decisions will need to made for your health and for the sake of those who love and care about you. 

    To know or not to know is clearly your choice, but your decision often affects more people than you’ll ever realize. A fighting chance is better than no chance at all.

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 09/14/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Outdoors or Indoors, Growing your Produce is a Healthy Habit

    Can you believe it? In just a couple of weeks, summer will be over. It seems like only yesterday I was planting seeds in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. I was proud to serve my family fresh produce from the garden to the table. Minus the rabbits, I absolutely love gardening! I even incorporated some of the ingredients from my garden in the recipes I’ve been sharing all summer at www.DrJanetSeabrook.com.

    The best news of all is that gardening does not have to stop once the weather starts to turn. In this column, I am excited to share the benefits of growing your own produce and how to get your indoor garden started.

    Benefits of homegrown fruits and veggies

    There are plenty of studies that support the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School, growing your own fruits and vegetables help ensure the following:

    • It helps the grower (and potentially the family) eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. After all, the produce is right on-site and you don’t want it to go to waste, so keep on indulging in nature’s goodness. I can’t talk enough about the vitamins in tomatoes and antioxidants in the strawberries and blackberries. I also grew cucumbers, eggplant, spinach and broccoli. The health benefits are countless!
    • As the gardener, you get to decide what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food. When we go to the store, we have no idea what our food has been exposed to prior to being placed on display for purchase. (That’s why thoroughly washing your produce is so important.)
    • It lets you control when to harvest your food. When growing your own garden, you decide the timeframe for planting and can estimate when your fruits and vegetables will be ripe and ready.

    Starting an indoor garden

    Now that you know it’s a good idea to try a little gardening, let’s not wait until next year! Your agricultural experience can start today! Here are a few tips to get you started:

    • Per Greatist.com, whatever fruit or vegetables you decide to grow indoors, remember, they require well-draining soil, which means you will either need to use a pot with holes in the bottom or pile up stones in the bottom of your pot before adding soil (so that the water can drain through the stones). If you choose to use a pot with holes in the bottom, be sure to put a shallow drainage container under the pot so the water doesn’t drain onto your floor, shelf, or windowsill.
    • Placement of your seedlings will be very important. Find locations where there is plenty of sunlight and stay on a steady schedule for watering.
    • Stop by your local garden center to get advice on what fruits and vegetables to grow in the winter and how to take care of them.

    Before you know it, you’ll have a refrigerator full of healthy snacks and recipe ingredients and will save a little money while you’re at it! Happy gardening!

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 07/18/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Being a Pet Owner Has its Benefits

    On June 23, 2018, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Community HealthNet Health Centers. It was both wonderful and humbling to see so many supporters come together at our Gala, which was held at the Gary/Chicago International Airport in the Sage-Popovich Hangar. We capped off the 20th anniversary weekend by partnering with Michelle Robinson of Cause 4 Paws to present our first-ever "People and Pet Health Fair." Participants received healthy information for themselves as well as their four-legged friends. This successfully unique event inspired me to write a column about some of the potential health benefits that pet owners enjoy. Take a look:

    1. Decreases Stress – Several studies, including one from the State University of New York at Buffalo, reveal that pet ownership can possibly reduce stress. Many subjects in the study experienced less stress when around their pets than when around a spouse, family members or other loved ones. This could be attributed to a pet’s ability to just be there without judgment or an opinion.
    2. Lowers Blood Pressure – According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), owning a pet potentially lowers blood pressure, particularly in hypertensive and high-risk patients. This notion relates back to the decrease in stress as stated above. The steady companionship a pet provides often results in a relaxing environment, which can lead to a decrease in one’s blood pressure.
    3. Lowers Cholesterol – The CDC also reports that having a furry friend may also lower cholesterol, particularly in men. It has also been found that pet owners have lower triglyceride levels. However, it isn’t clear whether the pet’s presence decreases cholesterol, or if those who maintain a healthier lifestyle are more often pet owners. No matter the case, there are definite benefits to your heart health.
    4. Improves Mood – Many pet owners also enjoy mental health benefits. The joyful interaction with pets can play a role in how you feel and socialize with others. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day and being greeted by a pet that’s always happy to see you. Dogs are even being used at some veteran’s hospitals to help soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
    5. Helps Prevent Strokes – Believe it or not, some studies have shown that pets can help prevent strokes. According to Marty Becker, DVM, a veterinary consultant and author of the book Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual, both dog and cat owners are less likely to suffer a stroke. "If you have a cat, you’re 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke," says Dr. Becker.

    There are, of course, many other health benefits to pet ownership including an increase in immunity and emotional development in children. Taking care of our "fur babies" undoubtedly comes with great responsibility, but as you can see, the returns of welcoming a pet into your family can be great!

     

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 06/04/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    A Challenge for the Sandwich Generation: Placing a Parent in Long-Term Care

    They have started families and are raising their children while also caring for their aging parents. They’re the Sandwich Generation – "sandwiched" into a lifestyle where two groups of loved ones are depending on them and let’s not forget the need for self-care in order to maintain a healthy life balance. One of the greatest challenges of being a part of the Sandwich Generation is when a parent(s) requires placement in long-term care.

    The process of securing long-term care for a loved one can be complicated and, at times, frustrating. The plot thickens when determining what facilities will accept mom or dad based on their healthcare coverage. Recently, a close colleague shared the difficulties he encountered as he explored options for placing his father, who has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for years, in a long-term care facility. Here’s an excerpt of what he shared:

    "What I know for sure, is that without proper planning and counseling, securing long-term care for a parent can be a daunting task to complete. On one hand, you need to be below the poverty level in order to qualify for Medicaid. The problem arises when your income exceeds these limits but is not high enough to cover the cost of $7K – $9K per month at many quality long-term healthcare facilities.

    Another concern with Medicaid we encountered is the requirement to relinquish my father’s income to the government to cover medical costs. If the decision is made to turn over his funds, then where does that leave his wife, who is also on a fixed income? How does this impact full coverage of the household expenses?"

    Fortunately, my colleague was able to retain a lawyer who secured all of the necessary power of attorney documents to allocate the patient’s income to his wife. This ensures coverage of the household expenses while her husband transitions into long-term care.

    This circumstance sheds light on the obstacles that so many people face as they advocate for quality healthcare for loved ones. My colleague also mentioned the challenges he faced identifying a facility that would accept his father in a "Medicaid pending" status. Many long-term care organizations will either not admit clients until funding is finalized or only have a limited amount of "Medicaid pending" beds available.

    I penned this column to spread awareness and encourage those who are caring for senior-aged parents to begin making plans for their long-term care. Here are a few initial tips:

    1. Have a conversation with your parents about their medical and life insurance coverage including all existing policies, medication, outstanding debt, etc.
    2. Remain updated on the information above by staying in contact with your parents’ healthcare providers, physicians, insurance agents, etc. in case the status of their coverage or medical condition changes.
    3. Consult with a lawyer regarding any power of attorney designations that may be required in the event that your parent is no longer able to make decisions for him/herself.

    While every situation may be different and sometimes emotionally draining, there are always actions you can take to be better prepared. Our parents took care of us, so it’s only right that we take care of them!

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

     

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  • 06/04/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Living Life with Lupus

    It can be a silent killer and is one of the most complicated autoimmune diseases to diagnose. It can damage any part of the body, from the skin, to the joints, to the organs. It’s a disease that flares up, then seems to disappear before returning again. Unfortunately, it has no cure—it’s Lupus.

    May is Lupus Awareness Month, and one of my social media followers suggested that I write an article to bring more attention to this condition that affects approximately 1.5 million people in the United States and 5 million people worldwide according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

    There are two types of lupus: Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). DLE mainly affects skin that is exposed to sunlight and doesn’t typically affect vital internal organs. SLE is a more serious form of Lupus that affects the skin and other vital organs, often causing raised, scaly, butterfly-shaped rashes across the bridge of the nose and cheeks that can leave scars if untreated. SLE can also affect other parts of the skin elsewhere on the body. (WebMD)

    Because Lupus is a chronic disease, physicians work with patients to manage their individual symptoms. Most types of lupus are best managed with a combination of medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. It is also important to remember that symptoms can morph over time so the condition must be consistently monitored to ensure appropriate treatment.

    The good news is that thanks to research and a multitude of medical advances, strategies to combat lupus are much more plentiful than it was 20 years ago. Healthy lifestyle changes also help keep the disease under better control. For example, avoidance of sun exposure and paying more attention to managing stressful situations can help prevent lupus flare-ups. It is also recommended to avoid smoking to help with heart and lung health.

    Here are a few more facts from the Lupus Foundation of America:

    1. Researchers have identified over 50 genes which they believe contribute to the development of Lupus.
    2. Lupus symptoms do not necessarily present all at once. It’s a constellation of signs and symptoms over time.
    3. People with Lupus have at least 2x the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to people without Lupus.
    4. Studies show that it takes an average of six years for people with Lupus to be diagnosed from their first symptoms of Lupus.

    For more information about Lupus and activities surrounding Lupus awareness month, visit http://www.lupus.org/.

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 04/03/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    April is National Minority Health Month; How Can We Get Involved?

    April is National Minority Health Month and the perfect time for us to shed light on the many disparities that exist when it comes to health care among racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. Although a touchy subject, it’s no secret that people of color are not always afforded the best options and resources designed to improve and/or maintain a healthy prognosis.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health annually spearheads the observance of National Minority Health Month and has announced this year’s theme as "Partnering for Health Equity."

    At Community HealthNet Health Centers (CHN), we continue to do our part to promote health equity through community outreach, education, and programming. We offer primary medical care and behavioral health services to children, adults, and seniors. With five locations currently throughout Lake County Indiana, CHN is a network of medical practices with a qualified and dedicated medical staff. CHN provides comprehensive pediatric and adult medical services, and our medical centers are also staffed to provide behavioral health, comprehensive OB, and prenatal services.

    At first glance, the idea of inequity in the healthcare industry speaks to the availability of adequate coverage, facilities, and professionals to meet the needs of low-income families. However, a closer look at the issue reveals that disparities also exist around social determinants of health such as housing, transportation, employment and other environmental, social and economic conditions that impact health.

    So what can we do as a community to address some of the disparities that exist around health issues among minority groups? I have a few thoughts:

    Become a healthcare advocate – Too often we allow our loved ones and friends to go to doctor’s appointments and other health-related screenings unaccompanied. Reach out and offer your assistance to transport and stay with them when time allows. Not only will they appreciate the company, but you represent an extra pair of eyes and ears to take in what the medical professionals are sharing about prognoses, medication, symptoms, side effects, next steps for care at home and much more.

    Participate in the upcoming census – Soon, representatives from the Census Bureau will be reaching out to obtain information about households across the nation to determine funding for future programs and initiatives. This in includes healthcare, so if the people in our communities are not accurately counted, the proper amount of funding and resources will not flow to the areas where the need is the greatest. Make sure you and your family get counted!

    Lastly, do your research and stay up on the issues – Information is power. Stay in the know on the progress of health equity through community forums, recently released research and online platforms that discuss governmental actions related to the health. In addition to looking online, contact your local health professionals and get their input on how to raise health equity awareness.

    Mark your calendars for April 18, 2018, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CT. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities will host a Twitter Chat with other federal partners on the topic "Partnering for Health Equity." Be sure to follow the discussion at #HealthEquityChat.

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 03/05/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Healthy Eating Habits for Better Colon Health

    March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. I wanted to draw attention to this subject because we hear and read about other cancers like breast, lung, brain, etc. much more frequently. You might be surprised to know that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third deadliest cancer in the U.S. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to improve colon health, therefore, reducing cancer risks.

    According to the National Cancer Institute, studies have found that there are connections between obesity and colon cancer. Obesity causes an increase in insulin levels in the blood. Increases in insulin and related conditions such as insulin resistance may cause the growth of certain tumors, including those in the colon. Since less than 10% of cases are hereditary, lifestyle plays an important role in whether we develop this cancer.  

    Here are a few tips on eating for a healthier colon:

    1. Cut back on your consumption of red meat and processed meats.

    The American Cancer Society says that your risk of colon cancer increases by up to 20% if you consume 100 grams of red meat (the equivalent of a small hamburger) or 50 grams (the equivalent of one hot dog) of processed meats, like sausage, bacon or hotdogs, per day. 

    1. Increase your fiber intake.

    Beans, whole grains, nuts, berries and brown rice are all great sources of fiber. Fiber also promotes weight loss because it acts like a sponge in your body, which makes you feel full and it digests more slowly.

    1. Cut back on the sugar.

    While there has been no study that proves a direct connection between sugar and colorectal cancer, high intakes of sugar can result in obesity. So, dialing back on the sweets couldn’t hurt.

    1. Add grains to your diet.

    The Dietary Guidelines suggest that we eat 3 – 5 servings of whole grains daily. Some examples include quinoa, oatmeal, wild and brown rice or whole wheat flour.

    1. Schedule a regular screening.

    Once you’ve made the dietary adjustments, it always a great idea to follow up with your physician to schedule a colonoscopy. This test is helpful in that it not only screens for colon cancer but also identifies precancerous polyps, which can be removed before they develop into cancer.

    The best news is, if detected early, up to 95 percent of colorectal cancers are curable, according to the Colon Cancer Foundation. So let’s get started today taking care of our colons!

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 02/21/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    The Relationship Between Heart Health and Depression

    February is the month that discussions about your heart health become most prevalent. The American Heart Association designated the second month of the year as Heart Month way back in 1964,and to this day, there are stillcountless activities and events that take place encouraging ustotake better care of our hearts. While this crusade is great and has undoubtedly saved many lives along the way, there’s one heart conversation that doesn’t take place enough – depression and how it impacts your heart health.

    According to Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, "A person’s mental health, in terms of their general health, is underestimated." This basically means that while we are so focused on getting a medical diagnosis on our health, we often don’t consider how our mental condition factors into what’s going on with our bodies.

    Depression is a condition should be professionally diagnosed and treated, however, we all can notice certain things that cause us to feel down. For example, the loss of a loved one, divorce, break-up or stress on the job can obviously place one in a different emotional state. These types of life-altering occurrences may lead to over-eating, decreased appetite, smoking, alcohol consumption and other poor habits that ultimately impact the health of your heart.

    "Other physiological things are happening in the body, including increased stress hormones, higher levels of cortisol and higher glucose levels," says Goldberg. "Taking care of your overall outlook and well-being is as important as taking care of your blood pressure and cholesterol."

    It’s normal to feel down on occasion for a short period of time, such as a few days.  Try identifying what the issue(s) may be causing your stress and/or anxiety and take steps to eliminate the source. For example, if the job is stressing you out, perhaps a little time off may be in order. 

    If feelings of depression become consistent for several weeks, then it’s time to seek some professional help.

    I always recommend healthy eating choices and exercise, but going forward, don’t forget about your mental health. Engage in activities that make you happy, and surround yourself with people that do the same. A good laugh and a great time can go a long way when it comes to caring for your heart. And remember,… your health matters! 

    Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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  • 01/04/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Northwest Indiana Physician and Community HealthNet Centers CEO Launches Year-long Health Awareness Campaign

    Organization to Mark 20 years in 2018

    (Gary, IND) — Dr. Janet Seabrook, family medicine physician and CEO of Community HealthNet Health Centers in Northwest Indiana, has combined her passion for health education and vast medical experience to launch a health awareness campaign titled "Your Health Matters" in honor of the organization’s 20th anniversary.

    Seabrook has embraced her calling of speaking to groups and organizations on issues related to health care, insurance and the steady progression of medical breakthroughs. It is her goal to educate the masses about leading healthy lifestyles and practices that promote longevity.

    "It’s hard to believe that Community HealthNet will turn 20 this year," said Seabrook. "I want to commemorate this milestone with a year filled with the sharing of health information and events designed to raise awareness on medical issues that impact the communities we serve."

    Seabrook’s first appearance is Saturday, January 6th at J’s Breakfast Club, 3669 Broadway in Gary from 9am to 11am. Citizens are invited to stop by the local restaurant to meet Seabrook and learn more about the services provided by Community HealthNet Health Centers and upcoming plans surrounding the 2018 health awareness campaign.

    "The face of healthcare and medicine have changed drastically over the past few years, and our community needs more advocacy to navigate the complicated waters of wellness," added Seabrook. "The more knowledge we arm ourselves with, the greater the chance we will seek a healthier lifestyle."

    In addition to the launch of a new website, Seabrook will be featured on a variety of radio and TV programs, craft monthly blogs and make public appearances to discuss health matters.

    For regular updates on the campaign and other health-related info, stay connected with Dr. Seabrook on Facebook and Twitter: @DrJanetSeabrook and visit www.DrJanetSeabrook.com. To book Dr. Seabrook for an appearance, contact Amanda Williams at (219) 484-2442 or AWilliams@garychc.org.

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    About Dr. Janet Seabrook
    Since 1996, Dr. Seabrook has set at the helm of Community HealthNet. Under her leadership this not-for-profit, community-based primary healthcare organization upholds the mission of providing accessible, affordable and quality medical services to families and individuals of all income levels. As CEO of Community HealthNet, Seabrook has been afforded many professional opportunities including the oversight of five locations in Lake County, IN, appointment to the local health department board. She has also served as an influential advocate for state funding in support of community health centers in Northwest Indiana.

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  • 01/01/2018 - drjanetseabrook 0 Comments
    Six Healthy Lifestyle Adjustments to Kick Off the New Year

    Welcome to 2018! It’s a year we have never seen before and a chance to start some healthy routines while getting rid of a few not so healthy ones. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they sound so formal, and we often abandon them once we have "cheated" on a diet or "slid" back into an old habit. Instead, let’s call them "lifestyle adjustments." That way, even if you aren’t always consistent, you can start over without the remorse.

    Here are 6 suggested healthy lifestyle adjustments for 2018:

    Drink more water. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but drinking water is one of the easiest ways to positively impact your health. It increases energy, relieves fatigue, promotes weight loss, cleanses toxins out of the body, improves skin complexion and much more. So the next time you start to reach for that soda, juice or sugary energy drink, swap it out for a tall glass (or even jug) of H20.

    Go to bed! Your parents were right way back then, and they’re still right! We need more sleep to be the best version of ourselves. This year, try to ensure that you go to bed around the same time and get at minimum 6-7 hours of sleep each night. It is during sleep mode that your body restores itself. Sleep has even been said to spur creativity, encourage longevity and improve your memory, and who doesn’t want that?

    Up your intake of fruits and veggies. We all know that "nature’s candies" are good for us. They supply our bodies with nutrients and can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and even early death. To make this lifestyle adjustment a bit more interesting, add a fruit or vegetable to your diet that you’ve never eaten before. Research its benefits and try it in a new recipe! Have some fun while doing right by your body.

    Exercise – Get moving! This one is a no-brainer. Any movement is good movement. Take daily walks or join a local gym where classes are offered. Mix it up by trying a new type of exercise such as water aerobics or spinning. The more creative you get with your workout, the more fun it can be!

    Identify one unhealthy habit, and work to kick it. We all have something that we need to do less of or quit altogether. Whether it’s smoking, drinking or working long hours, etc., make a concentrated effort to cut back for the sake of your health. A great way to get started is to identify an accountability partner who has similar goals, and encourage one another regularly to make the identified lifestyle adjustment.

    Schedule your medical exams. As a physician, it is my duty to recommend that you stay on top of your health. Even if you have no symptoms or diagnosed illnesses, it is always wise to get an annual check-up. So go ahead and get your appointments scheduled this month while it’s fresh on your mind. Staying in tune with your body is one of the best lifestyle adjustments you can make.

    If you are already doing any or all of the above, congratulations, you are ahead of the game. Now challenge yourself to take these lifestyle adjustments to the next level, and share these important tips with your family and friends. Have a healthy New Year, and remember, your health matters!

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