Just Three Things – Exercise

Just Three Things – Exercise

by Abby Magness, ACSM, C-EP
Fitness Director for Mission Fitness

  • Cardio
    1. Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
    2. This can be 30 to 60 minutes three times a week at moderate intensity or 20 to 60 minutes three times a week at vigorous-intensity.
  • Strength Training/Weight Lifting
    1. Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
    2. Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
    3. Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
    4. For each exercise, eight to twelve repetitions improve strength and power, ten to fifteen repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and fifteen to twenty repetitions improve muscular endurance.
  • Flexibility Training
    1. Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
    2. Each stretch should be held for ten to thirty seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
    3. Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
    4. Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective. (PNF Stretches are Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretches. This is “a method of stretching muscles to maximize their flexibility that is often performed with a partner or trainer and that involves a series of contractions and relaxations with enforced stretching during the relaxation phase. Definition source: Merriam-Webster)
    5. Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.




Smoke in the air – What can be done?

Smoke in the air – What can be done?

by Timothy Marquez, BA, RRT – MCH Pulmonary Patient Educator, Cardiopulmonary

As most of us in West Texas woke up this morning, we found there to be a certain thickness in the air, plus an aroma … components from a nearby fire. Throughout the day, the haziness in the air, along with the strong winds, blew in this smoke from the blazing fires north of us. We hold those in the immediate area of the fire in our thoughts as they deal with damaged properties and loss of life in the region that is battling the wildfires.

The smoke that has filled the West Texas air is an irritant and a by-product of fire. It contains various components such as carbon monoxide, which is hazardous to your health. Smoke can cause issues to the body of any individual – even healthy individuals. However, smoke can cause more issues to those with respiratory conditions, such as Asthma and COPD. The Asthma and COPD populations already tend to have a hard time breathing and smoke as an irritant can cause Asthma Attacks and COPD flare ups.

What can be done?

Consult your primary care provider on whether or not you need to up your dose of Asthma/COPD medications. If you can stay indoors and away from the smoke outside, do so. If you must be outside for any reason, then wear a respiratory mask to help filter the air you breathe.

Children who have Asthma and are at schools should stay indoors because the smoke in the outside air can bring about Asthma attacks. As a precaution, parents should send inhalers with their children if the medication is not already with the school nurse.

What about allergies?

As mentioned above, smoke is an irritant to the body. It not only irritates the airways, but it can cause mild to severe allergy symptoms including itchy water eyes, itchy throat, cough and quite possibly an allergic reaction.

What can be done?

If you are not regularly taking allergy medicines, but know your triggers, you might need to take allergy medicine during this time. For example, if you take medicine for seasonal allergies, you can take that those allergy medications during this time. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications from which to choose. Examples include Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec. If you are concerned about whether or not you should take any allergy medication, please consult your primary care provider.


Lactation Consultant with MCH Center for Women & Infants

MCHS Center for Women & Infants
by Candy Powell BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC
Lactation Consultant with MCH Center for Women & Infants

Medical Center Hospital Center for Women & Infants recently received redesignation as a Texas Ten Step facility through 2018. Medical Center Hospital has been a Texas Ten Step facility for over 15 years.

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS), in collaboration with the Texas Hospital Association, developed the Texas Ten Step Program in 1999 as a method to improve maternity care practices in birthing facilities. Policy development, education of staff and provision of discharge resources for breastfeeding mothers are key initiatives of the program.

Endorsed by the Texas Medical Association, the program is based on the World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a bundle of evidence-based practices proven to increase breastfeeding exclusivity and duration and reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

The long-term benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers are undisputed. Breastfeeding is linked to decreased risk for infant illness and mortality. It is also associated with reduced risk for maternal illness.

Practices that delay or interrupt the first breastfeed, that cause separation of babies and mothers or that result in formula supplementation of breastfed babies make it difficult for mothers and babies to successfully breastfeed. Hospitals’ support of mothers who wish to remain in close contact with their infants and to feed them only breastmilk helps to ensure successful breastfeeding from the start, with continued exclusive breastfeeding once they go home.

MCH has two very important practices that support breastfeeding:

  • skin-to-skin for baby and mom immediately after delivery
  • “rooming in” where baby remains in the room with mom throughout their hospital stay

Our policies reflect the importance of supporting breastfeeding through the care that we provide to our mothers and infants.

A multicenter, randomized control study found that babies born in hospitals whose policies promoted exclusive breastfeeding were significantly more likely to be exclusively breastfed at six months. Other studies confirm that evidence-based maternity practices, including “Baby-Friendly” hospital standards, improve mothers’ chances of achieving their breastfeeding goals.

Although breastfeeding is natural for mother and baby, it also requires a set of skills that need to be learned. Birthing facilities are best positioned to foster skill development and nurture breastfeeding behaviors during this critical period for successful establishment of lactation.

It is well-documented that maternity practices in infant nutrition and care have a significant impact on a mother’s initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. This means that Medical Center Hospital plays an important role in the health outcomes of babies born in our facility and enhance the health and patient satisfaction of our patients.

As the number of women who intend to breastfeed rises, families are seeking hospitals that support and encourage their efforts to breastfeed. MCH Center for Women & Infants is the only hospital in this area that is designated as a Texas Ten Step member. We recently completed a year-long collaborative with other Texas hospitals to improve our breastfeeding practices. The Texas Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative was done in conjunction with Texas WIC and the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) throughout the state of Texas. We shared, learned and created new ways to support and promote breastfeeding in our facilities. We are very proud of the work done and of the results that will benefit our patients for years to come.


MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program

MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program

by Denise Minyard, MS,CCC-SLP
MCH Rehab Program Manager for Outpatient Therapy Services

If you or someone you love have been through cancer treatments and now have problems you didn’t have before your diagnosis, there is help available. Especially if these problems interfere with your ability to function or with your quality of life, you are a candidate for the MCH Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation. Cancer rehabilitation can improve your quality of life – whether you are going through treatment now, finished recently or long ago.

The MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program was formerly known as “The STAR Program”. It is designed to help cancer patients overcome the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. The program helps cancer patients/survivors in the following ways:

  • Empower and give back a sense of control
  • Reduce anxiety and common fears
  • Provide the knowledge/tools/exercises to help with physical impairments such as neuropathy, pain difficulty swallowing, weakness/fatigue, distress, lymphedema
  • Ability to return to independent living
  • Provide a better quality of life

The services available through the MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program include:

Physical Therapy

  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Alleviate/manage pain
  • Increase strength/decrease weakness
  • Increase balance/decrease falls
  • Treat lymphedema
  • Treat sensory problems/neuropathy
  • Improve range of motion

Occupational Therapy

  • Improve shoulder range of motion
  • Alleviate/manage shoulder and upper arm pain
  • Improve ability to perform activities of daily living (dressing/bathing/driving, etc.)

Speech Therapy

  • Improve speech and swallowing
  • Improve cognitive skills (memory, problem solving for activities of daily living skills

Nutritional Counseling

  • Improve nutrition for overall health
  • Diet recommendations for changes in taste due to treatments

Mental Health Counseling

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Restore a sense of control
  • Increase coping skills

Smoking Cessation

  • Improve overall health
  • Reduce probability of cancer reoccurrence

We believe that every cancer survivor, whether he/she is currently in treatment, in remission or living with cancer, should be given the chance to heal as much as possible and live life to its highest potential. For more information about the MCH Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation program, call Denise Minyard, MS,CCC-SLP, at (432) 640-1230.

Baby Teeth and Babies’ Teeth

 Baby Teeth and Babies’ Teeth

by Dr. Robert Stanaland

Baby teeth are so important! This cannot be stressed enough. Yes, they will be “lost” eventually, but they play a vital role in a child’s jaw development in addition to aiding in proper nutrition and socially.  Here are the answers to several questions we hear a lot.

When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?

As soon as you are aware that any have erupted. Even before teeth come, you can be wiping down your baby’s mouth with a damp cloth after every feeding.

Why are baby teeth so important if they just fall out?

Obviously, children use their teeth to chew food, just like the adults. The baby teeth also act as place holders for the adult teeth, and if they are lost too soon, the adult teeth will have huge problems coming in correctly. Teeth that get decay can cause severe pain and infections. Children miss a lot of school in order to deal with dental problems, and the cost of treating these dental problems far outweighs the cost of preventing them. 

When should I take my child to the dentist?

It is recommended that a child be seen by age one (1) or within six (6) months of their first tooth erupting, but the child should have been in a dental office long before then. Expecting mothers should be seeing their dentist regularly before the child is here, so education begins then.

What else can I do for my kid’s teeth?

Take care of YOUR teeth! See a dentist regularly. If you have established good oral hygiene and diet habits, your children will too. “Bad teeth” are NOT inherited, but bad habits can be passed down to your children.

Dr. Robert Stanaland is a dentist at the Family Health Dental Clinic at
840 West Clements in Odessa, TX. (432) 332-8870

MEDICAL MATTERS: It’s blood pressure 102

MEDICAL MATTERS: It’s blood pressure 102

As seen in the Odessa American “Medical Matters”: http://www.oaoa.com/people/health/article_142b7e0e-eb15-11e6-8175-e70526b7ef79.html

by Dr. Fernando Boccalandro

In my first article I discussed the basics of blood pressure and the definition of normal blood pressures values according to current guidelines. In this second article I will address some practical tips and tricks, to maintain an adequate blood pressure control.

Blood pressure tends to fluctuate due to multiple factors that affect the blood pressure including stress, level of activity, salt intake, fluid intake, etc. For my patients the goal is to keep their average blood pressure within normal levels over time, rather than focus on one, or another individual blood pressure number specifically. Think about the average of the blood pressures as the number to go by.

What are my pearls of wisdom for our readers, after diagnosing and treating hundreds of patients with elevated blood pressure?

  1. Know your numbers:Make sure that you measure and know what your blood pressure is, at least once or twice a year if you do not have hypertension. It is useful to have an automated blood pressure machine at home, especially if you are prescribed blood pressure medications to assure is well controlled. Bring your blood pressure machine to your appointments; to make sure is well calibrated and you blood pressure measurements.
  1. Do your homework:Keeping a diet low in salt (less than 2 grams of sodium a day), a healthy weight, decrease levels of stress and regular moderate exercise (at least 150 minutes weekly), can contribute to lower your blood pressure and will make you feel better. Take your medications as prescribed and do not discontinue your blood pressure medications without discussing it first with your healthcare provider.
  1. Plan for the long term:Hypertension in the majority of patients is a chronic disease, like diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. So plan for a lifetime commitment to monitor and control your blood pressure, it is well worthwhile to prevent any adverse consequences of uncontrolled hypertension.
  1. Get the best team:Successful blood pressure management is teamwork. It is important to involve your family to help you succeed in this lifetime goal if you have elevated blood pressure. And it is very important to be in close contact with your health care professional, to coach and advise you regarding goals and optimization of your blood pressure levels over time.

Don’t let your guard down with high-blood pressure! And please contact your primary care doctor if you have questions or concerns about your heart health.


Caring for a Survivor of Stroke

Caring for a Survivor of Stroke can be a Challenge
by Karry Morris MSN, RN-BC
MCH Cardiovascular Nurse, Cardiovascular Services

Caring for a survivor of stroke or any traumatic injury or illness can be a challenge. A stroke in a family can result in changes in relationship dynamics, increased stress, role changes and financial burden. Many caregivers feel stressed and often overwhelmed with their role as an adult caregiver. There are things that caregiver can do to better care for themselves, reduce stress and have happier lives while carrying such a responsibility.

Build a team

Build a team. Accept help from others. When others offer their help, most of the time, they really want to help. In fact, friends and family often feel helpless and feel they need to do something to help. Don’t be afraid to accept offers that are given to you for help. Assign someone a specific task, such as dinner on Tuesday or taking over for a few hours so you can have some time to yourself. Most people who truly care about you will jump at the chance to participate. They love them as much as you do and desire to feel needed and useful to you.

Rely on friends

Keep in mind, that many people do not know how to act or what to say to someone going through something like a stroke. Many stroke survivors say they learned who their friends were after their stroke. Old friends disappeared from their lives, but new ones came in … and some they had not heard from in a while came out of the woodwork. Try not to be surprised or hurt by the ones who don’t know what to do, or who can’t or won’t be there for you. You are going to make it with or without them.

Take care of yourself

Eat well and take care of yourself. Watch for changes in your mood and health and be proactive to improve it. Be realistic about your needs and take care of them. If you are not well, you are no good to your loved one. If you are sick, cranky or tired, you cannot do your best to be a caregiver. It is not selfish to take care of yourself first. Prioritize tasks, plan ahead and be prepared to reduce frustrations.

Let your survivor do what they can

Let your survivor do as much as much as they can on their own. This improves and hastens the recovery process. It’s normal to want to do everything for them, but you need them to do as much as they can on their own or they may lose the ability completely. You can enable dependence by doing too much. Give them the help they need without hesitation, but let them try and achieve things on their own. This greatly reduces the chances of suffering from depression, helps them feel useful, needed and more normal. It also helps take some of the burden off of you. Help your survivor feel like they are still an important part of the family.

Be patient

Be patient with your loved one. They are often doing the best they can and they are frustrated too. Take time to communicate with each other. Even if your loved one cannot talk, they usually have a lot to say. You will learn how to communicate with each other again with a little love and patience.

Take time to regroup

It is important to have time for yourself to regroup or focus on things you like to do such as hobbies and relaxation. Keep a positive attitude and assert your feelings without anger nor being passive. Don’t let hard feeling fester; let them out. You may not be able to vent to your survivor, but it is important to find a shoulder when you need one. Spend time with family and loved ones. Always take some time for yourself to regroup and relax. Seek spiritual and medical guidance when needed.

Ask questions

Ask plenty of questions and learn as much as you can about the diagnosis of stroke. Learn about the type of stroke your loved one had. Understanding where strokes occur in the brain can make a big difference in dealing with physical and mental limitations. Learn the signs of stroke and how to prevent another stroke from happening.

You are not alone! 

Manage stress, eat right, exercise. Don’t rely on alcohol or drugs. Seek out resources such as stroke websites, social media and live support groups so that you know you are not alone. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, talk to a loved one or your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and let your needs be known. You are not alone!

Medical Center Health System Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group meets at noon every second Saturday of the month at the MCH Center for Health & Wellness. (Hwy 191 at Faudree Road in Odessa, Texas)


Medical Center Health System Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group

“Not your typical support group”




Creating a Plan

Creating a Plan

by John Douthitt

General Manager – Mission Fitness at the MCH Center for Health & Wellness 

How many times have you started a new workout program in January only to fall off the exercise wagon by the end of February? It happens to a lot of people when goals are unrealistic or plans aren’t well thought out and organized. Get focused this year and use these tips to create a workout plan that you can stick to through the tough first few weeks.

Create a Weekly Schedule: Long term goals are great, but it is also important to break these down into weekly expectations. Write down a weekly workout plan and schedule it on your calendar like any other appointment or meeting and keep it! When planning your workouts, remember that the Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. Split that into sessions that fit your schedule. You could choose five, thirty minute sessions, or maybe 15 minutes Monday through Thursday and an hour on Saturdays and Sundays.  The choice is yours just pick a plan that works for you. Add in two strength sessions per week and you will be meeting the exercise requirements for a healthy body.

Record Your Exercise: Tracking your workout sessions and progress will increase your motivation to stick to your new schedule. Log your workouts on any number of new apps for your Smartphone or just use good old pen and paper. Either option will hold you accountable and allow you to follow your progress.

Try a Group Exercise Class: Group classes are ideal because there is usually something for everyone and this is a great way to make you friends. The social aspect of working out helps people acclimate to a class, helps you meet new friends and can provide you with an accountability partner. Add a class once or twice a week to cross train and add variety to your program. Plus, on those days when you don’t feel like creating your own workout, you can just show up and follow the guidance of a group fitness instructor.

Increase Intensity Over Time: One of the biggest mistakes many people make in starting up a new exercise program is jumping back into exercise at the level and intensity you were able to maintain years ago. This is a common reason many people do not stick to their plan. Don’t jump on a stationary bike, for example, and go full tilt with a difficult preprogrammed workout, or decide to bench press the same amount of weight you did ten years ago. Doing more than you are ready for might make you throw in the towel. Hop on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or other equipment and work up to the intensity that is right for you. As your strength and endurance improves, you can increase your speed, intensity, duration and resistance and achieve those goals that always seemed unattainable.

Just Three Things

As we start this new year, we need to find a way to really live healthier lifestyles. Often times, New Year Resolutions are large in number and vast in scope. Let’s simplify that to “Just Three Things”.

Today’s MCHS Healthy & Well Blog is from Mia Gibson RD, LD, CDE, Dietitian at Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab at the Center for Health and Wellness. She recommends the following three things that will lead you to a more nutritionally complete way of life.

  1. Add one serving a day of fruits and vegetables – fresh, frozen or canned (no salt if possible).
  2. Reduce sugars- replace a sugar-sweetened product such as a beverage with water or unsweetened option such as iced tea.
  3. Try cooking one additional meal at home instead of eating out. Check out the Web site www.oldwayspt.org to purchase a four-week Mediterranean meal plan with new recipes. They have many free, wonderful recipes also on cooking vegetables and trying new foods.


Mia also recommends that you try this recipe from Kellogg’s for Original Bran Muffins. (Source: https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/recipes/original-muffins-recipe.html)

Original Bran Muffins: These simple bran muffins have a wholesome, nutty, packed-with-bran taste. Thanks to All-Bran® cereal, these little gems have fiber plus essential vitamins and minerals. A healthy and delicious way to start your day.


  • 1 1/2 cups Kellogg’s® All-Bran® Bran Buds® cereal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Kellogg’s® All-Bran® Original cereal
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN cereal and milk. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg and shortening. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 400° F about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Servings: 12

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


Molasses: Decrease milk to 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 cup molasses to KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN cereal with milk. Omit sugar. Follow directions above.

Toasted Cinnamon: Split cooled muffins in half crosswise. Spread cut surface liberally with butter. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoon cinnamon. Place buttered sides up on broiler rack. Toast under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Singing the Blues

Singing the Blues
by Dr. Krystal Murphy

Postpartum Blues or Baby Blues is a form of mild depression that generally starts 2-3 days after the birth of a child and should be taken very seriously.  Sometimes the signs are subtle, but the effects it can have on the new family are very real. Although lack of sleep, irritability and anxiety are common problems for new moms, there should be special attention given if these feelings are extreme or become persistent.

Things about Postpartum Blues you should know

  • At least 50% of new moms experience postpartum blues
  • Symptoms usually get better within a few days to 2 weeks and resolve without any treatment
  • Women with postpartum blues are at increased risk of developing postpartum depression
  • 25% of new fathers suffer from the Baby Blues

Early signs and symptoms of the Baby Blues

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Crying for no clear reason
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Trouble eating, sleeping and making decisions

If you or a loved one experience these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should contact your OB/GYN for evaluation. Starting a life with your new baby is a tremendous challenge, but know that you are not alone! Prompt treatment and attention can place you and your baby on the path that will lead to a beautiful journey of discovery.

Krystal Murphy, M.D.,
Obstetrics and Gynecology
MCHS, ProCare
318 N Alleghaney
Odessa, TX  79761
(432) 640-2491