Our name has changed. Our mission continues. Click here to learn more

April 2014

Learn how 30 minutes of daily physical activity can add years of health to your life.

Research has made it clear that physical activity is a powerful way to prevent and manage our biggest health threats: cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol. It even boosts mental health and energy levels while combating stress.  And newer research shows that exercise can actually promote learning because of its effects on the brain. From daily living to longevity, exercise is clearly a wise investment of time.

So why is it, according to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition: 
•    Less than 5% of adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day. 
•    More than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
•    Only one in three children is physically active every day. 

Our minds understand that getting a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise is a good idea. The problem is getting our bodies to follow through.  If you're ready for a new exercise regimen, consider taking these steps toward a strong start and lasting commitment:
1) Find your ideal exercise match: While some people love running outside or the challenge of a new fitness DVD, feel free to think outside the exercise box.  Check out a local bike trail, set up a running sports date (tennis, basketball, etc) with friends or look into dance lessons. Consider enlisting in the help of a personal trainer or walking buddy. 
2) Consult with your healthcare provider:  Your healthcare provider can offer important recommendations that increase your odds of making safe, effective exercise a regular part of your life. Consider your healthcare provider a vital resource in both diet and exercise, especially if you have physical limitations, injuries or special health concerns.
3) Invest in the right equipment: From adjusting your bike to finding the right running shoe, good equipment can make a world of difference in preventing injury.  Stores specializing in fitness equipment, sporting goods or shoes often employ associates who are knowledgeable in providing individualized service, fittings and recommendations.
4) Know your pain: If you're embarking on new physical challenges, you can expect to experience some soreness. Proper stretching, conditioning and working up to your goals will allow you to best manage the discomfort that accompanies a "wake-up call" to your body. However, call your healthcare provider if sudden, acute or debilitating pain or physical symptoms arise. You don’t want to work through an injury and risk making a minor problem into a major one.
5) Stick with it: This is where the real challenge comes in. 

"Everyone who exercises, whether you just started or have been doing it for a while, can run into a road block along the way," said Dr. Lori Phelps, a Monroe Clinic psychologist who has spoken about motivation and exercise. "The challenge is to keep these road blocks from causing you to abandon your efforts.  Anticipate them, and commit to working around them."

Lack of accountability, schedule restraints, a nasty cold or simply feeling too tired can lead to an "off" week, which can derail your long term goals.  You can help protect yourself from derailment by:
•    Sign up for a race or fitness program. Doing so offers motivation that goes beyond your internal drive, while completing it can be incredibly rewarding and empowering. Consider trying something new and exciting, like a mud run!
•    Stick to your bedtime. Exercise increases energy levels and improves sleep quality. So as long as you’re getting enough sleep, exercise should eventually remedy the "I'm too tired" problem.
•    Use online tools. From Weight Watchers to My Fitness Pal, online programs can both track and support your lifestyle goals from the comfort and privacy of your own computer.
•    Schedule your exercise. Don't consider it an option at the end of your "to do" list. Whether you're setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier, organizing a lunch hour walking group or working out in front of the nightly news, make exercise as necessary as any of your other daily rituals.
•    Break it down. If you simply can’t fit a 30-minute span for exercise into your day, research shows you can still get good benefit from two 15-minute spans. And do “informal” exercise throughout the day, like take the stairs, park at the far end of a parking lot, etc.
•    Start small if you have to. Experts have recommended if you have trouble getting started, start small! Make a commitment to walk 10 minutes every day. After that becomes a habit, start adding a bit more each day.
•    Forgive yourself and focus on the big picture.  You're going to have "off" days, weeks or even months. Remember, these are just small bumps in the road along your journey to have an "on" life.

Get rid of unused or expired medicines - Green County Medication Round-up April 26.

When is the last time you've really evaluated your medicine supply and storage? If it's been a while, you may be surprised by what you find...from expired cough syrup to an old post-surgery prescription, your disorderly medicine cabinet could cause more than clutter issues.

In 2007, Poison Control Centers received 255,732 reports of improper medicine exposure, and nearly 10%  involved accidental exposure to another person’s medicine. Approximately 5,000 of these accidental exposure cases involved children 6 years and younger. 
  
The medicine that was meant to help one person can impose a risk to another's health, so it's important to lower this risk by maintaining a safe and orderly medication storage.  You can do this by:
1) Ensuring your medication is stored in a secure location and out of reach of curious, young hands.
2) Regularly tidying your medicine supply while removing outdated or unused prescriptions and expired over-the-counter drugs.  
3) Practicing safe medication disposal. 

Proper disposal of Medicines
There are several common ways to dispose of unused medicine:

1) Checking with your pharmacist: According to Monroe Clinic pharmacist Danielle Liegel, "The Monroe Clinic pharmacy is able to take back certain medications, whether they were filled at our pharmacy or not.  Unfortunately, we are not able to take back any controlled substances, including most pain medications.  We would be happy to help patients determine which medications we are legally able to accept if they call or bring them in." 

For more details, talk to a Monroe Clinic pharmacist or call 608-325-3111. 

2) Participating in a community medication take-back program: Many communities regularly host medicine disposal programs. Green County's next "Medication Round-Up" will be Saturday, April 26, 2014. They will accept any medications including: prescriptions, over-the-counter and liquids at the following times and locations:
•    Green County Highway Garage 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 2813 6th Street, Monroe
•    Albany Recycling Center 9 to 11 a.m. 500 Ogden Ave., Albany
•    Brodhead Police Department 8 to 11 a.m. 1004 W. Exchange St., Brodhead
•    Monticello Recycling Center 9 to 11 a.m. 118 E. Coates Ave., Monticello
Those with questions about the Green County Medication Round Up may call 608-328-9390.
The first two methods are preferred when disposing of unwanted medications.  If necessary, follow these guidelines throwing medications away or flushing.

3) Using the Household Trash: While participating in the take-back program is a great way to safely dispose of medicine, the FDA does offer these guidelines for those who do plan to toss it in their trash: 
•    Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds
•    Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
•    Throw the container in your household trash.
•    Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.
•    Certain high risk medications that can pose an immediate threat with just one dose should not be tossed in the trash.

4) Flushing: There is a small number of high risk medicines not recommended for the trash, as just a single dose could be harmful or fatal if taken by the wrong person.  When it comes to home disposal, flushing is the recommended method. 
 
However, there is some controversy with flushing, due to concerns over reports that it may affect our water supply. The FDA maintains disposal of a select few medicines by flushing contributes only a small fraction of the total amount of medicine found in the water. The majority of medicines found in the water system are a result of the body’s natural elimination.
 
Talk to your pharmacist if you are unsure if your medication is on this list.

Corneal Transplants have saved the sight of more than 1 million Americans.

On January 2, 2014, Ophthalmologist Gabriel Schaab, MD, performed the first partial thickness corneal transplant ever done in Monroe.  
This procedure is performed replacing certain layers of diseased or scarred cornea tissue with healthy tissue from a donor. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface covering the front of the eye. If it is scared or clouded, light cannot reach the retina, resulting in poor vision or blindness. 

The Evolution of the Corneal Transplant
Corneal transplants have been routinely preformed since the 1960s, and it's the second-most common transplant after blood transfusion.  Since then, more than 1,000,000 Americans, from infants to the elderly, have experienced vision restoration. 

Unlike other transplants, corneal transplants do not require matching cell markers or blood types between the donor and recipient, which helps simplify the process. 

In recent years there have been tremendous advances in corneal transplants. Partial thickness transplants, which replace only certain layers of the cornea, have improved rejection rates, recovery times and patient outcomes. The partial thickness corneal transplant is also known s as Descemets Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK). However, not everyone is a candidate for DSAEK, as those with previous trauma or infections leaving large corneal scars may instead benefit from a full thickness transplant.

The Generosity of Many
While the gift of restored visions begins with fulfilling a donor's wishes, the generosity doesn't stop there. The only eye bank in Wisconsin is the Lion's Eye Bank in Madison. Not only do the Lions support the eye bank financially, but members personally volunteer their time and fuel to transport the corneas throughout the entire state, as well as supply tissue to patients in Rockford, Ill.
Offering Local Support

Ophthalmologist Gabriel Schaab, MD, came to Monroe Clinic in 2013 with experience in corneal transplant, and he works closely with all members of Monroe Clinic's newly expanded eye care team to offer patients comprehensive and specialized eye care services in their community.

"There are two classic groups of candidates for DSAEK surgery. The first group is made up of patients who have had cataract surgeries and don't clear their swelling after surgery or develop swelling down the road.  The second group of patients have Fuchs Dystrophy, which is a genetic predisposition to having lower cell counts despite having no prior surgeries in their eyes.  These patients can develop swelling in the cornea over time," said Dr. Schaab. "It's very rewarding to offer patients this treatment option in a familiar, comfortable environment. It's even more rewarding to witness their joy as they reacquaint themselves with a life that includes restored vision."

Monroe Clinic's eye care providers now see patients in Freeport, Monroe and New Glarus. For more information, visit monroeclinic.org/eyecare.