3 Reasons Why We’re Raising Awareness for Minority Health Month

Minority Health Month 2019 Photo

We’re proud to support Minority Health Month this April as we shine a light on the importance of equal and accessible health care in Southern Maryland. Here are three reasons why this month means so much to us and those who count on us.

Some Diseases Affect People Disproportionately

While diseases such as cancer or the flu affect everyone regardless of who they are, there are certain diseases and ailments that affect a disproportionate number of minority groups in America.

Sickle cell disease is one such disease that affects minorities in America, especially among black people and African-Americans. African-Americans and Latino-Americans are also at higher risk for developing diabetes than other groups, too.

While there are numerous reasons why these groups are at greater risk for developing these diseases, more than anything, these facts serve as stark reminders that more work needs to be done to ensure that every member of the population is given the same chance to live a long, healthy life.

Health Disparities Can Be Caused by Multiple Factors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines health disparities as “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health.” Ethnicity, race, gender, disability status, and socioeconomic factors can all play a role in this, and it’s important for communities to step up to help everyone live healthier.

Health disparities can come from:

  • Poverty
  • Environmental Threats
  • Poor Access to Health Care
  • Educational Differences

You can learn more about the various health differences that exist among the American population by visiting the official website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Health Fairness is Important

At University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, we believe that no one should be put at a disadvantage in the health system, regardless of race, ethnicity, social status, age, or gender. By valuing health fairness, we value all people equally, and we work to ensure that every person in our community always has access to high-quality health care.

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Add Your Loved One’s Name to the Honor Roll of Women Before the May Deadline

CRMC Honor Roll of Women Photo

Whether you’re a family member who’s looking to recognize your mother, a husband memorializing your beloved wife, or a grandparent who’s celebrating the arrival of a new granddaughter, the Honor Roll of Women is the ideal opportunity to honor the special woman in your life.

Since 2009, the Honor Roll of Women has recognized the most important women in the lives of friends, families, and neighbors. Each name added to the Honor Roll is commemorated on the donor recognition located in the hospital’s atrium lobby.

Charitable contributions of just $1,000 to the CRMC Foundation support the Honor Roll of Women at UM Charles Regional Medical Center and ensure your loved one’s name will be added to the recognition wall. These generous gifts are essential to the hospital and enable us to meet the needs of every patient who seeks medical treatment in our region.

The Honor Roll of Women committee is already busy planning the reception to recognize the honorees whose names will be added to the list this year. Honorees receive a special card notifying them of the gift, and all donors and honorees are invited to celebrate the unveiling of the new class in late June. May 15 is the deadline to have the name of the special woman in your life included in this program.

Making Your Gift

For more information about how to make an Honor Roll gift for your loved one, email foundation@crmcfoundation.org or call (301) 609-4132 today.

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5 Important Reasons to Focus on Heart Health This Month

American Heart Month 2019

It’s always a good time to think about heart health, but American Heart Month is the ideal time to remind yourself and your family, friends, and community about the importance of living a heart-healthy life. Here’s why:

Heart Disease Can Happen at Any Age

Contrary to popular belief, heart disease is not exclusive to older adults. That’s because many of the risk factors that contribute to heart disease are now being found among younger Americans more often than ever before.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking. And with rising obesity and high-blood-pressure rates among those between the ages of 35 and 64, heart disease is something that everyone — not just older Americans — should be thinking about.

Heart Disease is the Leading Cause of Death in America

Perhaps the most sobering statistic about heart disease for Americans is this: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, about 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease — that’s roughly 610,000 people every year.

Heart health isn’t just a problem that’s specific to America, however. Around the world, nearly 18 million lives are claimed due to cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, every year. And that number is expected to rise to 23.6 million within the next decade.

Every 40 Seconds, Someone in America Has a Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when the heart doesn’t receive enough blood flow. And in America, someone has a heart attack, on average, every 40 seconds.

Nearly half of all sudden cardiac deaths occur outside of a hospital, which means that it’s important for everyone to know the warning signs of heart attack. The National Heart Attack Alert Program highlights these as the major signs:

    • Chest Pain or Discomfort — Usually discomfort on the left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
    • Discomfort in Other Areas of the Upper Body — Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
    • Shortness of Breath — Can occur before or in conjunction with chest discomfort
    • Cold Sweat, Nausea, or Light-Headedness

If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Remember, the longer you wait, the more damage may be done to the heart.

High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol Levels, and Diabetes Can Increase Your Risk

Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 U.S. adults already have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, and high blood pressure diagnoses among young people are on the rise as well.

Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are mostly defined by lifestyle choices, but there are some other factors, such as family history, age, race, or sex that are out of your control. In addition, diabetes has also been tied to an increased risk for heart disease.

You’re in Control of Your Lifestyle

The most important thing you and your family can take away from American Heart Month is that much of your risk for heart disease is in your control. Following healthy eating habits, living a physically active life, not smoking, checking your blood pressure regularly, and controlling stress levels are essential to limiting your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.

If you have any questions about your individual level of risk for cardiovascular disease or want to learn more about how to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, be sure to talk to your primary care provider. In addition, we hope you’ll get involved by sharing this blog post or simply using the hashtag #HeartMonth throughout the month of February to help raise awareness for cardiovascular disease in your community!

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Dr. Eleanor Faherty is Now Accepting New Patients in Waldorf, MD

Advanced Breast Care in Southern Maryland. Dr. Eleanor Faherty.

The mission of the University of Maryland Medical System in Southern Maryland has always been to provide members of our community with essential health care services in nearby locations. We believe that everything from hospital services and surgical care to physical rehabilitation and primary care should be no more than just a short drive away. And now, we’re excited to announce that high-quality breast care is available closer to home than ever.

Eleanor Faherty, MD, FACS, combines advance techniques and a compassionate approach to provide greater outcomes for patients with breast health issues — all in a convenient Waldorf, MD, location.

About Dr. Faherty

A graduate of Albany Medical College and an Iraq War veteran, Dr. Eleanor Faherty has become one of Southern Maryland’s most respected and recognizable health care professionals. You can learn more about Dr. Faherty’s background, education, affiliations, and certifications on her profile on our website.

Specialities and Services

As one of the region’s foremost practitioners of breast care, Dr. Faherty specializes in a variety of services, including:

  • Breast Surgery
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Pre- and Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Supportive Care
  • Patient Education
  • Support Groups

Medical Insurance Options

Dr. Faherty’s practice proudly accepts most major insurance plans. Please contact your medical insurance provider to find out if your procedure qualifies for insurance coverage or financial assistance. You can also call (410) 328-7320 to find out what plans are accepted.

Office Location and Scheduling an Appointment

Dr. Faherty’s office is located at the address below (click here to get directions):

11340 Pembrooke Square, #203
Waldorf, MD 20603

Ready to learn more or schedule your appointment? Simply call (301) 609-6363 today.

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Holiday Hours for UM Charles Regional and UM Community Medical Group Practices

UM Charles Regional Holiday Hours

The holiday season is upon us, and a few of your local medical practices will be operating under holiday schedules. Read on for additional information regarding closures and adjusted hours as our team prepares to observe the holidays.

As always, our hospital’s emergency room will be open 24/7 throughout the holidays. In the event of an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

UM Community Medical Group – Surgical Care

11340 Pembrooke Square, Suite 214
Waldorf, MD 20603

100 N. Oak Avenue
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-5006

This locations will be closed on the following days:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24)
  • Christmas Day (12/25)
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31)
  • New Year’s Day (1/1)

This practice will follow its regular schedule for dates not listed above (Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm).

UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health

605 E. Charles Street
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-4800

The La Plata location will operate under the following holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at Noon
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31) — Closing at Noon
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

For dates not highlighted above, this practice will continue to operate under its normal schedule (Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm).

UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care

5 N. La Plata Court, Suite 101
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-5044

Dr. Childress’ office will observe the following holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at Noon
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31) — Closing at Noon
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

On dates not listed above, the primary care practice will follow its regular schedule (Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm | Wednesdays, 8am-7pm).

UM Charles Regional Imaging

5 N. La Plata Court, Suite 104
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 539-0345

Our imaging and radiology practice at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion will operate under the following schedule during the holiday season:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at Noon
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31) — Closing at Noon
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

On dates not listed above, this location will operate under its normal schedule (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm).

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

5 N. La Plata Court, Suite 102
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-5494

Our outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation practice at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion will operate under the following holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at 5pm
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

For any dates not listed above, UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation will continue to operate under its normal schedule (Monday-Thursday, 7:30am-7pm | Friday, 7:30am-4pm).

For additional information about these holiday hours or to schedule an appointment, please call the numbers included with each practice, or visit UMCharlesRegional.org for additional information.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Breast Cancer This Month

Breast Cancer This Month

Every year, breast cancer is diagnosed in hundreds of thousands of people across the country, but its effects are felt by millions of people whose friends and family members are dealing with the disease. It’s why we make a point of recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month every October, and it’s why it’s so important for everyone to learn the risk factors, the warning signs, and the treatment options available.

We’re sure you’ll hear plenty about it this month. So much, in fact, that you might miss some important facts about breast cancer along the way. But if you only take away a few key items this month, here’s what we think you should know.

The Hard Numbers

According to the latest data from the American Cancer Society (ACS), nearly 270,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in both men and women by the end of 2018. It also estimates that over 41,000 people will have passed away due to it. And in Maryland, ACS data indicates that upwards of 10,000 people will succumb to the disease this year alone.

These sobering statistics mean that, even after all this time, breast cancer is still among the most common and dangerous forms of cancer.

The Risk Factors

The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes that one out of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed at some point in her lifetime, but there are some contributing factors that can increase or decrease a person’s level of risk.

There are a variety of uncontrollable risk factors, such as age, sex, and family history, but the following are just a few of the things you can control that may improve your level of risk:

  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consistent physical activity

There are numerous other lifestyle factors that may influence your risk as well, so check out the ACS website to learn more. And be sure to talk with your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns.

The Real Benefits of Early Detection

Like any form of cancer, early detection is crucial for a patient’s diagnosis. When it’s found early, breast cancer can be treated in one of several ways outlined below, but treatment options are more limited the further the cancer progresses.

Although awareness efforts have gone a long way to promoting the benefits of mammography and early detection in our own state, ACS reports show that just over 75% of women over the age of 40 received a mammogram in the past two years. That means that nearly 20% of women in the age group most affected by breast cancer didn’t have the benefit of early medical imaging detection should issues have arisen.

The Treatment Options Available

Breast cancer can be treated through several different methods, and what treatment options available often depends on the type of breast cancer it is and how far it has spread. Below are the most common forms of treatment available:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Radiation therapy

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn more about each type of treatment.

The Best Place to Address Breast Health Issues in Southern Maryland

In just a matter of months, the Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health will open its doors at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion in La Plata, MD. Led by respected surgeon Dr. Eleanor Faherty, this vital multidisciplinary center will serve as the hub for breast care and breast cancer treatment in Southern Maryland and beyond.

Physicians specializing in surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology will provide compassionate care from one central location. Thanks to a gracious and generous six-figure donation from Charles County’s own Julie and Bill Dotson, as well as significant contributions from other members of our community, construction is well underway, and its opening is planned for 2019.

Visit our website to learn more about this practice, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest updates and information regarding the upcoming grand opening.

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Why We’re Raising Awareness About Cervical Cancer This January

Cervical Health Awareness Month

You’ve probably heard about cervical cancer from your doctor, the news or just someone you know. But how much do you know about this form of cancer?

Take some time this January to learn more about cervical cancer, its causes, its treatment options and preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances for developing it.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that starts in a woman’s cervix, which is located on the lower end of the uterus.

What are the Contributing Causes of Cervical Cancer?

Your doctor will be able to help you determine your risk level for developing cervical cancer, but there are a few things to know that will help you better understand your individual risk.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the leading causes of cervical cancers. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Having HIV or another autoimmune disorder
  • Having given birth to three or more children
  • Having several sexual partners
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years)

HPV is one of the most common STDs in the U.S. It’s so prevalent, in fact, that the CDC notes that most people will contract it at some point in their lives. Fortunately, HPV often goes away on its own over time, and vaccines do exist for it.

Is it Preventable?

Cervical cancer was, at one time, among the most common causes of cancer deaths for American. Today, cervical cancer is actually one of the most highly preventable cancer types in the U.S. as a result of the screening tests and HPV vaccines, according to the CDC.

Although early symptoms and warning signs for cervical cancer are rare, screenings can help doctors detect presence of pre-cancers before they become invasive cancers. A pap test or “pap smear,” as it’s often called, has been proven effective in detecting the disease before it becomes life threatening.

Additionally, HPV tests and vaccines are available to help detect and/or prevent infection of HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are the two strains that are responsible for the vast majority of all cervical cancers.

The American Cancer Society recommends that routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys should begin at age 11 or 12, but your doctor may recommend it get started as early as age 9. While this may seem like a young age to receive a vaccine of this type, the American Cancer Society notes that HPV vaccines produce the strongest immune responses in preteens.

What are the Treatment Options?

Currently, there are no treatments available for HPV, but many genital HPV infections go away with the help of a person’s immune system within two years.

Should you be diagnosed with cervical cancer, however, a variety of treatment options exist. Which treatment(s) you ultimately utilize will vary depending on the stage of the cancer has reached and based on recommendations from your health care provider. The most common treatments for cervical cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Want to learn more about cervical cancer this month? Be sure to check out our Online Health Library and visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition website for more information and to find out how you can get involved in spreading awareness all month long. And if you’d like to schedule a preventive screening, checkup or appointment with a women’s health expert, contact UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health in Charles County today.

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5 Keys to Reducing Stress During the Holidays

Reduce Stress During the Holidays

Money, time and energy. These things always seem to have a major impact on a person’s stress levels, and there never seems to be enough of any of it during the holiday season.

Although holiday stress seems to have become the norm in modern society, excessive stress can be one of the most harmful things to your overall health and wellness. But these are the five things you can do to manage and reduce stress throughout this busy time of year.

Managing Expectations with Your Family

Only you know what you can truly afford. Before anyone gets carried away with lavish gift suggestions or expensive ideas, have an open, honest conversation about what you really value about the holidays. And because not everyone in your family is going to have the same budget restrictions, don’t be afraid to temper expectations about gifts, meals or outings ahead of time.

Getting Organized

Having a to-do list for the holidays is a great way to keep everything in perspective and manage stress. It’s as simple as filling out the calendar you carry with you on your phone or just writing it down on a sticky note at home.

Keeping Up Your Exercise Routines

Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for skipping workouts in your routine. Make a point of continuing your exercise regimen (or get started with one) as usual. You’ll be surprised with how good it feels knowing you’re doing what you need to do to stay healthy.

Knowing When to Say “No”

One of the hardest things about this time of year is finding the time to fit everything in.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of party invites you’ve received, don’t be afraid to politely turn down the ones you’re okay skipping. And if you’re stressed by the idea of having to spend more money to attend expensive events, try suggesting more affordable alternatives or pass altogether.

Taking “Me” Time

The holidays are all about getting to spend time with friends and family, some of whom you haven’t seen for a long time. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of your own well-being.

Finding some time throughout the next few weeks to focus on doing what you want to do — exercising, relaxing, taking a walk, reading a book, etc. — for just a few minutes can go a long way. Your to-do list will be there when you get back, and you’ll feel even more ready to handle it when you do.

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What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Right Now

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

236,968. That’s how many women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year. What’s more, 41,211 women in the US died from breast cancer, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it one of the deadliest diseases among women in our country.

It doesn’t just affect women, either. In that same timeframe, over 2,100 men were diagnosed, and 465 succumbed to the disease.

Those numbers act as a sobering reminder of the immense and painful impact this disease has on families across the country. But more than anything, those statistics should motivate you to join with us in spreading breast cancer awareness.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the most important information surrounding breast cancer. We also encourage you to share what you learn with friends and family so they can understand their individual risk levels as well as what they can do right now to prevent or detect any signs of this cancer.

Risk Factors

Although breast cancer affects women 100x more frequently than it does men, gender is not an excluding factor in who will ultimately develop breast cancer. Here are a few key factors that influence individual risk levels:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Late or no pregnancy
  • Physical inactivity
  • Breast density

You can learn more about specific risk factors for breast cancer on the CDC’s official website. More than anything, an honest conversation with your doctor can help shed light on what your individual risk level might be based on these and other factors.

Reducing Risk Levels

Although there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of developing breast cancer, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are just a few ways to aid in prevention:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages
  • Breastfeed newborn children, if possible

You can learn more about ways to reduce your level of risk by visiting our Online Health Library, and you can also get a snapshot of your risk level by taking our Breast Cancer Risk Assessment.

Early Detection

This is your best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. By performing a self-exam every month or by receiving a regular clinical exam, you can detect any abnormalities before they develop further.

Beyond that, it’s recommended that women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year. At the age of 55 and beyond, women are encouraged to get mammograms every other year at the very least. If you’re younger than that, your doctor may recommend you get a mammogram if he or she believes you’re at higher risk for developing breast cancer. Mammograms are completed by qualified specialists, like those at UM Charles Regional Imaging, to examine breast tissue for any issues that may not be visible or palpable.

Want to Learn More?

Your understanding of breast cancer and its effects on our community don’t have to end with this blog post!

Join us for our 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center on Wednesday, October 18. From 11am to 1:30pm, our expert team will share their experiences and expertise regarding breast and ovarian cancer.

The luncheon is free, but your registration is required by October 13. For more information or to reserve your spot now, visit our website or call (888) 332-4847 now. We hope to see you there!

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Raising Awareness During Birth Defects Prevention Month

18040_CRMC_Social_Jan17_24 (2)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a baby is born with a major birth defect every 4 ½ minutes in the United States.

It’s the leading cause of infant mortality in the first year of life, and babies with birth defects also have increased chances of long-term health issues and illnesses. That’s why we’re shining a light on this important issue by supporting National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

Whether you’re expecting or thinking of having children one day, here are some of the most important things you can do before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects.

Get Enough Folic Acid
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that pregnant women or those who are thinking of getting pregnant should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of synthetic folic acid in addition to the folic acid found naturally in foods. Folic acid is found in foods like cooked beans, peas, peanuts, oranges, dark green vegetables, fortified cereals and more. Your doctor may recommend additional supplements as well.

Getting enough folic acid during pregnancy can reduce the chances of one type of serious birth defect by up to 70%, but it’s just one of the many vitamins and minerals you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough of before and during pregnancy.

Avoid Smoking, Drinking, Drugs and Dangerous Activities
This may seem like a no-brainer, but women who smoke, drink or do illegal drugs during pregnancy put their children at high risk for serious birth defects. Avoiding hot tubs, saunas and X-rays during pregnancy are lesser-known points of emphasis for pregnant women, however. Learn more about additional pregnancy dangers in our Online Health Library.

Reach a Healthy Weight
Women with obesity before pregnancy are at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy. In addition, women with poorly managed diabetes also put themselves and their pregnancies at risk. If you’re overweight or obese, you should talk to your doctor about ways you can reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant.

Work with Your Health Care Provider
Your obstetrician will be able to guide you through your pregnancy. They will be able to help you with everything from determining which medicines and vaccines are safe to helping you set a healthy diet or supplement plan.

If you’re an expecting mother or plan on having kids one day, these are just some of the steps you can take to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. To learn more about the many topics surrounding pregnancy, be sure to check out our Pregnancy Resource Center in our Online Health Library.

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