When health is put on the back burner, everyone suffers

February 1 – It’s important in this day and age, with all the stress we deal with on a daily basis, to keep our health care on the top of the list of priorities.

Nikki Sommer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM to discuss Medical Matters.

Work can be a stress in our lives.

Sommer said, “We have a culture where we just can’t say no to work. I don’t know where that started, but it seems to be getting worse where health is put on the back burner.”

Pain anywhere that does not go away despite any type of treatment needs to be monitored.

Sommer said, “If you have pain in certain places, you need to consider it a danger to your health if you do not treat it.”

The key issues to watch for are chest pain, headache, pain with nausea and vomiting, nausea and vomiting that doesn’t stop, abdominal pain or fever.

Sommer said, “Those are things that you need to address, don’t ignore.”

Waiting too long with chronic pain can turn it into an emergency fairly quickly.

Sommer said, “Sometimes it becomes so emergent that you do need to seek emergent care and then there’s a delay in that because there’s ‘I don’t want to go to the ER,’ but if it’s something that you need to do, you just need to bite the bullet and go.”

Don’t put it off. The warning signs are there for a reason and your body is trying to tell you something.

A lack of sleep can also exasperate problems. Work can be a cause of that.

Sommer said, “A lot of times people work over eight hours a day. It used to be eight hours was the normal work day and you talk to people and you find oh I had to stay late at work. I worked ten to 12 hours. I have all this stuff to do. There’s a hard work/life balance. It’s not uncommon to talk to people and you hear them say, oh I got four hours of sleep last night. Oh, I got three hours of sleep last night. I’m just going to have some more coffee.”

It’s particularly tough when a person works two or three jobs.

Sommer said, “Over the years, this is just me noticing how many more energy drinks are on the market in the last 20 years. Which are the worst things for you. The worst. They probably have double, some of them might even have triple the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. If you drink coffee and you have those energy drinks, you’re taxing your body a lot.”

Enough rest is a much better solution for fatigue than energy drinks.

Stress reduction can be accomplished.

Sommer said, “If there’s a hobby or something you enjoy, incorporate that into your lifestyle and it is okay to say no if you know that saying yes is going to push you over the edge.”

Depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate can all be caused by stress.

Burnout is a real thing.

Sommer said, “It’s a huge issue. It’s everywhere. The teaching profession is another one that’s suffering from work burnout.”

Signs of burnout include indecision, depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Sommer said, “Everybody gets vacation. You should take your vacation whether you can take a really big trip to Europe or if you just need to take some down time.”

Interestingly, people will take an afternoon off to get their car fixed, but they won’t take an afternoon off to get themselves fixed.

Sommer agreed, “I hear excuses all the time and it’s scary because I feel like more and more it’s becoming a culture to say no to your health and say yes to everything else.”

People will even take their pet to the vet before they will take themselves to the doctor.

When making an appointment with your doctor, remember to have patience.

Sommer said, “You need to be a little flexible. Obviously, if you call our office, we will give you the first appointment available. If it’s an emergency, we will try and get you in.”

Even if a doctor’s office can’t get an appointment for three months, take the appointment.

Sommer said, “Because nine times out of ten they’re going to call you to bring you in sooner. But when you say no to three months out, you’re left with nothing. So it’s better to take the appointment and see if they’ll call you in sooner. Otherwise you don’t have anything. It just prolongs your care and that’s not what we want. We want you to get the care you need in a good amount of time.”

Your health should be your biggest investment.

Sommer said, “Everybody has bills and I understand that, but if you get so sick that you can’t go to work, then you can’t pay your bills, either. You are entitled to be able to take care of yourself. Treat your health like a Picasso. It’s priceless.”