April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The Association of Parkinson’s is urging everyone to “Start a Conversation” with friends, family, neighbors, healthcare teams, local businesses and community leaders.
Naturally we thought it would be a great time to start a discussion of our own surrounding brain health. So this month, we have set out to promote brain health and to discuss several ways you can keep your mind sharp and active.
Register for a Memory Screening
Early Detection of Memory Loss is Critical to Long-Term Brain Health
We know that memory loss is a top concern for many of us as we get older. You may be afraid of having difficulty interacting in social situations, or even worse, not recognizing your family members as you get older.
We don’t want you to be afraid of anything. That is why we offer memory screenings to you, and highly encourage these screenings for everyone over the age of 60.
A memory screening is the first step to identify if you have a memory problem. A screening will either reassure you that your memory is in tiptop shape or, if we detect a problem, indicate the need for further treatment to prevent further damage.
Early detection of memory loss is critical since it may indicate much greater issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Although there is no cure to this disease, treatments are available to slow the progression of the disease. There is ongoing, active research to find a cure so one day they will be able to enjoy a higher quality of life as long as possible.
If you are concerned about your memory and/or have noticed changes in you memory, we encourage you to have a memory screening. Memory screenings are free to all members of the community. You do not have to be a patient to have a screening. You can schedule a screening by calling 352-674-1779.
Learn About Our Neurology Services
The Diagnosis, Management & Treatment of Neurological Disorders
In the event you experience symptoms, such as excessive headaches, facial pain, memory loss or a stroke – after consulting with one of our Primary Care Physicians, you may need to consult with Dr. John Castaldo, our American Board Certified Neurologist.
Dr. Castaldo and his team can diagnose brain issues, and provide treatment plans that stabilize and/or minimize symptoms while offering relief as quickly as possible. His team commonly diagnoses, treats, and manages common conditions, but also has the expertise to provide care for complex and rare neurological disorders.
Headache and Facial Pain
Parkinson and Movement Disorder
Neck and Back Pain
Muscle Disorder, Including ALS, Myasthenia, and Myopathy
Attend the Free “Effective Communication and Dementia” Class
Strategies and Tips for Successful Communication with Loved Ones
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss or any other decline in mental abilities – it is truly a scary time for you and your family.
We want you to know that there is hope and we have resources that will help prepare you for the journey ahead. The Learning Center offers a free course titled, “Effective Communication and Dementia”, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association of North and Central Florida, to provide helpful tips and strategies for successful communication with loved ones suffering from dementia.
All of our courses are free to the entire community. You do not have to be a patient to attend, so please remember to bring a friend.
Did you know the food choices you make every day impact the way you feel and perform? That’s right. What you eat impacts that golf swing more than you know! In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are offering 12 free courses to help you develop sound eating habits and fuel your active lifestyle here in The Villages®.
Classes include “The Fundamentals of Nutrition,” “Healthy Eating Out,” “Exercise and Physical Activity” and our brand-new class titled “Go Further with Food,” an interactive session that will show you how to meal prep for an entire week using healthy, delicious recipes.
“By preparing foods in advance to enjoy throughout the week, we can ensure that we’re getting the nutrients we need each day to fuel our active lifestyles here in The Villages®,” says Kristen Curtis, MS, RD, LDN, a Registered Dietitian for The Villages Health. “But it’s also a way to make sure we’re making good use of every dollar, and not wasting resources. It makes healthy eating a lot more affordable!”
All of our classes are free for the entire community. You don’t have to be a patient to attend, so remember to register both you and a friend online today.
How to Select Delicious, Yet Nutritious Options in a Restaurant
We all love to indulge at a restaurant every once in a while, especially in The Villages® community. There are over 60 restaurants to enjoy in our three town squares, and even more in the surrounding neighborhoods. Not to mention, many of our social activities are held in a dining room with appetizers, entrees and alcohol readily available.
It can be tough to balance this exciting lifestyle with nutritious eating. It’s not impossible though! Here are 10 ways you can make healthier decisions while dining out, and still enjoy a tasty life here in The Villages®.
Research Before You Go – Nowadays, most restaurants have their menu posted online. This is a great resource for you to research healthy options in advance. If you aren’t sure what to order, call ahead and ask the hostess for recommendations or if they will accommodate special requests.
Pass on the Bread and/or Chips – Before you sit down, tell the hostess that you’d prefer to pass on the free bottomless bread bowl or endless chips. If they don’t bring it to the table, it won’t be a temptation for you! Even though these items are free, they can add over 300 empty calories to your meal.
Start with a Veggie-packed Salad – Get your greens and veggies in first by ordering a salad. It will also satiate you enough, and reduce the risk of overeating when the main course is served.
Order an Appetizer-sized Portion – Restaurant portions are much larger than what you would eat at home. Oftentimes, the appetizer portions are just right! Just be mindful not to fill up on fried items.
Share Entrées with Friends – If you do opt for a main course, perhaps share it with a spouse or friend. Both of you will eat less, feel lighter and be more likely to enjoy an evening stroll together later.
Take Home a To-Go Box – Another option is to ask the server to split your meal before it’s even served, putting half of it in a to-go box for you. This will prevent you from overeating on a main dish – not to mention the added bonus of leftovers!
Choose Wholesome Carbs – When choosing bread, opt for whole grains like wheat, rye and pumpernickel. Choose brown and wild rice over white rice, or vitamin-packed veggies, like sweet potatoes or carrots, over vitamin-deficient options, like French fries.
Choose Lean Proteins – When choosing a meat entrée, select a leaner option like chicken or turkey breast, white fish, or filet. Look for keywords like “flank,” “broiled,” “grilled,” “boiled,” “baked” or “braised” to signal a cooking process that limits added fats. Avoid words like “fried,” “battered,” “crispy” or “smothered.”
Avoid Creamy Sauces and Gravies – Sauces like alfredo or béchamel are loaded with heavy whipping cream, butter and salt. They add lots of calories to a meal, without giving you a satisfied feeling, which can lead to overeating. Avoid words like “creamy,” “buttery,” “bisque” and “gravy.” Instead, ask for water and citrus-based sauces for a lighter, yet delicious option.
Skip Dessert – Dessert is a quick way to add another 300 empty calories to your meal, so it’s best to avoid it. If you have a sweet tooth and can’t resist temptation, opt for a small bowl of fruit or berries to satisfy the craving.
When you take the time to learn about the food you are eating and practice making healthy choices, it gets easier and easier to live a happy, healthy life here in The Villages®.
To get more helpful tips and guided techniques from a wellness educator and/or Registered Dietitian, register for one of our free courses. We offer classes year-round to the entire community. From nutrition basics to weekly meal planning, we have the tools and resources you need to live your healthiest life ever!
February is American Heart Health Month, a federally designated event that brings awareness to the dangers of heart disease and promotes ways to prevent it. At the Villages Health, we want to do our part to bring awareness to this important event by offering ten free courses that teach our community how to take care of their heart.
According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, yet is highly preventable. “Our goal is to teach all Villagers how to improve their heart health so they are more likely to have their retirement dreams come true,” says Jeffrey Lowenkron, Chief Medical Officer for the Villages Health.
The Villages Health Learning Center will provide practical tools and tips to protect your heart, with topics covering Stroke & Heart Attack Prevention, Stress Management, Cholesterol, Hypertension and Nutrition. These courses are available at no cost to the entire Villages community and surrounding areas. You do not have to be a patient to attend a course – so don’t forget to bring a friend along!
“We invite our entire community to get involved in protecting their heart by registering for a course or scheduling a wellness exam with a primary care physician as a first line of prevention,” says Robert Herman, MD, FACP, FACC, a cardiologist at The Villages Health Specialty Care Center. “If a need arises, our three cardiologists and other specialty doctors are available to provide services to all members of our community, and we accept most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicare supplement.”
February 2nd was “Wear Red Day” to raise awareness for women’s heart health. This is an important reminder that heart disease is not just prevalent among men, but also among women. In fact, it is the number one cause of death among both men and women in the U.S.
“There has been an increase in awareness recently that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in postmenopausal women,” says Robert Herman, MD, FACP, FACC, a cardiologist at The Villages Health Specialty Care Center. “We have seen an increasing number of women seek care and treatment in our cardiology clinics over the past few years for symptoms suggestive of coronary artery disease.”
Here are 11 red flags that could signal a heart attack in women:
Breathing Difficulties – Shortness of breath is a common and very frightening precursor to a heart attack if you’re a woman. It may come on suddenly and without warning (i.e., not following physical activity), for no apparent reason. Imagine gasping for air like you’ve just run up a few flights of stairs, but when you’re sitting stationary.
Heavy Perspiration – You might break out into a cold-clammy sweat when you have to present at a company meeting. However, many women suffering a heart attack start perspiring without any stressors present. The problem is that women often mistake this as a hot flash or blame it on their menstrual cycle.
Disrupted Sleep – Women who’ve suffered a heart attack often recall waking up in the middle of a deep sleep unable to catch their breath. This form of sleep apnea can occur during a heart attack, compressing the upper airway and robbing the heart of essential blood flow.
Exhaustion – We all experience exhaustion when we burn the candle at both ends—taking care of everyone else, but ourselves. Heart attacks are sneaky in this regard, zapping women of energy, even when they’ve been getting adequate sleep and eating right.
Stomach Cramps – Abdominal pain that is often shrugged off with the statement, “It must be something I ate!” often ends in a heart attack for unsuspecting women. So what you might brush off as heartburn or a nasty intestinal bug (i.e., food poisoning), may actually be a more sinister heart issue.
Sharp Upper Body Pain – While men may feel “the weight of an elephant” sitting on their chests—heart attacks for women often cause sharp pains in the upper body. It’s common for women to complain of sharp, shooting pain or dull, gradually mounting pain in the neck, upper arms, or jaw. Regardless, the pain can be so strong that it rouses you from sleep.
Jaw Pain – Although it is rare, a red flag for a heart attack is a sore jaw. This is because when there is a problem with our heart, the nerves in that general area react – which is why we feel pain in areas other than the direct area. But because the jaw is not located in the chest, it is often another overlooked symptom for heart-related problems.
Rapid Heart Rate – An intensely rushing heartbeat will commonly accompany feelings of intense anxiety and sweating in women suffering a heart attack. You might think you’re having an anxiety attack, because it strikes suddenly, your heart overexerting, during a non-stressful endeavor.
Chest Pain – While the crushing chest pain that men experience during a heart attack is less intense for women, chest pain can still occur leading up to and during a heart attack. Although instead of pain, women feel tight discomfort that is commonly described as a full feeling across the entire chest, not solely on the left side of the chest.
Nausea – Nausea can happen for many reasons and is not a common symptom or red flag that comes to mind when we think of heart attacks. However, nausea can occur a few days before having a heart attack. And because the heart attack doesn’t happen shortly after, it often just gets chalked up to what we ate.
Pain in Either Arm – Many of us have heard that when you are having a heart attack, you might feel a sharp pain in your left arm. Well for women, they can experience this sharp pain in either arm. So whether you feel a strong pain in one arm or the other, you should get it looked at immediately, especially when felt with other heart attack-related symptoms.
“Prevention of disease requires identifying and reducing reversible risk factors that we know contribute to the development of the disease. This means set goals to eliminate smoking, maintain an ideal body weight, check cholesterol levels and treat when abnormal, check blood pressure and treat when abnormal, and perform aerobic exercise several times per week,” says Dr. Herman.
If you experience any of the above symptoms that resolve within a few minutes, immediately call your care center (or medical provider) for assistance to guide you on next steps. If symptoms persist or worsen, immediately call 911.
As we reflect upon 2017, we are grateful for patients like you and inspired by our physicians and staff. Every year we get one step closer to achieving our vision of becoming America’s Healthiest Hometown® – and we are so thankful you are a part of it.
Realizing that vision is no small task. It takes a team of warm and compassionate people to care deeply for you and provide the life changing services you deserve. To meet your growing needs, we opened the new Brownwood Care Center and welcomed eight new physicians, seven new Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants, our fifth Audiologist and our fourth Behavioral Health Therapist. All total, we added 76 new Villages Health team members to our family of over 400 physicians and staff.
We are wholeheartedly committed to living out our mission through service, stewardship, quality and innovation. We are thankful that you consistently give us greater than 98% top box satisfaction ratings. We are also ranked the #1 Physician Group in North and Central Florida by United Healthcare* and perform within the top 1% nationally for Quality Care.
Empowering the entire Villages community to live their healthiest life is our ultimate goal. We are proud to report that our Learning Center provided 2,533 complimentary educational resources to over 11,000 individuals, and our diabetes program added national recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to its list of American Diabetes Association accolades.
In 2018, we will break ground on the Center for Advanced Healthcare, a 285,000-square-foot, multi-specialty, state-of-the-art facility connected to a 150-room hotel and conference center – scheduled to open in the spring of 2020. This new facility will provide comfort and convenience to specialty care appointments, outpatient surgery and other critical services.
There is no doubt that the steps we make in 2018 will take us even closer to our vision of becoming America’s Healthiest Hometown.
Thank you for being our patient.
**UnitedHealthcare measured the performance of The Villages Health with The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), a tool developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) that’s used by more than 90 percent of America’s health plans to measure the level of care and service.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women, but also one of the most preventable? That’s right! There are lots of ways to protect your heart against cardiovascular disease and stay happy and healthy.
The entire month of February is American Heart Health Month, and we will do our part to raise awareness.
Here are four ways you can protect your heart and the heart of others this month:
Join us in wearing red on Friday, February 2nd for National Wear Red Day for Women to Prevent Heart Disease.
With the start of the New Year, like many of us, you have resolved to live a healthier lifestyle. But sticking to those new lifestyle changes is not always easy. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get stronger, or just feel better – we are here for you!
The Learning Center offers complimentary courses as a part of your care plan designed to help you reach your health goals. Plus, it’s always easier to stay on track when you have someone by your side. Don’t forget to invite a spouse, neighbor or friend to join you. These courses are available at no cost to the entire community, so feel free to invite anyone you believe will benefit.
Healthy Courses for New Year Resolutions in January and February
Fundamentals of Nutrition
Tuesday, January 30 at 10:00 AM
Belleview Register Now >>