The Health Dangers Of Daylight Saving Time
(BlackDoctor.org) — According to the experts, Monday morning risks can be more serious than needing to nap at your desk: researchers at Loyola University School of Medicine report that there are more workplace injuries and traffic accidents the day after we turn our clocks ahead. In addition, heart attack rates increase by as much as 10%.
The time change is hardest on those who are chronically sleep deprived: the National Sleep Foundation estimates that a large percentage of African Americans are dangerously sleepy.
While most people will adjust to the time change in a couple of days, night owls and those who habitually grab fewer than seven hours of sleep a night can take a full week to catch up.
Here are some tips to help reset your internal clock and survive the first few days after the time change:
• Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier a couple of nights before the time change.
• Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday morning you are used to getting up earlier on Monday.
• Go outside early Saturday and Sunday morning.
• If you don’t have a pre-existing health condition, exercise outdoors, but not after 4 p.m. which can disrupt sleep later.
• Refrain from napping over the weekend.
• Avoid alcohol on Sunday night. While it might knock you out, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns.
• Eat a healthy, substantial breakfast Monday morning to provide you with energy to get through the day.
Children need help adjusting to the time change as well. Jennifer Chambers, MD, of the University of Alabama suggests serving dinner 30 minutes earlier to help reset their schedule. She also recommends against letting kids sleep late Sunday morning, the first day of the time change.
Health Ministers: The Prescription For Black Health Disparities?
(BlackDoctor.org) — Dr. Bennie Marshall has seen first-hand the importance the health ministry makes at her faith community in Norfolk, Va. She knows one of her congregants has not been to the doctor and does not know that her blood pressure numbers are very high. She knows that another one of her congregants is trying to live healthier but is finding it hard to cut back on sodium.
These faith members, and others like them, keep Dr. Marshall very involved at Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church. For Dr. Marshall, chair of the Norfolk State University Department of Nursing and Allied Health, her professional work extends beyond the historically black college’s campus and into the sanctuary in her role as health minister.
A 41-year career nurse, Dr. Marshall has witnessed the effects of high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease on the members of Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church, a primarily African-American congregation. For Dr. Marshall, helping members make the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease is deeply personal.
“As a registered nurse and the president of the health ministry, I am fully dedicated to meeting the health needs of the members of the congregation and community,” Dr. Marshall said.
That commitment also is extended to her family, as Dr. Marshall’s brother-in-law has lived with kidney disease for nearly 20 years.
“I consider this my mission field, and I firmly believe that families as well as faith organizations can play a significant role in talking about kidney disease and its risk factors,” she said.
Increasingly, kidney health has become a leading priority for faith communities as members seek support to manage diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases are a growing concern for African-American faith leaders working to provide health information and resources to their members. Some members with health backgrounds, especially nurses, like Dr. Marshall, are taking a lead role to stem the tide of kidney-related diseases with on-site health services.
More than 20 million adults in the United States have chronic kidney disease, with more than 400,000 people currently depending on dialysis to treat kidney failure, according to the U.S. Renal Data System. Kidney failure disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. Of the more than 80,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant, 35 percent are African American.
The members of Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist reflect the disproportionate risk of African Americans for kidney disease. At a recent kidney health talk organized by Dr. Marshall and the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), some members shared their family history of diabetes and high blood pressure. In one case, a member spoke about how not managing his high blood pressure for many years led to developing kidney disease and the need for dialysis three times a week for the last 14 years.
Dr. Marshall, who has used NKDEP’s Kidney Sundays Toolkit to guide kidney health discussions over the years, has found opportunities to expand the services offered by the health ministry and integrate their efforts into the congregation’s regular programs.
“I use our Family and Friends Day to provide health education and blood pressure screenings. That, coupled with materials that are excellent… easy to read and understand, have been effective,” Dr. Marshall said.
She encourages other nurses and health champions to take charge of their congregation’s kidney health. “There are so many things we can do, from monthly blood pressure screenings, to using health observances to provide tips in the bulletin, electronically, or PowerPoint presentations during church services,” she said.
This March in recognition of National Kidney Month, Dr. Marshall along with her nursing sorority, Chi Eta Phi, the American Diabetes Association, and the National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses, is partnering with NKDEP for the inaugural national Kidney Sundays event. On March 25, more than 50 African-American faith organizations in 15 markets nationwide will educate parishioners about the key risk factors associated with kidney disease and the importance of testing.
To learn more about Kidney Sundays and order free materials to help make the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease, visit http://nkdep.nih.gov/kidneysundays/index.htm. For more information about diabetes and obesity, visit http://niddk.nih.gov.