1. Reasons You Might Visit A Health Center This Winter

    As the weather cools down here in Rawlins County, we’re keeping plenty busy at the Health Center. During this chilly season, our health center sees a large increase in specific kinds of accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Curious as to what brings our patients to a health center in the winter? Take a look at these common reasons.

    Slips, Trips, and Falls

    Yes, one of the most common causes of injury during the winter is from falling, tripping, or slipping. We get more than our fair share of icy covered walkways and roads here in Atwood. Add the fact that it gets darker earlier in the winter, and it makes it hard to pick out icy spots while you’re out walking the dog in the evening. While a simple fall may not sound like much, it can have serious effects in some cases. More than just sprained ankles, you can injure your back, hit your head, or dislocate a joint if you land awkwardly. To avoid slipping this winter, we suggest wearing footwear with an aggressively textured sole, traction devices, or thoroughly deicing the walkways around your home. Wearing a headlamp at night is also a great safety measure.

    We also see a lot of fall injuries resulting from people hanging holiday lights. It should go without saying that you should always have someone at the base of the ladder to spot you while you’re working on hanging the lights. This helps to keep the ladder stable, and in the event of a fall, you have someone to get you help right away.

    Muscle Problems

    When the weather gets colder, some of us begin to limit our activities, or we change which activities we do. As a result, muscle injuries are very common during the winter, and they often occur in response to seemingly mundane activities. We frequently have patients come in who have thrown out their back while shoveling their driveways and scraping ice off of their windshields.

    Muscle injuries are the result of sudden, violent, or twisting motions that you’re not used to making. We encourage you to be cautious in how you move this winter. If something aches when you move a certain way, that’s a good sign to stop making that motion and to meet with a doctor.

    Burn Injuries

    As snow drifts past our windows, we all love to curl up inside and enjoy a warm beverage or a fire in our stove. While this might be a timeless part of our winter activities, it’s also a source of injuries. We see an increase in the number of burn injuries in winter because people are trying to stay warm. For instance, someone might be boiling some water on the stove to make some tea, and accidentally pour the boiling liquid on their hands. Others might nonchalantly rest their hand on their burning wood stove, forgetting they just put a new log on the fire.

    Be aware of heat sources this winter. Give stoves and fireplaces a wide berth, and be careful when you’re handling hot water or dishes right out of the oven. Should you experience a minor burn, you can treat it with cold water and a little burn relief cream. For more serious burns, it’s best if you come to see us at our medical center.

    Colds, Flu, and Illnesses

    With the cold weather comes cold symptoms. Snuffy noses, puffy eyes, and ragged coughs are all signs that winter has arrived. If your cold or flu symptoms seem to worsen with time, and over-the-counter medications aren’t doing their part in helping, you’ll want to take time to visit our health center and clinic. In addition to the flu and colds, we see other common illnesses like strep throat during the winter months.

    We encourage everyone to get a flu shot at the beginning of the fall season, but in some cases, that may not be enough. You should be diligent about washing your hands throughout the day, using tissues, and keep hand sanitizer nearby after sneezing. 

    Visit Your Health Center in Atwood Today

    Rawlins County Health Center is a cornerstone of northwest Kansas. We offer all of the medical services you need to enjoy your life to the fullest. Whether you’ve got a nasty cold or you’re in need of a routine medical checkup, we’re here to help. Schedule an appointment and visit us today.

  2. Preparing for the Back to School Plague

    Just like that, summer has come and gone and school is about to be back in session. Something that all parents are very familiar with is the back to school plague that comes back every year. If you have little ones going back to school this month, taking every precaution you can to avoid the back to school plague is a must. Keep reading for a few tips from the team at Rawlins County Health Center. 

    Sneezing & Coughing Hygiene

    Over the course of a year, your child is inevitably going to sneeze or cough more than a few times. This is also one of the easiest ways for colds and coughs to get passed around a classroom. For that reason, you should definitely sit down with your child before school starts and go over proper hygiene for when they cough or sneeze. A great way to make sure that they understand is by practicing with them so that they’re fully prepared for when they start school.

    Washing Hands

    There’s no doubt about it, washing hands can drastically affect the likelihood of your child getting sick while at school. Hand washing is another thing that you can spend some time practicing to ensure they know how to thoroughly wash their hands before eating and after playing with other children. This is something that they’re going to need to know how to do for the rest of their life, so ensuring that they know the importance of washing their hands, recognizing when it needs to happen, and are confident in their ability to thoroughly wash their hands is never a bad thing. 

    Wipe Down School Supplies

    There are certain items that your child is going to take to and from school on a regular basis. In most cases, these are the items that they’re going to be using on a regular basis while at school. Whether it’s an item that only they are using or something that they’re sharing with others, taking some time to wipe down their school supplies once a week or every couple of days can definitely help reduce the number of germs that they’re bringing home. 

    Recognize When to Stay Home

    Missing a day of school may seem like a big deal, but sending your child to school when they’re sick can do so much more damage than good. If you notice that your child is showing signs of sickness or they have a fever, call the school and take them out for the day. You can get homework for them or ask the teacher what they missed, but a simple day off can give their body the time it needs to recover and can minimize the chances of the illness spreading.

    Contact Our Team

    Rawlins County Health Center is dedicated to providing the Atwood area with the medical guidance and care that they need. From physical therapy and diagnostic testing to family medicine and emergency care, we have got you covered. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.

  3. How to Choose a Retirement Home

    Choosing a retirement home is an incredibly important decision, and isn’t one that should be made lightly. It may be a decision that you don’t want to make at all, and that’s understandable. But at Rawlins County Health Center, we aim to create an environment and a space that you would be excited to call home.

    If you’re looking for a retirement home for yourself or for a loved one, here are some of the top tips for choosing a home that you will love.

    • Location
    • Size
    • Services & Care
    • Staff
    • Price
    • Lifestyle


    Choosing a retirement home is similar to looking for a home to buy in that one of the most important factors is the location. Not only the immediate surroundings, but also the amenities that are in the area, proximity to family, kids, and grandkids, and also how fast you are able to get to a medical center. Living in a retirement home doesn’t mean that you lose all sense of independence, so it’s important to have access to entertainment, people, and services.


    In addition to independence, seniors should also be able to easily socialize with other people. Depending on your needs and desires, look at the layout of the community, how many residents live there, and if there are any community areas where people can gather and talk. This may not be on the top of your list, but if you choose a community based solely on services and staff, but there are only 20 residents, you may end up feeling lonely.

    Services & Care

    This is quite possibly the most important factor when choosing a retirement home. Get to know as much as possible the types of services and care that they provide, and if they have specialty services that you may need, such as a health clinic. Ask questions about meals, in-home care, dementia care, if they offer help with medication. Make a list of questions and requirements that you have before scheduling a time to visit.


    The nurses, doctors, and even administrative staff can have a big impact on the culture of a retirement home. Make a point to visit the community during different hours of the day so you can interact with the various staff. Ask if you can sit down with some of the staff to get to know them and ask what they enjoy about the community. And most importantly, ask management what qualifications are required to work there, what training they get, and if they offer any continuing education. The care that you receive from the staff should be a top priority.


    The price is a significant concern for many who are choosing a retirement home, so be sure to get specifics about how or if they will work with your insurance company. Ask for a detailed breakdown of what their costs include, as well as any fees. You may also want to speak with your insurance provider to make sure you have a clear idea of the full cost.


    What activities does the community offer? Is there entertainment, such as restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping in the area? Is there a clubhouse where family can come visit? Are there scheduled events? Find a retirement home that suits your personality as well as medical needs.

    Rawlins County Health Center has a retirement home, Prairie Plaza, that is minutes away from our health clinic. If you’re looking for a home that has top medical care, a beautiful surrounding, and fully equipped apartments, you’ve found the place!

    Get in touch with our team today to learn more or to schedule a tour.

  4. 7 Healthy Holiday Tips

    With Thanksgiving a week away and Christmas and New Year’s a month or so away, the holidays have officially arrived. Along with the holidays comes parties, pot-lucks, cold-weather colds, busy shopping malls, and traveling. With all of the commotion of the season and plates of cookies, it can be hard to stay healthy and motivated to make time to exercise and eat right. That’s why Rawlins County Health Center wants to get in ahead of time with some friendly tips on how to stay healthy the next two months.

    Our medical center provides cardiac health services, diabetic services, laboratory services, and more. As much as we love treating our patients, we want to keep as many people as healthy as possible during the holidays. So as you’re hopping from family party to office party, keep these tips in mind.

    Get in Some Exercise

    This is no doubt one of the busiest times of the year, making it hard to fit in the recommended 30 mins of exercise a day. But if you want to avoid the holiday-15, make it point to at least do something every day that involves movement. Take the stairs at work, go for a walk during lunch, take your dog for a walk after work, do jumping-jacks before you get in the shower in the morning — every little bit of exercise can make a big difference at the end of the day.

    Keep Eating Your Veggie

    When traveling for the holidays or going to parties, healthy fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by. If you know that you’re going to a party that night, eat a satisfying salad for lunch. Toss in some tuna or chicken with avocado, peppers, broccoli, and something sweet like raisins or dried cranberries. For a filling side, grab a handful of almonds. If you’re looking for healthy snacks, try a bag of baby carrots and some hummus. Getting in at least some veggies throughout the day will give your body essential nutrients.

    Medical Center AtwoodSleep

    It’s easy to think that you can lose a few hours a night or two during the week because of an event, but this will quickly catch up with you. Too little sleep will eventually start affecting your immune system. With a weak immune system, when you are exposed to a virus, it will be harder for your body to fight it off.

    Watch For Germs

    This is especially important if you are traveling or spending time at other people’s homes. Watch out for door handles, faucets, and watch who you’re shaking hands with. If you happen to catch a cold, be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently, and don’t feel guilty about having to stay home from an event. Staying home is better than infecting 10 other people.

    Eat Before You Go

    If you know you’re heading out to a party that will have a table full of fatty and sugary foods, try to get in a healthy meal before you leave. You can still have a little snack or dessert at the party, but you won’t feel like you have to fill up your plate with unhealthy treats.

    Medical Center AtwoodWatch What You Drink

    If you’re trying to watch your calories this season, keep an eye on what you’re drinking. Many alcoholic drinks are full of calories and then all of a sudden you’re well over your daily calorie budget. Beer, wine, and hard ciders are alcoholic drinks with the highest calories. Liquor like rum and gin are good options when mixed with tonic water or club soda.

    Take a Multivitamin

    If you truly are on the go and can’t manage to get in some vegetables, at least take a daily multivitamin. It’s a quick and easy way to give your body some nutrients to keep you out of the doctor’s office. Look for one with vitamin C, D, magnesium, zinc, and B-12. But keep in mind, a multivitamin shouldn’t be used as a substitute for healthy living.

    The doctors and staff at Rawlins County Health Center want you to enjoy your holidays! But we also hope that we don’t see you at our medical center — no offense. If you are feeling ill or need urgent care, please visit us in Atwood on Grant Street. We take pride in giving our patients the best care year round.

    Schedule an Appointment Today

  5. Nutrition Tips For Diabetics

    When diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a life-altering change. One of the biggest changes may be to your diet and how you think about food. However, with a proper plan and diet, and by eating healthily, you can begin to control symptoms and start to get your life back. At Rawlins County Health Center, our staff wants to ensure that you live your healthiest life.

    The purpose of creating a nutrition plan to manage your diabetes is to help control your sugar intake. This will also help you manage your weight and other factors, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Without the proper diet, there could be complications from the rise in blood glucose, including nerve, kidney, and heart damage. In order to prevent these from occurring, a healthy diet is a primary defense.

    Medical Center AtwoodHealthy Foods For People With Diabetes

    Healthy Carbohydrates

    When you consume simple carbohydrates and starches, these break down into blood glucose. Avoid processed bread and instead focus on eating fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, and low-fat dairy products.

    Foods High in Fiber

    A benefit of fiber-rich foods is that they control how your body digests and slows the absorption of sugar. Include foods with insoluble like beans, whole wheat flour, broccoli, pears, chickpeas, and many other fruits and vegetables.

    Heart Healthy Foods

    Certain fish will help lower blood fats, known as triglycerides. Look for fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, cod, tuna, and halibut. Other heart-healthy foods include spinach, oatmeal, berries, nuts, tomatoes, and dark chocolate.

    Healthy Fats

    You want to include the healthy fats, or monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These include foods like avocados, almonds, pecans, olives, and olive oil. However, be mindful of how much you consume of these foods, as they are often high in calories.

    Medical Center AtwoodTips For Eating Nutritiously

    • Eat More Vegetables: When putting meals together, fill your place with appropriate amounts of certain foods. Fill one half of the plate with vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli. One-quarter of the plate should be filled with a low-fat protein like fish or pork. Finish the plate off with a whole grain.
    • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have one of the biggest effects on blood glucose, so be sure to eat carbs at the same time each day, especially if you are taking medication or insulin.
    • Exchange List Method: One method for finding healthy foods to eat is the exchange list. These lists include foods within certain categories, such as protein. The foods within the same category have similar effects on your blood glucose, so you can choose one food from each category.
    • Glycemic Index: When choosing healthy foods to eat, some diabetics use this method to help. Essentially, this method lets you choose foods based on how they affect glucose levels. Talk with your doctor at Rawlins County Health Center to learn more about this strategy.

    We understand that living with and managing diabetes can be frustrating and overwhelming, but we also know the importance of having a healthy diet and lifestyle. It may be a slow start to find a routine that works for you, but with the right help and guidance from the staff at our medical center, you will begin to feel healthy and positive.

    Learn more about the diabetes treatment at our medical center and schedule an appointment today.

  6. Area Hospitals Collaborate

    Area Hospitals Collaborate as Members of Centura Rural Health Network

    To meet the needs of the people of Western Kansas, Goodland Regional Medical Center (GRMC), Logan County Health Services (LCHS), and Rawlins County Health Center (RCHC) are engaging in a formal, deliberate process for creating a future together as founding members of the Centura Rural Health Network. As the system of choice for the region, Centura Health has a management agreement with each of the three hospitals. Under the management agreement, each hospital maintains autonomy and local governance, but as a group, the network is collaborating to build a connected and enabling system committed to integrating care and enabling physicians, providers, and patients to flourish in healthy communities.

    Each partner organization brings its own unique assets and strengths to the network. By combining these valuable local resources, the Centura Rural Health Network supports an enabling, connected system, making it possible to sustain and grow high performing health care service to ensure quality, achieve better outcomes, and promote health.

    Through shared strategic direction, mission, and vision, the network is engaged in reducing costs, improving the care experience for the region, and helping people get well and stay well. Current activities underway include shared purchasing, expanding specialty care such as trauma, surgery, cardiology, pulmonary, ENT, and dermatology, improved technology, staff and community education programs, and implementing consistent, standardized best practices.

    The Centura Rural Health Network is an enduring partnership focused on keeping care close to home to provide the citizens of Northwest Kansas with consistent, predictable value and compassionate, patient-centered healthcare for years to come.

  7. Best Ways to Protect Your Heart

    Your heart starts beating at around three to four weeks in the womb and keeps you moving throughout your life, when all goes well. And for many of us, we only get one heart, making it crucial to protect it. With so many heart-related diseases (coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, etc), and health issues that can harm the heart (blood pressure, high cholesterol), we need to do everything we can in order to keep our hearts healthy and pumping strong. So, what are the best ways to protect your heart?

    The doctors, nurses, and assistants at Rawlins County Health Center are passionate about educating each of the patients that visit our medical center in Atwood. Whatever health concern or emergency you’re having, you can count on our staff to provide you with a caring experience.

    How to Protect Your Heart

    Medical Center AtwoodStay Active

    For many people, getting and staying active comes down to not having the energy and lacking the motivation to start. These are big hurdles that will take a lot of mental strength to cross, but when the end goal is to improve the strength of your heart and your overall health, crossing the hurdles is a must. The key is to start out small — take the stairs at work, go on a short walk, swim a couple laps at a pool, or even doing some jumping jacks in your living room in the morning is enough to get your heart pumping. Over time, you can slowly build up the intensity of the activities.

    Getting in two and a half hours each week of moderate activity will help lower your blood pressure, keep your weight in control, and can lower your LDL cholesterol. You’ll also benefit by a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, reduced depression, and improved sleep. So however hard you struggle getting started, keep your focus on feeling and living better!

    Control Cholesterol by Eating Right

    The important thing about cholesterol is to keep a balance between the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL). To keep the bad cholesterol down, keep an eye on the amount of red meats you’re eating, choose low-fat dairy, and try to limit trans fats, such as margarine, doughnuts, sweets with cream or frosting, and fried foods. The good cholesterol (foods such as salmon, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, and beans) works to clean your arteries of the bad cholesterol. If you’re not sure what your cholesterol level is, schedule an appointment at our medical center for a quick test.

    Medical Center AtwoodManage Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, often doesn’t have any symptoms, and can be a serious problem for your heart. This is because there is a large amount of stress being put on your arteries, which is caused by various factors, including being overweight, too much salt in your diet, smoking, or stress. Manage your blood pressure by eating a balanced diet with minimal salt and alcohol, and start exercising regularly.

    Keep a Healthy Weight

    Weight management is a significant part of protecting your heart. Those who are overweight have a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot to get results. Losing just 3 to 5 percent of your body weight can help your heart.

    Getting and staying healthy is a journey, but one that ends with a healthier, stronger heart! The doctors at our medical center strongly believe that every ounce of effort is worth it. If you’re in need of medical attention or advice, visit Rawlins County Health Center today. Our medical center is located at the east corner of Atwood Lake off of Grant Street.

  8. Rawlins County Health Center Named a 2018 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

    Rawlins County Health Center in Atwood, Kansas was recently named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health.


    “This recognition represents our team commitment to serving our community while changing to meet the dynamic demands of operating a critical access hospital in the 21st century,” said Sharon K Cox, Rawlins County Health Center CEO.  “We are fortunate to have a visionary Board of Trustees willing to embrace the future. This is the second time Rawlins County Health Center received this recognition, that last time being in 2015.”


    Rawlins County Health Center scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural provider performance and its results are the basis for many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards, advocacy efforts and legislative initiatives. The list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals can be found at www.ivantageindex.com/top-performing-hospitals.


    The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in providing a safety net to communities across America – and the INDEX measures these facilities across eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient Share Ranking, Outpatient Share Ranking, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspective, and Financial Stability.


    “The Hospital Strength INDEX provides a true benchmark for helping rural providers to better understand performance levels and identify areas of improvement. When we look across the spectrum of rural-relevant INDEX indicators, the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals are establishing a new standard for how to deliver higher quality care to their communities despite an unpredictable healthcare environment,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health.


    About Rawlins County Health Center

    The role and Mission of Rawlins County Health Center is to improve the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities it serves. Located in Atwood, Kan., this 24-bed critical access hospital services the community through cardiac rehabilitation, diabetic services, laboratory, outpatient surgery, physical therapy, wound care, x-ray, stress testing, MRI, bone density, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and CAT scan. Its specialty clinics include cardiology, general surgery, and mental health services. Rawlins County Health Center is committed to setting the standard for patient-centered quality healthcare. For more information, please visit http://www.rchc.us/.


    About The Chartis Group
    The Chartis Group® (Chartis) provides comprehensive advisory services and analytics to the healthcare industry. With an unparalleled depth of expertise in strategic planning, performance excellence, informatics and technology, and health analytics, Chartis helps leading academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks, children’s hospitals and healthcare service organizations achieve transformative results. The Chartis Center for Rural Health (CCRH) was formed in 2016 to offer tailored services, performance management solutions, research and education to rural hospitals and facilities. Learn more at Chartisrural.com.




    Billy Balfour
    The Chartis Center for Rural Health

  9. Benefits of Physical Therapy

    October is National Physical Therapy Month—there’s no better time to celebrate the benefits that physical therapy can have for your body and your health!

    In this blog, the Atwood medical center team at Rawlins County Health Center will outline the benefits of physical therapy. These benefits don’t just help you in the short term—you’ll feel much better and healthier in the long run as well!

    Pain Reduction

    Therapeutic exercises are an excellent form of pain relief, especially when they mobilize and strengthen soft tissue in the body. These exercises, paired with electrical stimulation, can reduce and even eliminate pain for better joint function!

    Improved Mobility

    It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 60—if you have mobility issues and have trouble standing, sitting, walking, or performing other normal movements during the day, physical therapy can be hugely beneficial. The movements performed in physical therapy can simultaneously stretch and strengthen muscles, improving your range of motion and helping you move better than ever before. For older folks, physical therapy can improve mobility and strength to the point that they can avoid using canes, crutches, or other assisting devices. With some hard work in physical therapy, you can move better than you have in years!

    Faster Recovery

    For high-performing athletes, physical therapy can be very helpful for recovery between games, a full-on recovery from an injury, or prevention of a likely injury. In any sport, there are certain injuries that are more likely to occur than others. Physical therapy can help strengthen joints and muscle groups that are more likely to be injured, and can ensure a speedier recovery if any of these injuries occur.

    Better Balance

    Physical therapy is an excellent way to improve your balance, especially if you’re at a higher risk for falls. Every person who enters physical is tested to see if they are a “fall risk”—this ensures that everyone is safe during the physical therapy process. Once physical therapists determine your fall risk and your balancing skills, they can use balance exercises that mimic real-life scenarios to help you stay safe in the real world. These exercises will gradually improve your balance, which can help you with everyday activities, sports, and tricky, treacherous walking or hiking situations.

    Physical Therapy With Rawlins County Health Center

    If you’re in need of physical therapy for any reason, you’ve come to the right place! The professionals at our Atwood medical center can help you reduce your risk for injury, improve your mobility, and help you live a better life. Schedule an appointment today!

  10. Tips for Better Heart Health

    As you age, the health of your heart becomes a more pressing issue—and if your family is predisposed for heart disease, the need for heart-healthy habits becomes even more urgent.

    Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to improve your heart health and lower the likelihood of developing heart disease and other heart-related ailments. In this blog, Rawlins County Health Center, your preferred Atwood medical center, will give you a few simple ways that you can improve your health and protect your heart in the process.

    Take a walk.

    If you live a sedentary lifestyle and haven’t exercised in awhile, you’re definitely putting your heart at risk. Obesity and poor circulation are both side effects of a couch potato lifestyle, and they’re both common causes of heart disease as well

    However, you don’t have to lift for two hours a day and run marathons to improve your heart health. It all starts with a brisk walk.

    Walking is a great way to ease back into shape and improve your heart health—it improves your circulation instantly, burns calories, and it’s a generally rejuvenative and enjoyable activity. More intense exercises like lifting and running put a lot of stress on the body in order for you to improve circulation, making you feel sore and tired. Waking, on the other hand, is energizing, and it has a way of clearing your head and relieving your stress.

    Ultimately, a brisk, 45-minute walk four to five times a week will decrease your risk of heart disease, increase your fitness, and make you feel better. What’s not to like?

    Adjust your diet.

    In a world with long work schedules, limited free time, and plenty of tempting fast-food options, a poor diet is more convenient than ever before—and unfortunately, it accelerates the onset of obesity, harms circulation, and clogs arteries with plaque that can lead to heart disease.

    If that sounds like your diet, it’s time to make a few changes. Even adding an extra fruit and vegetable to your daily diet can make a considerable difference for your overall health and decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease. Ultimately, it’s large amounts of sugar (like in the soda you drink every day) that are the most harmful to your heart—if you can replace sugars with healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, you’ll be in a better position to avoid heart disease and achieve health and longevity.

    Manage stress.

    Poor health isn’t just biological—it’s psychological. All of the stress and anxiety from a grueling work schedule, a lack of sleep, and other personal issues can affect you mentally, and do a number on your physical health in the process. People overloaded by stress have an increased risk for high blood pressure, weight gain, and you guessed it, heart disease—so keeping your stress in check is critical for heart health and health in general.

    So how do you manage your stress for improved health? Ultimately, it’s as simple as removing stress factors from your life and doing the things you love most. Your exhaustion from a lack of sleep can cause a great deal of stress, so why not prioritize sleep for awhile and catch up on those Z’s? If your job makes your dread coming into the office every single day, why not look for a job that’s less stressful and more fulfilling? These are just a few steps you can take to reduce your stress and improve your overall quality of life.

    It’s also important to do the things that bring happiness and peace to your life—that’s the ultimate key to being stress-free. Schedule out time in your life to do the things you love the most—reading, hiking, hanging out with grandkids, whatever it may be—and stick to these commitments. It can de difficult to get around to the things you love the most when you’re constantly thinking about work and other commitments. However, doing the things you love should be one of your highest priorities if you’re going to preserve or improve your health.

    That’s it for part 1 of our series on tips for better heart health. Stay tuned for part 2, and check out our other blogs in the meantime!