Boost your immune system this Fall

Categories: Allied Health, Back to School, General, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Medical Safety, Wise Health Consumer

Honey, cinnamon, ginger and lemon isolated on whiteSay goodbye to the lazy days of summer and triple digit heat…Say hello to cool, crisp morning and evening air as Fall has arrived!  Our favorite indications of Fall are here; everything pumpkin (pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie), Halloween, scare crows, corn mazes and just around the corner, Thanksgiving!  Unfortunately, the wonderful, highly anticipated change of weather often brings with it the unwelcomed cold and flu season.  Enjoy all the splendors of this Fall and boost your immune system to prevent unwanted colds and flus that make you feel under the weather.

The immune system is vitally important to overall health.  It protects the body from disease and other potentially harmful foreign bodies.  What can you do to boost your immune system this cold and flu season?

  • Manage stress levels-Too much stress increases the hormone Cortisol. If Cortisol levels remain high for a long period of time, it can suppress the immune system. Try practicing yoga to relax at the end of the day or make some lifestyle changes to minimize stress.
  • Get sufficient sleep-A good nights rest consisting of 7-8 hours of un-interrupted sleep is optimal. Sleep resets the immune system, increases t-cells and decreases inflammation-causing cells.
  • Avoid smoking-Smoking and secondhand smoke interrupts proper function of the immune system and increases the probability of bronchitis, pneumonia and cancer in the lungs.
  • Eat a well balanced diet-A diet that contains a wide variety of naturally occurring/minimally processed foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides the body with dense nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support and help rebuild the immune system and it’s cells.
  • Get some sun-Sunlight prompts the skin to produce a natural form of vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D has been shown to increase the likelihood of contracting a respiratory infection. Sunlight is also a natural way to reduce stress and invigorate the body and soul.
  • Get moving-Exercise increases blood flow, oxygen intake, and muscle endurance, all of which have an amazing impact on the amount of oxygen available in the body.. The more oxygen available to your cells improves the functionality and efficiency of cells that fight infection and bacteria.
  • Eat garlic-Garlic is an amazing broad-spectrum, antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Garlic contains Allicin, which is a naturally occurring form of anti-biotic and is used in alternative medicine. Make sure you ingest the garlic raw for maximum benefit as heat reduces the effectiveness of key properties.
  • Hydrate-Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to replenish the body and assist with the elimination of toxins. Water assists cells by providing much needed oxygen and helps the kidneys circulate fluid and remove contaminants. If caffeinated beverages are consumed, an equal portion of water should be consumed in addition to the recommended 8 glasses.

Many physicians recommend getting a yearly flu vaccine.  If vaccinated, it does not mean that you will not come down with the flu, however; typically the symptoms and the duration of the flu would not be as severe.  As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  By boosting your immune system in a few simple ways, your body will be well equipped to battle this year’s cold and flu season.

Does the world of medicine and healthcare interest you?  It takes a wide range of healthcare professionals to keep people healthy and prevent illness.  Arizona College offers allied health programs including Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting, Pharmacy Technician,Massage Therapy, Health Information Technician, Phlebotomy, and even aBachelor of Science in Nursing.  Contact us for information about starting a new healthcare career today!

What is Diabetes and how can it be prevented?

Categories: Allied Health, General, Healthcare, Important, Medical Safety

Glucose level blood testNovember is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  It is a month that the American Diabetes Association and other organizations try to raise awareness and offer support to those who are impacted by and are living with diabetes.  Diabetes affects nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States alone, and an additional 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes.  It is estimated that approximately $245 billion is spent annually diagnosing and treating diabetes each year within the United States.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot metabolize and regulate sugar (glucose) properly in the blood.  There are 3 forms of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational.

  • Type 1 Diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults and is often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes.  It is estimated that this form of diabetes affects 5% of the population.  With Type 1 Diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin, which is a hormone required to convert sugar or starch into energy.  With insulin medication therapy and a healthy lifestyle, Type 1 diabetes can easily be controlled.
  • Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  Unlike those with Type 1 Diabetes, the bodies of those with Type 2 Diabetes make insulin.  However, either their pancreas fails to make enough or their body cannot utilize it properly to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Gestational Diabetes is when an expecting mother has high blood sugar levels.  It occurs with approximately 4% of pregnant women.  It is often screened for and diagnosed during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Typically after delivery, the condition dissipates.

Scheduling a yearly physical examination is beneficial for many reasons, including obtaining a blood workup to screen for out of range glucose levels that may lead to diabetes.   Some warning signs of diabetes include: increased thirst or hunger, dry mouth, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.  If diabetes is not diagnosed and treated within the early stages, the body can experience major harm including nerve and blood vessel damage in the eyes, kidneys, and heart.  It can also cause hardening of the arteries in the heart that may lead to stroke or heart attack and dehydration due to the buildup of sugar in the blood stream.  Lastly, unregulated diabetes can lead to diabetic coma.

Becoming aware, following a few simple steps, and developing a healthy lifestyle may help prevent the onset of diabetes.  Controlling your weight, eating healthy well-balanced meals, limiting sugary foods and drinks, increasing water intake, staying physically active, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption are simple ways to stay healthy and decreases the likelihood of a diabetes diagnosis.

Medical Assistants work with physicians who diagnose and treat patients for aliments including diabetes.  Medical Assistants and Phlebotomists are trained to perform blood draws and finger pricks to screen for diseases, such as diabetes.  If the medical field interests you, Arizona College offers a Medical Assisting and Phlebotomy program that could help you start your new medical career.  Contact us for a tour of our modern facilities and laboratories and begin the journey to your new healthcare career today!

Allied Health Professions Week 2014

Categories: Allied Health, Career Services Coordinator, Dental Assisting, General, Health Information, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Pharmacy, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy

Blog12-HiresEvery year, the health care community desires to create awareness for particular health care related professions, including Allied Health. November 3rd-9th, 2014, is a week dedicated to honoring all Allied Health Professionals.  This event honors the more than 3 million health care providers working in more than 80 allied health professions.  It promotes the celebration of allied health careers by providers, educators, and allied health accreditors.

Who are Allied Health Professionals? Allied Health Professionals provide patient care, which including the medical, dental and pharmacy fields.  They work within a team to make the health care system function effectively and efficiently by providing a wide range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic, and direct patient care and support services.  These professionals are crucial to the health care providers they support and the patients they tend.  It is estimated that Allied Health Professionals make up approximately 60% of the health care workforce.

What are some important traits for Allied Health Professionals to demonstrate?

  • Communication-Allied Health Professionals communicate detailed information on a daily basis with the patient directly or other health care team members. Good communication skills, both verbal and in writing, are imperative to ensure the best patient care is given.
  • Passion- Patients and team members often observe more from body language than spoken language, so make sure your passion for your field is ignited. A positive attitude and passionate person are often required for a satisfying health care career.
  • Empathy-Understanding and relating to a patient’s feelings are important in making patients feel comfortable. When health care professionals respond empathetically to a patient’s feelings, the patient is more likely to follow and stay on their treatment plans. An Allied Health Professional who is empathetic will assist on reducing their patient’s anxiety about their visit.
  • Knowledge- Completing a degree or diploma from an accredited institution is one way to learn about work within the field. Seeking additional certification within the field of study is another way to further skills and knowledge. Completing continuing education courses, networking, joining a field related professional organization, or volunteering could increase knowledge within a profession. If an Allied Health Professional is knowledgeable about her profession, she will more likely have a long lasting and rewarding career.

At Arizona College, our programs are designed with Allied Health Professions in mind. Our programs are accredited through the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).  We offer many exciting programs that include both lecture and laboratory courses for the ultimate hands on learning experience.  Our programs include: Medical Assisting (degree and diploma), Dental Assisting, Massage Therapy, Pharmacy Technician, Health Information Technology and Health Information Specialist. With two conveniently located campuses in Glendale and Mesa, AZ, you can find a campus near you to begin your Allied Health training today!

What is Reflexology and how does it work?

Categories: General, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Massage Therapy

Blog11-ReflexologyReflexology is the application of direct pressure to specific points located in the hands, feet and ears. Reflexologists believe that these specific points correspond to particular organs and body systems throughout the body and that, applying pressure to those points results in physical health and mental benefits.  Although Reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure disease, it is often used in conjunction with other traditional treatments to help relieve symptoms and promote healing.  It is often used to improve conditions related to anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, headaches, PMS, and sinusitis.

The origin of Reflexology can be traced back to ancient Egyptian and Chinese civilizations, with evidence of hieroglyphics documentation of pressure points on the feet, dating back to 2330 BC. In modern times, Reflexology was said to be further researched and professionally documented by Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) with the publication of Relieving Pain at Home in 1917.  His philosophy was based on his research that concluded, “Humanity is awakened to the fact that sickness, in a large percentage of cases, is an error of body and mind.”  Dr. Fitzgerald also created the first known map of the longitudinal zones along the body and their corresponding “reflex” or point of contact to create a physical response and promote healing. This was called Zone Therapy. His modern research opened a door for additional professional research and documentation, which has evolved Reflexology to its current state.

To perform a Reflexology session, the therapist will begin with a consultation with the patient to document any physical ailments and gain knowledge regarding the purpose for the visit. Reflexology is often performed on a massage table, with the patient fully clothed and removal of shoes and socks only.  The therapist will find the corresponding reflex point and apply direct pressure with their thumb or fingers.  The brief pressure on these specific points allows the release of built up toxins and blocked energy.  During the treatment, physical and mental tensions are released and a state of relaxation is achieved.  This allows the body to improve circulation, reduce pain, relax muscles, encourage lymphatic system drainage, release toxins, and stimulate the nerve pathways.  Each session typically lasts from 60-90 minutes.

While there continues to be a debate regarding medical documentation and authenticity of the long-term benefits of Reflexology, many patients still turn to this non-conventional method of treatment. In fact, its popularity continues to flourish.

Massage Therapy students at Arizona College learn how to incorporate Reflexology into their Massage Therapy ritual in their course MTM 210 Spa Techniques. Do you like the idea of learning how to perform Reflexology to reduce pain and promote general well being?  Have you considered a career as a professional Massage Therapist? With a career in Massage Therapy, you could work in resorts, spas, gyms, and chiropractic offices, or even start your own business. Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.

What are the Factors of General Health?

Categories: Allied Health, BSN, Dental Assisting, General, Health Information, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Pharmacy, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy, Registered Nurse, Wise Health Consumer

heart shape by various vegetables and fruitsMany of us spend countless hours every week working out at the gym, doing yoga or recreational activities, and eating specific diets to achieve or maintain good general health. It is very likely, that most of us just continue with these rituals we have become accustomed to, knowing the result leave us feeling better overall.

We all know that food, water and shelter are required to meet the basic necessities for life. After these basic needs are met, we are constantly attempting to obtain a higher level of overall general health. In addition to diet and exercise, there are a few factors that contribute to general health that may get overlooked. Let’s dig deeper into all contributing factors of overall general health:

  • Diet/Nutrition-a proper, well balanced diet that consists of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Within those groups you can also include vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Water is also considered part of this category as our bodies are made up of approximately 50-75% of water.
  • Exercise-burns excess calories, conditions muscles and vital organs such as the heart and lungs, regulates metabolism and bodily processes, helps combat and prevent diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, increases stamina and blood flow, and increases natural chemicals in the brain that promote a better mood.
  • Rest-a good night’s rest definitely makes you feel better. When deep sleep is reached, the health benefits of regular sleep can include improved memory, reduced inflammation (inflammation can contribute to heart disease, arthritis and diabetes), sharpened attention, and reduced stress.
  • Spirituality/Religion- Spirituality or a practice of organized religion can improve one’s well-being by providing purpose, a general guideline of positive living and a greater sense of meaning amongst life’s challenges.
  • Avoiding Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs-these items are classified as Psychoactive Drugs, which means that they are known to alter the mind. They are highly addictive and can damage multiple body systems, as well as potentially contribute to impaired judgment and accidents. While some doctors recommend an occasional glass of red wine for the antioxidant properties which have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, remembering that consumption in moderation is still the key.
  • Socialization-humans are social beings and interacting with others is very important for general health. Humans have always assembled in groups and tribes while sharing/organizing responsibilities for survival. Studies have often shown a strong correlation between physical and mental health problems of those humans who are not actively social with others.

General health contains a broad spectrum of both physical and emotional contributing factors. Striking a balance of all factors is required for the achievement of optimal health and well-being.  For example, if one focuses too much attention to exercise and does not replenish the body with nutrition and rest, the body cannot rebuild itself and will most likely result in lowered immunity or physical injury.  Developing a harmonious balance is essential for general health.

Physical health can be improved by assessing your current health status with a visit to your medical health care provider (for a general physical), dentist (for your oral health examination) and scheduling a therapeutic massage (for stress reduction). Boosting your emotional health can include seeking spiritual meaning, or adding more socialization in your life.  Participating in a hobby or recreational activity, joining a small group at a church, or volunteering can easily assist on meeting new people and filling a socialization void.  Lastly, prioritizing more rest will recharge you physically and mentally.

Do you have the desire to assist others with improving their general health? Are you interested in the medical field?  Careers in Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting and Massage Therapy can be very rewarding by working with physicians and patients on a daily basis. Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our Allied Health degree and diploma programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.