Healthy Active Living with St. Joseph Healthcare

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Hernia Awareness Month – What you need to know!

This month is Hernia Awareness Month and Dr. Pedro Gomez, St. Joseph General Surgery has some helpful medical information about types, symptoms and suggestions to follow when facing hernia surgery.

First, what is a hernia? A hernia is “a protrusion of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in the body.” Some hernias are present at birth, some come on suddenly, and others develop slowly over a period of month or years.

Some common types of hernias:

  • Umbilical (belly button)
  • Inguinal / femoral (groin)
  • Abdominal (ventral)
  • Incisional (resulting from an incision)
  • Hiatal (diaphragm / stomach)

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

  • An obvious swelling or “mass sensation” beneath the skin or the abdomen or groin that might disappear when you lie down.
  • Sensation of abdominal fullness with or without constipation
  • Discomfort in the groin or abdomen when bending over or lifting

Call your doctor if you suspect you have a hernia. Sometimes hernias require urgent medical care. An accurate diagnosis is important!


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What Is High Blood Pressure?

We recognize High Blood Pressure Awareness Month in May, so we asked Dr. Jims D. Jean-Jacques, a cardiologist at St. Joe’s, to answer the question: “What is high blood pressure?”

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a very common condition in which the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is too high. According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 million American adults (about 32%) have hypertension. That is about 1 in every 3 American adults.

For the most part, individuals with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms. For some individuals, they can have dangerously elevated blood pressure for many years without experiencing any symptoms. That is why high blood pressure also is called the “silent killer.”

Unfortunately, even without symptoms, damage affects the heart and overall health of the body. High blood pressure substantially increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, kidney problems, stroke and many other conditions or diseases.

Measuring Your Blood Pressure Numbers

In 2014, high blood pressure was the primary cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans. That’s more than 1,100 deaths each day. Since many individuals don’t know they have high blood pressure, the best way to know if you’re at-risk is to have your blood pressure checked. The American Heart Association recognizes 120/80 mm Hg as normal. Stage 1 hypertension is consistent measurements ranging from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic.

Jims-D-Jean-Jacques-for-blogFor more information, contact Dr. Jims D. Jean-Jacques, St. Joseph Cardiology, at (207) 907-1771 or click here.

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5 Ways You Can Celebrate April’s Donate Life Month

Vicki Kolenik RN, BSN, Employee Health and Wellness Manager and Organ Bank Liaison, St. Joseph Healthcare, has 5 pieces of great advice for those considering donating an organ or tissue to save another life. The two best resources for information are:

Vicki also highly recommends that potential donors consider these 5 tips:

  1. Research the facts around organ and tissue donation and decide if you truly want to be a donor
  2. If you decide to donate, register at:
  3. Inform your family of your decision. Families are more comfortable with the process if they are aware of your wishes.
  4. If any member of your family is interested in making a living donation (e.g. – donating a kidney or part of a liver), point them toward the appropriate resources.
  5. If you have any questions at all, the team at New England Donor Services is available to you – call 1.800.446.6362.

If you’d like to speak with Vicki, feel free to contact her at 207.907.1460.

If we all sign up, we can save each other -

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February is National Heart Month

February is American Heart Month.

Today Dr. Jims Jean-Jacques, cardiologist at St. Joseph Cardiology sat down with Craig Colson on WVII ABC 7 News at Noon to talk about heart health.

There are things we can do to take care of our hearts.

  1. Avoid smoking and using tobacco products.
  2. Be physically active every day.
  3. Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  4. Keep a healthy weight.
  5. Keep your blood pressure healthy.
  6. Keep your total cholesterol healthy.
  7. Keep your blood sugar healthy.

Click here to reach our cardiology team and click the video below to watch today’s news spot.



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St. Joe’s brings you Vitality and staying sharp!

As we age, the loss of cognitive function can have a dramatic impact on our quality of life. We tend to ignore the importance of staying sharp or put it out of mind for more pressing matters such diet, or exercise, but keeping your intellect sharp is just as important to your overall well being.

Watch our latest vignette from Vitality for some great tips to keep yourself mentally fit.

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A new horizon for people in withdrawal

New Horizons

For people looking for a safe place to go to withdraw from drugs and alcohol, there’s a new offering in the Greater Bangor Area—a social detox facility in Hampden opened its doors this month. New Horizon, a ten bed facility operated by Wellspring is now open.

New Horizon is an outpatient residential facility where patients can undergo medically supervised detoxification. People interested in the program must first be screened. “This is where they can come after they have taken their last hit; their last line, and they need a safe place to go through withdrawal,” explained Sarah Falvey, the director of New Horizon.

Click here to read the entire article from our Community Health Leadership Board blog entitle Healthy Region.