Ignoring high blood pressure can be deadly

Family practice provider J.D. Eiman, PA-C shares insight about high blood pressure and why it’s something you shouldn’t ignore: 

Blood pressure is an important measurement of health.  When the pressure reading is high, it is given the medical term “hypertension.” Hypertension has few symptoms unless extremely high and so that is why it is routinely checked for at a medical office. It is important to diagnose it early, for better health outcomes.

Many people do not realize that uncontrolled high blood pressure is an important risk factor for a heart attack or stroke (think brain attack). So in other words, the two most important organs in your body – your heart and brain are at risk for the most damage. While many people either live or die with a heart attack, with a stroke there are many levels of disability that occur with damage to the brain. Strokes can leave a person paralyzed, unable to communicate or with difficulty swallowing to name just a few. How terrible to think that these outcomes can be avoided with a little medication to control blood pressure!

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There are many different things that can impact your blood pressure that vary from person to person:  older age, race, being overweight, family history, too much salt in your diet, drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough exercise, having diabetes or high cholesterol, and even having low Vitamin D.

There are over 50 different medications and more combinations of those drugs, giving medical providers a multitude of ways to counteract all the different causes of elevated pressure. Sometimes it takes some experimentation to find the right combination for an individual patient, but it is worth the work. If you are diagnosed with hypertension, remember to take your medication and monitor your pressure at home, to help your medical team providing your care.

Next time you see a free blood pressure machine, sit down and see how you are doing. And always ask when you are in the clinic what your results are, so that you can be heart and brain healthy. Remember, as medical professionals, we are here to help, but your health is up to you!


J.D. Eiman, PA-C is a physicians assistant at the OCH of Gravette Clinic. J.D. sees patients of all ages for primary care needs and is also certified to perform DOT physicals. She received her education and training from Texas A&M University and Harding University and is currently a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Arkansas Association of Physician Assistants, Christian Medical and Dental Association/Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants and the California Association of Physician Assistants. To contact J.D. at the clinic, call (479) 787-5221.

How to make age appropriate resolutions for your children

IMG_9835If you’re like many individuals, you started the year off with a New Year’s resolution (or two). Now that January is over, take a moment to evaluate your progress. Are you still sticking to your goal? What positive changes have you noticed? If you didn’t stick with it, do you still have a desire to make a change?

If you answered yes to this last question, it’s not to late to start (or restart). OCH psychologist Dr. Erin Golden reminds us that resolutions are difficult to keep because, more often than not, we set ourselves up for failure from the beginning. It’s not too late to start again and make healthy resolutions for you or your family.

Here are three ways in which you can realistically integrate resolutions back in to your and your child’s life:

In helping your child set a resolution, keep in mind that it should be realistic, positive, and age appropriate. Also, keep in mind that children, especially younger children, will need assistance in setting goals for themselves.

Be Realistic:

Parents can start by helping set reasonable expectations. A good resolution should be specific, positive, future-focused and only just challenging enough. While working toward good grades in math, eating more fruits and vegetables, learning how to knit a scarf, reading 10 books in five months are all admirable goals, they can be difficult to achieve. Parents need to strike a balance between concrete plans and the need to be spontaneous.

Take a fresh sheet of paper and have your child write down his or her top three resolutions, leaving a large space between each one for inserting smaller steps. Help your child make them realistic and age-appropriate. Be concrete, specific, and manageable. As is with adults, vague but good-sounding resolutions don’t make for change. For example, ‘I will behave better’ is too general and will be forgotten quickly. Encourage goals that are within their reach, so they don’t get discouraged. Some realistic resolutions for children might be “I’m going to keep my room neater,” “I’m going to be a better friend,” “I’m going to read more,” or “I’m going to get better at tennis.” Even these are broad resolutions that need to be broken down into doable, step-by-step pieces.

Stay Positive:

If adults put resolutions in a punishing, preachy way, children will be turned off. Start by going over the positive things your children accomplished last year. Instead of pointing out shortcomings, be the historian of their previous successes. Point to the bright spot where they’re doing something well. Have them think of things they can do now that they couldn’t do last year.

For example, perhaps your 10-year-old taught themselves to play a difficult song on the piano. Did that success come about because he pushed himself a little harder? Remind him how far that little bit of extra effort took him. Ask your child, “How can you transfer your success on the piano to something else?” You’ve set the stage. Next, look ahead and ask, “What are some of the great things you want to do this year? What do you want to improve? What will make your life better and happier?”

Offer Suggestions:

The big question parents have at this point: Should you make resolutions for your child? Most experts say no. You can guide and suggest general categories for change, help your child clarify goals, and make sure they’re age-appropriate, but children should come up with resolutions themselves. This is how they take ownership of their goals and learn to plan.

The first step is to listen – Ask them what they want for themselves. If it is your agenda that’s driving the conversation, you are not really listening. Still, most children need a little guidance. Come up with three or four broad categories — such as personal goals, friendship goals, helping goals, and school goals — and let them fill in the specifics. You may ask your child: “Are there things that you could do better or differently? For instance, how should you take care of yourself or treat other people?” If they draw a blank, you could offer some examples, such as being nicer to siblings, sharing better with friends, or helping more at home.

What is Age Appropriate?

It is also important help children chose resolutions that are tailored to their age. For the 10 and younger crowd, it’s about keeping it simple and applying resolutions in bite-size chunks. Set one to no more then three resolutions at a time so a child can actually complete them and reap the rewards of resolutions that include feeling successful, proud or healthy. Younger children also may require some changes in their resolutions on the fly to make the resolution clearer or easier to do. Parents need to reassure children that this is OK, and does not mean they have failed, but they have learned a valuable lesson about themselves.

Children ages 7-12 are at the ideal stage to learn to make resolutions but this does not stop children of all ages from making, and keeping!, good resolutions. Children are beginning to be mindful and to understand others’ perspectives. They’re doing more independently, and they’re starting to open up to broader goals of how to become their best selves.

For children 11 and older, resolutions can provide a way to take inventory and find a balance between what’s healthful, fun, and necessary versus what may not be necessary or productive, such as signing up for five after-school programs just to build up a résumé for college. Because they are older, these children should be able to come up with specific, clear and achievable resolutions. At the same time, adolescents may be so busy they often forgo chances to just have fun, play, and develop ways to manage their stress. Stress reduction is important at that age, so resolutions could focus on finding ways to manage it on a daily basis, like listening to music, keeping a journal, or going for a run.

goldenErin Golden, PsyD is a psychologist at OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa and at OCH Polk County Clinic in Bolivar. She offers evaluation and counseling for adult and pediatric patients. Dr. Golden worked as a psychologist in Arkansas since 2011. She received her education from the University of Michigan and the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. Dr. Golden is currently a member of the Missouri Association of Play Therapists and the American Psychological Association. Visit http://www.OCHonline.com to schedule an appointment.

Five things Arkansas residents need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace

OCH is joining the state-wide effort to help educate and enroll Arkansans in a quality and affordable health insurance before the February 15 deadline. certified application counselor gravette ar

Here are five of the most important things residents should know about when buying insurance on the marketplace:

  1. IT’S NOT AS PRICEY AS YOU THINK: The Marketplace helps uninsured people find affordable health coverage. Estimate your premium here: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/
  2. EXEMPTIONS EXIST: Consumers are required to have health coverage in 2015 or you may pay a penalty fee.  However, you may qualify for an exemption or a special enrollment period. Find out if you are exempt here: https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/
  3. PENTALTIES ARE EXPENSIVE: In 2015, penalties will be $325 per person, or 2% of your income (whichever is higher). Ouch!
  4. YOU MAY ALREADY BE COVERED AND NOT KNOW IT. You’re considered covered if you have Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, any plan you bought yourself, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage.
  5. TIME IS RUNNING OUT! The Marketplace Open Enrollment deadline for 2015 coverage is February 15, 2015, unless you qualify for an exemption or special enrollment period.

Have questions, or need assistance enrolling?  OCH of Gravette has local, trained enrollment staff (CAC’s) on hand in Gravette, Ark. to address questions and assist with enrollment before the Feb. 15 deadline.


Call Melissa at 479-344-6724 or email ARmarketplaceinfo@ochonline.com to ask questions, set up an appointment or sign up! Ozarks Community Hospital is located at 1101 S. Jackson Street SW in Gravette, Ark.

Six ways to avoid a slip and trip at work

No one is immune to falling; especially in the winter months when bad weather leads to slick roads and icy conditions. Whether you are headed to work or out shopping for last minute gifts, OCH Occ Med Clinic provider Laura Clark, FNP has a few safety tips to keep you on your feet and off the ground:

It has happened to most of us: we become distracted and end up tripping, slipping, or falling. These quick slip ups can lead to more than a hurt ego; sometimes ranging from bruises to fractures and in the worst cases, these injuries can even cause permanent disabilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, trips, slips and fall incidents make up the vast majority of industry (at work) accidents. In 2014, more than three million workplace injuries were reported. Here’s a breakdown of what that means:

  • Approximately 25% of reported injury claims involved trips, slips & falls
  • 15% of all accidental deaths per year were because of trips, slips & falls
  • About 65% of all work days lost due to these types of injuries

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While the statistics may be daunting, the good news is that these injuries are highly avoidable. Any employee or individual can take steps to prevent a fall. Here are a few guidelines to help in creating a safer work environment:

  1. Educate yourself (or your staff) regularly on safety protocols.
  2. Ensure your work areas have proper lighting.
  3. Always be alert and aware of surroundings.
  4. Keep your work area uncluttered and clean work area.
  5. Eliminate wet and/or slippery surfaces.
  6. Wear appropriate footwear.

Bottom line: Plan ahead and be safe! By following these simple steps, you can save yourself (and employees) lots of physical and emotional stress.

occ med laura clarkLaura Clark, FNP is a lead provider for the OCH Occupational Medicine program which launched in November 2014 at the OCH Evergreen Clinic in north Springfield. OCH Occupational Medicine offers same day appointment services including employer physicals, minor burn and laceration treatment, fracture care, treatment of sprains and strains, Department of Transportation physicals, vaccinations, sleep studies, tuberculosis tests and basic eye exams. The program also includes access to on-site physical therapy, lab, radiology, pulmonary function testing and EKG services; as well as coordinated after-hours care for work comp patients via the OCH Emergency Room. For more information, visit: http://ochonline.com/patients/services/occ-med/


Loss and the holidays

Annual holidays can be a very difficult time for people who have experienced the death of a loved one. Holidays force us to realize how much our lives have been changed by loss. This can be particularly difficult for children because the magic of the holidays is usually more exciting for children than for adults. While adults can play an important role in helping children grieve, the more that children are actively involved in their own grief process, the greater the opportunity for healing. If your child or a child you know are mourning a loss of a loved one this year, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  1. After a death, the best way to find out what the kids would find most comforting and meaningful for each holiday is to ask them. This sounds simple, but you would be surprised at how often it is overlooked. Children often take their lead from adults. How you are handling things can determine in part, how they will handle things. However, their grief reactions can often be expressed as anger in children. They may say things or act in ways that can be hurtful. This is extremely difficult to handle if they were directed toward you, especially when your emotions can be stretched to the limits by your own grief. Young children may not be able to verbalize their feelings and needs. Having children draw how they feel can help express those things that are hard for them to express verbally. Be specific with good memories. With teenagers, all those dynamics that make it difficult for adults to communicate with them under normal circumstances are intensified while grieving so instead of drawing as with younger children, teens may chose to write down what they are feeling and what they need.
  1. Have fun. Children need to take breaks in their grieving. In other words they will not grieve continuously, every day, all day long. Let them laugh and kid around. It is okay to laugh. Laughter releases good endorphins in the brain.
  1. Special mementos. Let them have a photo or small memento to carry with them. It helps them feel close. During the holidays, allow the children to keep pictures of their loved one from past holidays. Visit about how the holidays will be different but also how some traditions will be the same. Allow the children to have a loved one’s shirt or other article of clothing to sleep in. You can even spray the item with perfume or aftershave that smells like their loved one.
  1. Keep some routine but accept changes. Remember your children’s world may be in chaos; they need structure (e.g., wake-up times, bed, meal, school, homework and television times). Christmas can be especially hard as they watch other families celebrate and as everyone’s schedules tend to be interrupted over the holidays. While routines are important some changes will have to be made. Allow children to help make decisions about holiday plans. Children will feel like they have more control over the situation when they help make decisions, even small ones.
  1. Create a new tradition or ritual that accommodates your situation. Some people find comfort in the old traditions. Others find them unbearably painful. Discuss with your family the activities you want to include or exclude this year. Some examples of new rituals and traditions that you can include the children in include:
  • Announce beforehand that someone different will carve the turkey.
  • Create a memory box. You could fill it with photos of your loved one or written memory notes from family members and friends. Young children could include their drawings in the memory box.
  • Make a decorative quilt using favorite colors, symbols or images that remind you of the person who died.
  • Light a candle in honor of your absent loved one.
  • Put a bouquet of flowers on your holiday table in memory of your loved one.
  • Visit the cemetery and decorate the memorial site with holiday decorations.
  • Have a moment of silence during a holiday toast to honor your loved one.
  • Place a commemorative ornament on the tree.
  • Write a poem about your loved one and read it during a holiday ritual.
  • Play your loved one’s favorite music or favorite game.
  • Plan a meal with your loved ones’ favorite foods.

goldenErin Golden, PsyD is a psychologist at OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa. She offers evaluation and counseling for adult and pediatric patients. Dr. Golden worked as a psychologist in Arkansas since 2011. She received her education from the University of Michigan and the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. Dr. Golden is currently a member of the Missouri Association of Play Therapists and the American Psychological Association.

The good and bad of cholesterol

Cholesterol is often negatively portrayed in eyes of the public, but it’s not all bad! Everyone needs cholesterol to live; and it is both good and necessary, in the right quantity, much like everything else in our bodies.

Cholesterol is important for brain and nerve function and is the building block of all our hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. However, cholesterol does have a downside. Because it is a waxy substance, it can build up in blood vessels and cause lots of problems with heart, brain and arteries. This can lead to high blood pressure and even erectile dysfunction.

Here’s what you need to know about testing and risk factors to help maintain a healthy level cholesterol:

Although healthcare providers test for cholesterol levels if patients have high blood pressure or issues with their heart, it is recommended that individuals start testing cholesterol levels between the ages of 25 to 35 years (for men) and ages 35 to 45 years (for females).

Testing is usually done first thing in the morning, prior to an 8 hour period without eating, or “fasting lipid panel.” Tests measure total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipids and high-density lipids. Here are a few ideal measurements:

  • Total cholesterol should be below 200.
  • Triglycerides should be less than 150.
  • Low density lipids (LDL) are known as “lousy” lipids and should be low. High density lipids (HDL) are “happy” lipids and are beneficial when they are up. Note: HDL’s help clean up when there is excess cholesterol in the blood, which is why the ratio of HDL to LDL is a predictor of good health.

Testing is recommended if an individual has a family member with high cholesterol or heart problems. Also, men and women who smoke and/or have diabetes have an increased likelihood of having high lipids and should be routinely tested. Each individual is different and may require additional testing every 3, 5 or 10 years.

Although individuals may not be able to eat their way to a perfect cholesterol score; there are select cholesterol lowering foods that can help! These include walnuts and almonds (raw and unsalted), strawberries, apples, bananas, grapefruit, carrots, dried beans, garlic, cold-water fish, salmon and olive oil. Foods to keep to a minimum include: coffee, meats, dairy, fried foods and fast-food. Exercise also helps keep the body and cholesterol levels under control.

As always, talk to your individual healthcare provider about risk factors and testing.

EimanJ.D. Eiman, PA-C is a physician assistant at the OCH of Gravette Clinic. J.D. sees patients of all ages for primary care needs and is also certified to perform DOT physicals. She received her education and training from Texas A&M University and Harding University and is currently a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Arkansas Association of Physician Assistants, Christian Medical and Dental Association/Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants and the California Association of Physician Assistants. To contact J.D. at the clinic, call (479) 787-5221.



It is not easy to pinpoint whether or not an individual has Hepatitis C. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of potential risk factors. Here is a set of questions to double-check whether or not you or someone you know may be at risk:

1. Did you have a blood transfusion before 1992?

2. Did you receive blood products (immunoglobulin, Anti-Rh factor or platelets) before 1992?

3. Are you a Hemophiliac?

4. Have you ever shared personal hygiene items such as razors, toothbrushes, hair clippers, cuticle scissors or nail clippers?

5. Have you had kidney dialysis?

6. Did your mother have Hepatitis C?

7. Have you lived with someone who had Hepatitis C?

8. Have you ever used any intravenous or snorted drugs (even once)?

9. Have you served in the military?

10. Have you ever been a healthcare worker or been exposed to blood?

11. Have you ever been incarcerated (jail or prison)?

12. Have you ever played contact sports?

13. Do you have a tattoo that is over 5 years old or was done someplace other than a professional tattoo parlor?

14. Have you had any body piercing (including ears) that was not done by a professional?

15. Have you ever shared body piercing jewelry?

16. Have you had multiple sexual partners (20 or more in lifetime or more than 2 in past 6 months)?

17. Have you ever been exposed to blood during sexual activity?

18. Have you had any injection, surgery or dental work outside of the US?

19. Have you ever had abnormal liver enzymes?

Did you answer YES to any of these questions? It might be time for a Hepatitis C test. A correct diagnosis ensures both a prompt treatment and a better response to treatment.

Also, while chronic Hepatitis C may not show any symptoms, neither does chronic Hepatitis B. Both are equally damaging to the liver and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer if untreated. It is important to contact your healthcare provider to learn more about the testing and treatment options available.

Additional Resources:

  • Sign up for a local Hepatitis education class at OCH by calling: 417-837-4244.
  • For more information about Hepatitis treatment available, read Dr. Beene’s brochure on Hepatitis: http://goo.gl/4nS9vr
  • To view coverage on our Hepatitis Outreach event, click here: http://goo.gl/DMXCC8