Get Charles County’s Latest Health and Wellness Updates in “Maryland’s Health Matters”

Maryland's Health Matters Cover

If you’re in search of the latest news, updates and information regarding the state of health and wellness resources in Charles County, we have a free magazine you’ll definitely want to check out.

Maryland’s Health Matters, the official quarterly magazine of the University of Maryland Medical System, is the perfect companion to all of the information and resources you can find on our blog and our website.

The University of Maryland Medical System understands that community wellness needs and preferences vary by geographic region, so they publish an edition specifically for Charles County. It’s all part of our mission of helping you make informed health care decisions for yourself and your family.

Here’s a look at just some of the topics covered in this new issue:

Living Well with COPD – Learn more about what causes COPD, how it can be managed and what resources are available to Charles County residents who have been diagnosed with it.

Overcoming the Daily Hurdles of Diabetes – Get some easy-to-follow tips from our team about how you can live better after a diabetes diagnosis.

Foundation Focus – See what the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation has been up to and get a preview of the upcoming Celebration Gala event.

University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Highlight – When kids get sick, the experts at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital are there to help. This highlight examines how this specialized hospital provided personalized, compassionate care for three such kids so they could have healthier childhoods.

The latest issue of Maryland’s Health Matters is available online 24/7, so click or tap right here to start reading the latest issue now.

Thank You to These Local Businesses for Their Contributions to the Community

Recognizing Our Sponsors

Whenever the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation announces one of its fundraising events, business leaders from around Southern Maryland have always jumped in to lend a hand. And this year’s Celebration Gala is no exception.

This year’s black-tie Gala event — taking place on March 24 at Swan Point Yacht & Country Club — is intrinsically connected to the plans for the Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health. When it opens, this center will provide hope, support and care for those in our community who are dealing with breast health issues.

Since we first announced this event, local businesses and groups have been at the forefront of helping the CRMC Foundation reach its fundraising goal. Sponsorship gifts help create exclusive experiences for the night, such as the raw oyster bar, photo booth and more.

We are truly humbled by the generosity that has that have taken shape for this year’s event, and we hope you’ll join with us in thanking and supporting our Gala sponsors for their contributions. Here’s a look at the businesses and groups that are supporting this year’s event.

Sapphire Sponsors

Other Sponsors Include:

If you want to get your business or organization involved in this year’s Gala event, it’s not too late! To learn more or to commit as a sponsor, visit our website by using the button below or contact Holly Gonzalez at (301) 609-4319 or

Become a sponsor

5 Essential Cardiovascular Disease Facts Everyone Should Know

American Heart Month

Every February, we come together with the rest of the country to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease during American Heart Month.

It all started in 1964 when Lyndon B. Johnson adopted the month through an annual proclamation. Since then, this month has been dedicated to helping people understand what cardiovascular disease is, what causes it and what we can do about it.

So if you’re ready to focus on your heart health this month, we invite you to learn more by taking the following five facts and sharing them with friends and family. By passing along what you learn about the causes and effects of heart attacks, coronary artery disease and strokes, you can help others live longer, healthier lives.

1. Cardiovascular Disease Claims More Than

17.3 Million Lives Each Year

Although American Heart Month generally focuses on the impact cardiovascular disease has in the U.S., it’s important to remember that stroke, heart attack and other heart-related ailments are worldwide issues.

Responsible for more than 17.3 million deaths every year, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. What’s more, this number is expected to climb to over 23 million per year by 2030.

2. Nearly Half of the American Population is at Risk for

Heart Disease

There are three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors.

3. Almost 800,000 Americans Will Have a Stroke

This Year

According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. Here are some other important stroke statistics from the CDC:

  • Strokes are responsible for about 140,000 deaths in America every year (that’s one out of every 20).
  • 795,000 strokes are reported in the U.S. annually, which factors out to one stroke every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disabilities and costs the U.S. an estimated

    $34 billion every year.

4. You Can Control Some Risk Factors

The level of risk associated with developing coronary heart disease, having a heart attack or having a stroke is tied to a variety of factors. Some of these things can be controlled while others are simply based on heredity.

Here’s a quick breakdown of things you can control:

Risk Factors You Can’t Control

  • Age – Although strokes and heart attacks can happen at any age, risk does increase with age.
  • Race – Statistics have shown that race plays a role in an individual’s risk level.
  • Family History – A person’s risk level is heavily dependent on their family’s history.

Risk Factors You Can Control:

  • DietUtilizing a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are key.
  • Smoking – Smoking greatly increases your level of risk.
  • Physical Activity – Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure —

    two contributing factors to your level of risk.

5. Heart Attacks and Strokes Can Be Treated —

if You Act Fast

Beyond all the stats and figures we can share about the diseases and ailments that affect such a substantial amount of people every year, you need to know that heart attacks and strokes can be treated. But they can only be treated if you know how to spot a heart attack or stroke and you know what to do next.

We’ve covered the signs and symptoms on our blog previously, and more information about heart attack signs and symptoms is available on CDC’s website.

Most importantly, if you think someone is having a stroke or a heart attack, don’t wait or hesitate. Call 9-1-1 immediately — you may just save their life or prevent a long-term disability.

UM Charles Regional Medical Center Updates Visitation Policy in Response to Severe Flu Season

Protecting You from the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported significantly increased activity of the seasonal influenza across the country in recent weeks. As a result, we are taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of this debilitating illness at our hospital.

For the safety of our patients, visitors and staff this flu season, we’ve temporarily updated our visitation policies to help prevent the spread of germs. Please review the below information before planning your visit to UM Charles Regional Medical Center.

What You Need to Know About the Updated Visitation Policy

To better protect everyone at risk of contracting the seasonal flu and other illnesses, we have implemented the following guidelines for visitation.

  • Visitors must be free of flu-like symptoms
  • Only two (2) visitors per patient admitted at a time
  • Visitors under the age of 18 will not be permitted
  • Spouses/significant others are exempt from limited visiting hours

Updated Visiting Hours

During this time, we’ve also revised our visiting hours for the entire hospital to 12pm-2pm and 6pm-8pm daily.

Not feeling well? We ask that you do not plan a patient visit at this time. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us care for you and your family.

If you have any questions about this temporary visitation policy, please contact us at (301) 609-4000 or by submitting a contact form on our website.

There’s Still Time to Get Your Flu Shot

If you’ve yet to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, it’s not too late. The seasonal flu’s “peak season” often continues through March, and a flu shot can help prevent sickness for you and those around you.
Most major insurance plans cover the costs of getting vaccinated, but the Charles County Department of Health also offers free walk-in flu shots from 8am-5pm daily or by appointment when you call (301) 609-6799.

Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 Celebration Gala

Celebration Gala

Get your tux out or pick your favorite evening gown because the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation’s annual Celebration Gala event is coming up!

You are cordially invited to join us on Saturday, March 24, from 8pm to midnight, at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club for this highly anticipated event.

This year, we’re continuing to offer several reservation options to fit your preference. Choose a VIP Dinner Reservation to join us for an exclusive, chef-inspired dinner and the full night of festivities. Come for the main event with a Gala Reservation and you’ll enjoy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and the open bar. Or select our Late Night Reservation to meet us after the Gala and help turn the party up a notch. Which will you choose?

Make your selections because tickets are on sale now, and our VIP Dinner Reservations are limited, so you’ll need to act fast to secure your spot. Plus, for all ticket offerings, you’ll be able to take advantage of early bird savings when you purchase before March 2.

VIP Dinner Reservations (Limited quantities available)
6pm admittance | $175 each through March 2 ($200 thereafter)

Gala Reservations
8pm admittance | $125 each through March 2 ($150 thereafter)

Late Night Reservations
9:30pm admittance | $75 each through March 2 ($100 thereafter)

Purchase Tickets

As always, proceeds from this fantastic event benefit the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation. This year, these funds will directly support the hospital’s plans for establishing a new Center for Breast Health, which will help meet the goal of providing hope, support and care for our family, friends and community members as they cope with breast health issues.

Businesses are encouraged to get involved with the Gala, too! A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available now. Sponsors enjoy great exposure leading up to and during this event and play a key role in helping us meet the goals of this event. Visit our website to learn more about the sponsorship levels offered at this year’s Gala.

Become a Sponsor

Why We’re Raising Awareness About Cervical Cancer This January

Cervical Health Awareness Month

You’ve probably heard about cervical cancer from your doctor, the news or just someone you know. But how much do you know about this form of cancer?

Take some time this January to learn more about cervical cancer, its causes, its treatment options and preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances for developing it.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that starts in a woman’s cervix, which is located on the lower end of the uterus.

What are the Contributing Causes of Cervical Cancer?

Your doctor will be able to help you determine your risk level for developing cervical cancer, but there are a few things to know that will help you better understand your individual risk.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the leading causes of cervical cancers. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Having HIV or another autoimmune disorder
  • Having given birth to three or more children
  • Having several sexual partners
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years)

HPV is one of the most common STDs in the U.S. It’s so prevalent, in fact, that the CDC notes that most people will contract it at some point in their lives. Fortunately, HPV often goes away on its own over time, and vaccines do exist for it.

Is it Preventable?

Cervical cancer was, at one time, among the most common causes of cancer deaths for American. Today, cervical cancer is actually one of the most highly preventable cancer types in the U.S. as a result of the screening tests and HPV vaccines, according to the CDC.

Although early symptoms and warning signs for cervical cancer are rare, screenings can help doctors detect presence of pre-cancers before they become invasive cancers. A pap test or “pap smear,” as it’s often called, has been proven effective in detecting the disease before it becomes life threatening.

Additionally, HPV tests and vaccines are available to help detect and/or prevent infection of HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are the two strains that are responsible for the vast majority of all cervical cancers.

The American Cancer Society recommends that routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys should begin at age 11 or 12, but your doctor may recommend it get started as early as age 9. While this may seem like a young age to receive a vaccine of this type, the American Cancer Society notes that HPV vaccines produce the strongest immune responses in preteens.

What are the Treatment Options?

Currently, there are no treatments available for HPV, but many genital HPV infections go away with the help of a person’s immune system within two years.

Should you be diagnosed with cervical cancer, however, a variety of treatment options exist. Which treatment(s) you ultimately utilize will vary depending on the stage of the cancer has reached and based on recommendations from your health care provider. The most common treatments for cervical cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Want to learn more about cervical cancer this month? Be sure to check out our Online Health Library and visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition website for more information and to find out how you can get involved in spreading awareness all month long. And if you’d like to schedule a preventive screening, checkup or appointment with a women’s health expert, contact UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health in Charles County today.

The Best Way to Give Back to Your Community in a Big Way This Month

Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor Month, and there’s no better way to start off the new year than by doing your part to help your community.

Blood donations are an essential part of ensuring hospitals, including UM Charles Regional Medical Center, are able to treat a nearly endless amount of ailments. And we encourage you can do your part by volunteering to give blood this month and all year long. Here’s what you need to know about giving blood and why it’s so important to take part if you’re able.

Am I Eligible to Donate Blood?

There are a few stipulations surrounding whether or not you’re eligible to give blood. Be sure to read the American Red Cross’ eligibility requirements and guidelines before you sign up to donate!

What Blood Types Are Needed Most?

Don’t think your blood type is in demand? Think again. Every blood type is needed by the Red Cross and the health practices it serves. If you have type O blood, however, your blood type is the most requested by hospitals. This is even more prevalent if you have an O-negative blood type, which is considered the blood type of “universal donors” because it can be given to people of every blood type. Unfortunately, just seven percent of the U.S. population has this blood type, so if you’re in that group, it’s even more important that you get out and donate.

Why Should I Give Blood?

Ultimately, whether or not you give blood is a choice you — and only you — can make. There are countless worthy causes, charities and non-profits you can support throughout the year, but here are some of the reasons why we think you should consider donating blood this month:

  • 1 pint of donated blood can save up to 3 lives
  • About 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion requires ~3 pints
  • The blood used in emergencies is already available before the emergency occurs

These are just a few of the reasons why giving blood is so important — be sure to check out the American Red Cross’ website to learn more about why blood donations are vital in your community.

Where Can I Donate Blood?

UM Charles Regional Medical Center proudly sponsors several blood drives in Southern Maryland throughout the year. You can find a comprehensive list of all of the Red Cross’ upcoming blood drives on their website — Simply enter your zip code and click or tap “Find A Drive” to see upcoming blood drives nearby.

If you’re in or near La Plata, be sure to consider joining us at the La Plata United Methodist Church for our next blood drive on February 26 from 1:30-7pm!

Setting New Year’s Resolutions? Read This First.

Tips for Setting Successful Resolutions

Regardless of what you’re looking to improve in the new year, now is a great time to set goals.

Ready to get to work on some physical, emotional, mental or financial wellness resolutions in 2018? Here are four tips to help you get closer to achieving them:

Set Reasonable Resolutions

Reasonable resolutions are those that you will be able to keep striving for over the next 12 months.

If the idea of exercising 5 times a week, every week seems like it’ll be nearly impossible to stick with, it probably will be. Try setting goals that are within reach and attainable, regardless of what they are. Only you can decide how hard you’re going to work or how committed you’ll be throughout the year, so plan accordingly.

And don’t forget, if you think you’re in an all-around good place in regards to health and wellness, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting a goal to maintain that all year long!

Savor Short-Term Wins, Focus on Long-Term Goals

One of the best ways to realize a larger, long-term vision is to break it up with smaller, short-term milestones throughout the year.

Rather than just saying you want to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, commit yourself to losing a couple pounds every month. Or instead of promising that you’ll have a strategy to get your diabetes under control right away, start with just making an appointment for our Center for Diabetes Education within the first couple weeks of 2018.

You’ll be surprised with how much easier it is to take on a long-term goal when you break things up into several short-term milestones. And when you accomplish those smaller goals, enjoy it — you deserve it! Just make sure you keep your eye on your ultimate goal every step of the way.

Don’t Get Discouraged by Setbacks

Just like everything in life, the route to achieving your goals won’t be without its own ups and downs.

Stay true to your resolutions as you reach major milestones but, more importantly, don’t get too down on yourself if there are any setbacks. You’re only human, and getting too down on yourself for any mistakes or missed goals along the way is only going to make it harder to accomplish what you set out to achieve.

Take the Journey with a Friend

Resolutions are always better with company! Share your goals with family and friends who will hold you accountable, and partner with someone who can help you stay focused throughout the year. And with the partnership of a trusted primary care physician, you can rest assured that all the goals you’re setting are in line with your overall health and wellness.

5 Proven Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sick This Holiday Season

Avoiding Sickness During the Holidays

Is there anything worse than getting sick during before you travel or take time off for the holidays?

While the seasonal flu is most prevalent in December and it seems like everyone around you is getting sick, it might only seem like a matter of time before you get sick as well. And although there’s no way to guarantee you won’t get sick at any point in the year, these are five of the most effective ways to avoid sickness throughout the holiday season:

Getting Enough Sleep

Your overall health and wellness are directly correlated to how much sleep you get every night. Give your body the energy it needs to make it through the day and fight off sickness by dedicating yourself to getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.

Washing Your Hands Regularly

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s even more important this time of year. Before you prepare or eat food, after using the bathroom, or after you blow your nose, take time to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. You’ll help protect yourself and others around you at the same time!

Receiving the Flu Shot

Although it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to be fully effective, there’s no better time than now to get vaccinated. You’ll protect yourself and everyone else around you, especially those who are most vulnerable, from this debilitating sickness.

Touching Your Face or Eyes Less

Make a conscious effort to avoid rubbing your eyes or face during this time of year. As the seasonal flu reaches its peak level of activity and the common cold spreads, touching your face makes it easy for bacteria and virus to get inside your body and get you sick.

Checking in with Your Primary Care Doctor

Now’s the time to meet with your doctor to get a checkup and discuss any health concerns you have heading into the holidays. What’s more is that your doctor can give you additional tips and advice not covered in this blog!

If you’re having trouble finding an appointment time with your current doctor, consider Dr. Lorenzo Childress. His office is located right here in La Plata and regularly offers next-day appointments. You can learn more about this UM Community Medical Group practice here.

5 Keys to Reducing Stress During the Holidays

Reduce Stress During the Holidays

Money, time and energy. These things always seem to have a major impact on a person’s stress levels, and there never seems to be enough of any of it during the holiday season.

Although holiday stress seems to have become the norm in modern society, excessive stress can be one of the most harmful things to your overall health and wellness. But these are the five things you can do to manage and reduce stress throughout this busy time of year.

Managing Expectations with Your Family

Only you know what you can truly afford. Before anyone gets carried away with lavish gift suggestions or expensive ideas, have an open, honest conversation about what you really value about the holidays. And because not everyone in your family is going to have the same budget restrictions, don’t be afraid to temper expectations about gifts, meals or outings ahead of time.

Getting Organized

Having a to-do list for the holidays is a great way to keep everything in perspective and manage stress. It’s as simple as filling out the calendar you carry with you on your phone or just writing it down on a sticky note at home.

Keeping Up Your Exercise Routines

Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for skipping workouts in your routine. Make a point of continuing your exercise regimen (or get started with one) as usual. You’ll be surprised with how good it feels knowing you’re doing what you need to do to stay healthy.

Knowing When to Say “No”

One of the hardest things about this time of year is finding the time to fit everything in.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of party invites you’ve received, don’t be afraid to politely turn down the ones you’re okay skipping. And if you’re stressed by the idea of having to spend more money to attend expensive events, try suggesting more affordable alternatives or pass altogether.

Taking “Me” Time

The holidays are all about getting to spend time with friends and family, some of whom you haven’t seen for a long time. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of your own well-being.

Finding some time throughout the next few weeks to focus on doing what you want to do — exercising, relaxing, taking a walk, reading a book, etc. — for just a few minutes can go a long way. Your to-do list will be there when you get back, and you’ll feel even more ready to handle it when you do.

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