Island Hospital
Healthy Living
Dr. Prins Patient Portal

What is the best way to communicate with your provider: message via the patient portal or phone call?

Providers overwhelmingly encourage patients to use their myIslandHealth patient portal for communication on non-urgent medical questions. Messaging on the portal can reduce miscommunication and delays that sometimes occur with phone communication. Read more.

Woman with headacheBest treatments for the most common symptom

Headache has been called the most common symptom. A study, which appeared in Lancet neurology (Vol. 7, Issue 4, April 2008), reported that, worldwide, 47% of people have headaches of some type. Around 15% of people suffer from the most common severe type of headache, migraine. Read more.

by J. Michael Jones MPAS-C, Headache Clinic

New Medicare CardsNew Medicare cards: What you need to know

The risk of identity theft and fraud is on the rise, especially among those 65 and older. With so many things to worry about protecting, one thing that may slip your mind is to protect your health-insurance cards. If you haven’t paid close attention, you may have overlooked the fact that your Social Security number acts as your Medicare identification number. Read more.

Woman with HeadacheHeadache disorders -- On the brink of a new hope

Headache disorders are the Rodney Dangerfield of disease. They do not get the respect they deserve for two reasons. First, they are common. More than 90% of people have had at least one significant headache in their lifetime, 50% within the past year. Around 20% have problematic headaches... Read more.

By J. Michael Jones MPAS-C, Headache Clinic
MammogramsScreening mammography decreases risk of dying from breast cancer by at least 30%

October is here, and with it many pink-themed advertisements and events will meet us at every turn. While enjoying all of the events with friends and neighbors, it is important to reflect on why we devote an entire month to breast-cancer awareness and screening. Read more.

By Dr. Chris Johansen, Head of Breast Imaging for Island Hospital

Flu Shots2017-2018 Flu Season

The end of summer + back to school = flu season. Island Hospital is working with healthcare providers and Skagit County Public Health to prevent the spread of the flu.  

Flu Essentials: 7 things you should know about the flu vaccine this year (2017-2018)

 Read more.

Beat It

Beat It: Fight Heart Disease

Heart Disease: The Importance of Being Aware

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease causes one out of every three deaths in the United States.  About half, 47% of Americans have at least one of the three risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.  Your risk of getting cardiovascular or heart disease can be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising a couple times a week, quitting smoking, and going to the screenings offered by Island Hospital.

Read more.

By Kaitlyn Selberg, Community Education Intern

Tips for your next doctor's visitGetting ready for your next doctor's visit

I have received a few calls from patients asking me for tips on how to better communicate with their physicians. Some people tend to get nervous and clam up when talking with their doctor, and others have trouble remembering important information that was discussed during the visit. Rest assured there are ways to help improve effective communication between you and your healthcare professional. Below are ten helpful tips to keep in mind when preparing for the next trip to your medical office. This basic plan provided by the National Institute on Aging will help you get the most out of your medical appointment.

Read more.

By Jacqueline Marucci, Health Resource Coordinator, (360) 299-1342

Skin Cancer RiskFrom Bonnets to Bikinis:
Sun exposure over the decades and what you should know -- we know more than we used to!

Our skin is our largest and most visible organ. Over the last 100 years our skin continues to be more exposed to the sun as styles and attitudes change and become more open and relaxed.

In recent decades, having a tan has been thought of as a ‘healthy look’. But, further back in time, the idea of fair and unblemished skin -- untouched by sun damage was seen as beautiful and refined. Hats for men and bonnets for women were common and part of what was considered fashionable. Read more.

By Eileen Mulcaire RN, BSN, OCN, Merle Cancer Care Nurse
Obesity and CancerObesity: a less recognized cancer risk

It is well know that certain behaviors and conditions may cause cancer. A few of the best known cancer causing habits and conditions include:

1.) Smoking and its powerful link to lung cancer
2.) Sunburn and sun exposure that can result in skin cancer
3.) Viruses, including hepatitis C which is a cause of liver cancer, and Human Papilloma Virus, (HPV) that causes most cervical cancer. 

What you may not be aware of, is that according to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 3 cancer deaths in the United States is connected to obesity, inactivity, and bad nutrition.  Read more.

By Susan Jacot Butler, MSN, ARNP, Merle Cancer Care Nurse

Cancer Screening vs. PreventionCancer Screening vs. Prevention: What is the Difference?

Cancer screening differs from cancer prevention but both are important in our fight against cancer.

Screening can allow us to detect potential cancer at its earlier, more treatable stages. Cancer is easier to control or cure when it is caught early.

Prevention involves lifestyle choices that can increase or decrease a person's risk of developing cancer.

Read more.

By Eileen Mulcaire RN, BSN, OCN, Merle Cancer Care Nurse

Mammograms, Breast Cancer AwarenessBreast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer remains the second most common cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that one in eight women will develop the disease in her lifetime. As advanced technologies, new treatments and low-cost preventive screenings expand, there are reasons to be optimistic that not only will death rates continue to drop, but those with the disease will live longer and better lives.

Read more
Breakfast Helps You Make the GradeBreakfast Helps You Make the Grade

Breakfast literally means “break the fast.” By the time breakfast rolls around, many people have gone 8 to 12 hours without eating. By comparison, we eat every 3 to 5 hours throughout the day when we are awake. Breakfast makes an important contribution to both the mind and body, yet it is the most frequently skipped meal.

Common excuses for skipping breakfast include:
---“I have to run, so that I am not late for school.”
     ---“I am just not hungry that early in the morning.”
     ---“I am trying to lose a few pounds.”

Many people head out the door in the morning with a low tank of gas, because they have not eaten.   Read more.

Taken from Nutrition 411However, you will find no time like the present to enjoy the benefits of eating breakfast!

Gluten- & Wheat- Free DietsAre Gluten- and Wheat- Free Part of a Healthy Diet?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on gluten- and wheat- free diets. People often ask if they should be avoiding these in order to eat a healthy diet. I will address each of these separately to sort out the issues.

Part 1: Gluten-Free Diets

Part 2: Wheat-Free Diets

By Suzie DuPuis RD

ImmunizationsImmunizations: Protect your child and others

Why does your child need to be immunized?

As a parent, you want the best for your children – from special car seats and tamper-proof locks, to providing nutritious food and putting out of reach items that could cause injury or illness. But one of the best ways to protect children and keep disease from spreading is to make sure they receive all their vaccinations.

Newborns are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies from their mothers. However, this immunity does not last, and if an unvaccinated child is exposed to a disease, his or her body may not be strong enough to fight the infection.

Read more.

Chia SeedsChia Seeds: The new nutritional powerhouse

Chia seeds are getting a lot of attention lately; even surpassing the popularity of flax seeds. So, what’s the big deal?  It turns out chia seeds, a member of the mint family, are good for a whole lot more than creating funny, “furry” clay pets (remember, “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”?). Here’s the scoop.

Chia Seeds

• are a nutritional powerhouse with more omega 3 fatty acids than flax 
  seed (2 Tbsp chia seeds contain 4500 mg alpha-linolenic acid) and the
  richest non-marine source of omega 3s

Read more.

By Suzie DuPuis RD

Pediatric Sleep DisordersSleep and learning

Learning and learning disabilities have been a focus of intense research for pediatric medicine over the last several years. Although the best teaching methods for learning -- and how best to use medications for learning disabilities remain open to debate -- a child’s need for a good night’s sleep to optimize their ability to learn is a fact all educators can agree upon. Research from the early 2000’s showed that not only are most high school students not getting enough sleep, but they perform better in school when they are able to get as little as five or more extra hours of sleep per week. 

School Start Times

As we go through adolescence, our body’s natural internal clock tends to favor a later sleep time... Read more.

By Robert Reyna MD
Coconut OilIs coconut oil healthy or unhealthy?

Coconut oil seems to be getting more and more attention with health claims abound: restoring thyroid function, curing Alzheimer's, weight loss, etc. Unfortunately the health claims are also full of controversy. What is the truth?

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil comes from the meat of fresh, mature coconuts harvested from coconut palms. There are two main types of coconut oil: virgin and refined. The virgin oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without the use of high temperatures or chemicals, while refined oil is from dried meat that's often chemically extracted, bleached and... Read more.

By Suzie DuPuis RD
Target Heart RateWhat's your target heart rate?

For aerobic exercise a target heart rate can be calculated using a simplified equation for maximum heart rate, multiplied by a percentage.

220 - Age = Maximum Heart Rate
Multiply your maximum heart rate by two numbers, 0.65 and 0.80 for a range of 65 to 80% of the maximum heart rate.

Take for example a 40 year old:
220 - 40 = 180 beats per minute
180 x 0.65 = 117 beats per minute
180 x 0.80 = 144 beats per minute Read more.

Dr. Hall Stop Arguing and Start UnderstandingPractical techniques for building a healthier and happier family

Greetings, I am Dr. David Hall, Child Adolescent and Family Psychiatrist in the Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Clinic. This blog entry introduces you to my book Stop Arguing and Start Understanding: Eight Steps to Solving Family Conflicts. The book grew out of my private practice when I realized I was saying the same thing to many families. I decided to write a brochure outlining how family therapy works and giving hints to make it easier for families to get benefit out of my work with them.

On the third try after four years I began to get it right and developed an initial draft, which I then reworked with a professional editor and self-published the book seven years later to praises from the Publishers Marketing Association and Forward Magazine. Read more.

Visit Dr. Hall's website for a free copy of his book Stop Arguing and Start Understanding: Eight Steps to Solving Family Conflicts.

Sore MusclesSore muscles?

Has your New Year's resolution led to some sore muscles? Don't let stiffness and soreness slow you down! Add stretching and self-massage with a foam roller to your daily routine and you'll speed up your recovery time.

Foam rollers can be found in most sporting goods stores, and come in different densities and textures. If you like deep tissue massage, try a dense, textured foam roller. If you prefer light pressure, try a white, soft foam roller. This is a great way to stretch at the end of your day and get you ready for your next workout!

ShinglesShingles: What you should know

If you are over the age of 60, discuss getting the shingles vaccination with your healthcare provider or local pharmacist.

Chickenpox is a common childhood disease. Those infected generally break out in spots, itch for a few days and get better. But for nearly one million Americans of all ages each year, that's not the end of the story.

Who's at risk for developing shingles?

Anyone who has had chickenpox --- studies show that's 99.5% of adults in the U.S. --- carries the virus for shingles, a painful skin rash that can be triggered at any time. The virus most commonly affects people over age 60, but also at risk are those with weakened immune systems. The virus develops only in those... Read more.