Latest Entries

Can Technology Make You Healthier?

The Washington Post recently published an article that provides suggestions on how to use technology to get or stay healthier in 2012.  Some solutions are as simple as a Smartphone app and some are as complicated as genomic analysis.  Either way, it is an interesting read and may offer some easy ideas to help 2012 be your healthiest year yet.  Read the full article by clicking here.

Also, in November 2010, we posted a blog suggesting indoor workout resources – perfect for cold days.  Many of these are technologies you probably already have access to but may not realize can help you along your path to fitness. Click here to read the original post.


WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex Open House

Mark your calendars, because WakeMed will soon be celebrating the opening of our sixth emergency department, WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex.

Conveniently located near the border of Durham and Wake counties, WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex offers outpatient health care services for the entire family. The facility houses a 24/7, full-service emergency department, comprehensive imaging services and an on-site laboratory.

Join us for an Open House:  Friday, January 6

11 am to 2 pm & 4 to 7 pm
WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex
8001 T.W. Alexander Drive, Raleigh

  • Stop by to take a tour of the new facility
  • Meet our providers
  • Bring the kids for the special teddy bear clinic
  • Learn about ChartStart, our online pre-registration system
  • Receive a free Family First Aid Kit, just for stopping by (while supplies last)

Click here to learn more.


Apex and Holly Springs Offer Full-Time Medication Take-Back

Occasionally on this blog we advertise events organized by healthcare providers and law enforcement agencies to “take back” unwanted prescription medications.  These events are great but unfortunately are only held a couple of times per year.   

Substance abuse and accidental overdose is a problem in North Carolina. According to a News & Observer story published a few days ago, more than 1,000 North Carolina citizens died last year as a result of prescription drug abuse.

Recently, the Apex and Holly Springs police departments both announced they will now have permanent, on-site containers at their stations where unwanted prescription medications can be deposited in an effort to reduce substance abuse and accidental overdose. 

Do you have unwanted prescription medication?  Drop them off here:

  • Holly Springs: Holly Springs Police Department lobby, 110 W. Ballentine St., Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Apex: Apex Police Department lobby, 205 Saunders St., Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You do not have to be a resident of either town to drop off unwanted medications.


Healthy Holiday

This time of year, our traditions and celebrations are often centered around eating.  Here are some realistic ideas to keep you and your family healthy, active and happy this holiday season.

• Enjoy your favorite dishes – just do it in moderation! Only 1 scoop/serving of the high calorie foods.
• Fill at least ½ your plate with fruits & vegetables.
• Make a “one plate” rule & avoid going back for seconds.
• Have a healthy snack before you sit down for a large meal. Try these snacks: 1 slice of whole wheat toast & 1 tbsp. peanut butter, Greek yogurt topped with raspberries, 1 low-fat string cheese & a small apple.
• Skip the dips – they’re loaded with calories, sodium, & are high in fat.
• Drink water or use fresh fruit slices in sparkling water for a low-cal “cocktail”. If you need to warm up to a cozy drink, try low fat hot chocolate and use 1% or skim milk.
• Don’t sit around the food table and snack! Put your food on a plate and sit away from the food to eat & socialize to avoid mindless munching!
• Exercise before and after you go to a holiday party.
• Stay hydrated. Dehydration often makes you think you’re hungry! Aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day.

• Throw the Frisbee around
• Go for a family walk
• Plan an outdoor scavenger hunt and look for different colored leaves or find different holiday decorations
• Have your family play a game of football, baseball, or basketball
• Plan a road rally and have everyone “ride” something different like roller skates, skateboards, scooters, or bikes
• Have board games that involve moving like Pictionary
• Plan a tournament using Wii fit or Wii sports
• Burn calories by turning on your favorite music and starting a dance party
• Plan to get-together with friends for a walk
• Always carry comfortable shoes & clothes in your car so you can squeeze in a walk while waiting or completing your holiday shopping

Instead of this; Try this
Butter (sweet dishes); Applesauce
Butter; Olive or canola oil
Whole milk; 1% or skim milk
Heavy Cream; Use 1% or skim milk & mix in flour to thicken
Cheese; Cut the amount in ½ or use low-fat cheese
Sour Cream; Fat free sour cream or plain yogurt
Gelatin; Sugar-free Jello
Egg; Substitute 2 egg whites for 1 egg
Salt; Natural herbs (rosemary, oregano, etc.)

These tips were compiled by Julie Paul a registered dietitian with WakeMed Children’s Diabetes & Endocrinology.


Ira David Wood Book Signing

Join us for a fun-filled afternoon with Ira David Wood III as he reads from and signs his newly released book, Confessions of an Elf.

Confessions Of An Elf is a tell-all book written by one of Santa’s own North Pole elves. In fact, the revered and very strict Elfin Code of Silence had to be breached in order for the author to make some of the inside information available to the public. The result is a sometimes humorous, sometimes thoughtful collection of ultimately inspiring and deeply moving essays on the spirit of Christmas and Santa Claus himself.

Ira David Wood III
Reading & Book Signing
Thursday, December 22
Drop by anytime between 3 and 4 pm
WakeMed Raleigh Campus Heart Center (3000 New Bern Ave., Raleigh, NC 27610)


Cary Hospital Turns 20

On December 16th, WakeMed Cary Hospital will celebrate its 20th anniversary.   On that first day of service, ten patients were treated in the Emergency Department and one patient was admitted into the hospital.

Upon opening, Western Wake Medical Center, which is today WakeMed Cary Hospital, featured 80 inpatient beds, eight intensive-care beds, six operating rooms, and ancillary services such as lab and radiology. In the first year, the hospital had 300 physicians on its medical staff, 200 employees and 250 volunteers.

Today, WakeMed Cary Hospital continues to be an asset in Cary and the surrounding western Wake County communities. The hospital now has 156 inpatient beds, nearly 1,200 employees and a medical staff of more than 700 physicians. Within the last year, WakeMed Cary Hospital’s:

  • Emergency Department saw more than 41,600 patients.
  • Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace delivered more than 2,470 babies.
  • Surgical Services performed more than 9,700 procedures.
  • Cardiovascular Care continues to grow in volume and types of procedures performed.
  • Nursing Units continue to provide outstanding care with more than 10,500 patient discharges in fiscal year 2010.

Learn more about WakeMed Cary Hospital by clicking here.


NC’s Seasonal Sensation – Apple Recipes

As 2011 comes to end, so does the North Carolina No-Diet Diet blog series. If you’ve been following us throughout the year, I hope you’ve enjoyed all the healthy, seasonal recipes featuring local ingredients from your farmer’s markets and growers. To wrap up a year of locally inspired, nutritious dishes are recipes from WakeMed’s Heart Smart Cooking series featuring December’s seasonal sensation, the apple. This holiday season, feed the ones you love a healthy dose of all the wholesome benefits the apple has to offer.

With only 85 calories and 5 grams of dietary fiber per medium apple, this fruit packs quite the healthy punch. For starters, the apple’s soluble fiber reduces cholesterol by absorbing it before it gets into your arteries. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber helps curb the appetite, (e’hem) keeps you regular and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

What’s more, apples, like other fresh fruits and vegetables, aren’t just low in calories and high in nutrients, they’re full of phytochemicals, bioactive substances that appear to have valuable health benefits we’re just beginning to understand.

With the holidays now in full swing, check out WakeMed’s Heart Smart apple recipes, like apple brown Betty and homemade applesauce. Also try apple parsnip soup from Cooking Light Magazine or a rustic apple pie with dried cherries from celebrity chef and nutritionist, Ellie Krieger. Each dish is sure to please your pickiest holiday eaters. Even better, they are packed with the apple’s most prevalent vitamin, vitamin C. That’s great news as we head into winter’s flu season.

Thanks for following the NC No-Diet Diet. I hope the rest of your 2011 is healthy and bright. Happy holidays from your WakeMed dietitians!

Link to previous NC No-Diet Diet posts.

Lori Stevens is a clinical dietitian with WakeMed Cary Hospital


Doctors Not Discussing Overweight Kids

Recently, UNC Health Care released a study examining whether or not parents of overweight children remember being told by their doctor that their child was overweight.  Not surprisingly, only 25 percent of parents remember having this conversation with their doctor.

There are many reasons why parents may not remember this conversation with their doctor. 

1. First and foremost, the physician is likely not addressing the issue of the child being overweight due to lack of time with the patient and parent to really discuss the issue appropriately.

2. Secondly, many times kids that are overweight are being teased at school or by family members and are very sensitive to any mention of their weight, making it a very difficult issue to address. Compounding the issue, many physicians are not trained in how to talk to parents about weight problems, so some physicians may feel that it will cause more harm than good to address the issue.

3. Thirdly, this is not an easy solution to an easy to fix problem. Helping a family take steps toward a healthier lifestyle requires education, counseling and support. It takes years for a child to become overweight and it takes years to help a child achieve that healthy weight again. This is one reason why prevention is so important. Tracking BMI and addressing an increasing BMI before it is elevated can have so much benefit.

4. Fourthly, doctors may not want to offer a solution and when they feel like there is no solution to help their patient – they feel powerless.

5. Finally, all fault does not lie with the physician. Parents may also not be hearing the physician’s evaluation of their child’s weight because they do not want to hear what the doctor has to say. Many parents do not feel that their child’s weight is an issue even when their BMI is high. Many parents of overweight children are overweight themselves and are resistant to accepting they need lifestyle change. It is not until a parent is willing to accept that they need to change that they are open to the fact that their child needs help with lifestyle change.

This is a very important topic to be discussed in the medical appointment and hopefully in the future doctors will be trained to discuss this difficult topic in an effective, positive way for everyone. Not many people are motivated by negative reinforcement so the more positive the discussion – the better.

WakeMed’s ENERGIZE! program is here to help with many of these issues. We can help a family understand the health complications of continued weight gain, evaluate a parent’s and child’s readiness to change and provide the fitness, education and counseling that will get these families on the right track. We have helped over 600 families learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices a way of life.  Give us a call (919-350-7584) or ask your doctor about the program today.

Julie Paul is a program coordinator with WakeMed Children’s Diabetes and Endocrinology.


Toy Safety Guideline for Christmas

Approximately 50 percent of all toy purchases in the United States occur between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Despite increase in safety however, Safe Kids Wake County urges parents to remain cautious.

Top five tips for making sure children’s toys are safe during this holiday season:

  • Before shopping for toys, consider the child’s age, interest and skill level. A fun, but inappropriate toy for a particular child can be dangerous.
  • Make sure toys intended for older children are stored separately from those for younger children.
  • Keep toys with small parts away from children under age 3. They can choke on small toys and toy parts.
  • Check regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately, or discard damaged toys out of the reach of children.
  • Actively supervise children when they are playing with riding toys as well as any toy that has small balls and small parts, magnets, electrical or battery power, cords and strings, wheels or any other potential hazard. Simply being in the same room as your child is not necessarily supervising. Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach while paying undivided attention.

To stay informed about harmful products in the marketplace, parents can go to and sign up for email alerts on recalled children’s products.

Safe Kids Wake County reminds parents that most toys are safe, especially if you buy from a reputable retailer.  “That doesn’t mean you have to go to a ‘big box’ store” Ms. Siobhan Davis, Safe Kids Wake County coordinator says. “But if you shop at a locally-owned toy store, make sure that the owner is aware and vigilant about getting recalled items off the shelves.”

If secondhand toys are purchased, or received from friends or relatives, Safe Kids Wake County advises parents to visit and make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Used toys should also be in good condition with all original parts and packaging, if possible. If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled.

Safe Kids Wake County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Wake County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Wake County was founded in 1996 and is led by WakeMed Health & Hospitals.


WakeMed Milk Bank Needs Donations

WakeMed Mother's Milk Bank

The value of breast milk and breastfeeding is finally being realized in the United States.  But, there are some moms who are unable to produce milk of their own for their infants.  Many times these infants are preemies who really need breast milk to grow and thrive.

The lack of donations and increased need is not isolated to North Carolina. Human milk banks across the country are experiencing similar trend as more and more hospitals and mothers learn about the benefits of breast milk.

“Often the mom of preemie will seek breast milk from the bank to feed their infants if they are not able to produce milk or they cannot produce enough milk,” said Sue Evans, executive director of the WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank.  “Then, the neonatologist will see how well the baby does and starts to order greater and greater quantities of milk.  This trend, coupled with the fact that we are the largest of two milk banks serving the entire east coast, creates supply and demand issues.”

What can you do to help?  If you are a lactating mother who is healthy, does not drink, smoke or use certain medications and has an excess of milk, please contact the milk bank by calling (919) 350-8599.  You can also click hereto learn more about donating to WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Sue Evans is a lactation specialist and director of the WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Every day in the WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank, mothers and doctors trying to secure milk for babies are regretfully declined due to a significantly increased demand.  Healthy, lactating mothers we need your help.