Carthage Area Hospital - The Place for Personal Care

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All posts by Taylour Scanlin

How To Improve Your Kidney Health

Located just below the rib cage on both sides of your body, your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs whose job is to filter your blood. Every day, the kidneys remove waste, regulate your body’s electrolytes and control fluid levels. Because kidney disease can damage one or both of these vital organs, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of developing a kidney condition. Here are several ways to keep your kidneys healthy, day in and day out.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, it’s also the most common cause of kidney damage. Therefore, keeping an eye on your blood pressure on a regular basis and making changes to your diet and lifestyle as necessary can help reduce your risk of kidney disease.

Stay Active

Besides lowering your risk for diabetes – which can pose problems for your kidneys – exercising and keeping fit help lower your blood pressure. Try going for a walk outside, joining a fitness class or practicing yoga at home.

Watch Your Blood Sugar Levels

Keeping your blood sugar levels in check can also help mitigate the risk of developing kidney disease. Those with diabetes are more susceptible to kidney damage, making it particularly important to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Eat Well

One of the best ways to look after your blood pressure and blood sugar levels is with diet. Limit your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates to balance your blood sugar, and cut down on your daily sodium consumption – the FDA recommends restricting sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day for adults with hypertension and pre-hypertension.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our Primary Care Physicians, please call Carthage Family Health Center at 315-493-4187.


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Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Our Aisles of Wellness Grocery Tours

Get ready to spring into the new season during National Nutrition Month 2018. This annual event occurs every March and was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to draw attention to the importance of eating healthy and making sound physical activity habits. At Carthage Area Hospital, we’re celebrating National Nutrition Month with our new “Aisles of Wellness Grocery Tours – Navigating Healthy Choices” initiative.

Going Further with Food

Partnering with Schenectady-based Price Chopper Supermarkets and led by Carthage Area Hospital’s Clinical Nutrition Support Clinician, Susie K. Ray, the grocery tour initiative is designed to help you learn how to navigate a grocery store while making delicious, healthy food decisions. During the program, you will discover how to:

  • Read nutrition labels
  • Eat healthy on a budget
  • Identify nutrient-dense foods
  • Select healthy snacks
  • Plan for quick, healthy meals
  • And more…

While the tour is geared toward those following a new diet plan, engaged in weight loss or at risk for diabetes, other ideal participants include people with celiac disease, food allergies or other medical conditions who need to know how to make the right food choices while tackling specific health needs.

Program Details

The 90-minute-to-two-hour grocery tour costs $5 per person, but at the completion of the tour, you’ll receive a special $5 Price Chopper gift card and be entered into a raffle to win a special $50 Price Chopper gift card. Tours take place once a month or by appointment at either Carthage Price Chopper (60 High St.) or Watertown Price Chopper (1283 Arsenal St.).

About Carthage Area Hospital’s Nutrition Services

The team of Registered Dietitians at Carthage Area Hospital is dedicated to helping patients maintain a healthy lifestyle by creating easy-to-follow plans. Our nutrition experts provide education for a full range of medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity, eating disorders, food allergies and more.

If you’re ready to learn how to make more informed food choices this National Nutrition Month, call 315-493-1000 and ask for the Nutrition Department to inquire about the grocery tour or sign up via our online form.

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Learn More about Sleep Apnea during Sleep Awareness Week

At the start of Daylight Savings Time, the National Sleep Foundation began celebrating its Sleep Awareness Week, from March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme – “Begin with Sleep” – emphasizes the importance of good sleep health and how it affects your personal, family and professional goals, overall wellbeing and safety. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, you may be dealing with sleep apnea. Read on to learn more about this sleep disorder.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder which affects a person’s breathing. During sleep, an individual diagnosed with sleep apnea will repeatedly stop and start breathing. The two types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This disorder is caused by an airway blockage that happens when throat muscles collapse during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Less common than OSA, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing.

While sleep apnea can occur at any age, certain factors put you more at risk for developing this sleep disorder. These include being male, overweight or over the age of 40, having a large neck size, possessing a family history of sleep apnea, sinus problems, allergies and other conditions.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of OSA and central sleep apnea include, but are not limited to:

  • Loud snoring
  • Awakening with a sore or dry throat
  • Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day or while driving
  • Irritability
  • Morning headaches

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, visit your primary care physician. They can help rule out other sleep disorders and determine if a sleep study is needed. At Carthage Area Hospital Sleep Center, our sleep disorder specialists and clinicians perform sleep studies four nights a week by referral only. If you have a doctor’s referral, call 315-493-2512 to make an appointment or to learn more about our state-of-the-art facility.

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What You Need to Know about This Year’s Flu Season

It may seem like every time you turn on the news that you hear something about the flu. In fact, the 2017-2018 flu season has already claimed a significant number of lives across the U.S., and that number is only expected to rise. So why is this year’s flu season particularly bad? And how can you prevent your family from getting it? Keep reading to find out.

Why This Year’s Flu Season Is Worse than Others

Even before the start of flu season, CDC officials warned that it could be an especially difficult one – primarily because the strain predicted was influenza A (H3N2). This particular strain tends to be worse than others, and as forecasted, there have been significantly more cases of influenza A reported than influenza B. In the past, when H3N2 has been the dominate strain, there has been an increase in the number of hospitalizations of children and the elderly, and this year is no different.

What You Can Do Now

Although we’re in the midst of flu season, it’s not too late to have your family get the flu vaccine. Not only will the vaccine help prevent you from contracting the flu, but it may also lessen the severity of symptoms. Plus, as the season progresses, other flu strains with greater vaccine susceptibility are likely to become more common.

In addition to the flu vaccine, it’s absolutely critical that you practice good hygiene habits this time of year. This includes staying home when you’re sick, washing your hands regularly, keeping your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose and maintaining a clean environment.

When to See a Doctor

If you or a loved one has symptoms of the flu and are in a high-risk group, make sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician right away. If your symptoms include trouble breathing, pain in the chest or abdomen, confusion or severe, persistent vomiting, visit the Emergency Department at Carthage Area Hospital immediately.

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The American Heart Association Issues New Hypertension Guidelines

In November 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) in partnership with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) issued new guidelines that lowered the definition of high blood pressure. Referred to as the 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults, this comprehensive set of guidelines was released to account for complications that can occur at lower blood pressure numbers and allow for earlier intervention.

Key Takeaways

Since 2003, hypertension was classified as a blood pressure (BP) reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. However, the 2017 guidelines lower these thresholds to lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke. The new AHA/ACC blood pressure categories are as follows:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic between 80-89 mm Hg
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 mm Hg or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
  • Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic over 180 mm Hg and/or diastolic over 120 mm Hg


What the New Guidelines Mean for You

Under these new guidelines and definitions, approximately 46% of the U.S. adult population are considered to have high blood pressure. Of this percentage, the younger population will notice the greatest impact. But while having high blood pressure may double the risk of cardiovascular complications, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need medication. Instead, it’s recommended for many patients to work on lowering their blood pressure using non-drug approaches, such as regular exercise, better nutrition and other healthy lifestyle changes.

Learn More about the AHA/ACC Guidelines

Determine your blood pressure numbers and learn more about blood pressure management by scheduling a primary care appointment at the Carthage Family Health Center. For further inquiries, contact us today

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How to Cope with Cabin Fever This Winter

The North Country is no stranger to frigid, snowy weather, but during midwinter, you may find yourself spending copious amounts of time indoors. Differing from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – which is a type of depression caused by many factors, such as serotonin and melatonin levels – cabin fever is a term that describes extreme irritability and restlessness from being confined to an indoor area for extended periods of time. Find relief from the effects of cabin fever this winter with these coping tips.

Find an Indoor Hobby

Cabin fever doesn’t always present with a high-intensity onset; it can cause irritability over the course of days, weeks and months. Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor activities available to keep you occupied during the cold season. From knitting to reading, practicing guitar to woodworking, taking up a hobby can help alleviate stress.

Exercise Regularly

Another great way to bid cabin fever adieu is by burning off some energy. If the weather permits, consider going to the gym or taking an exercise class. If not, look for yoga or body weight workout videos online. Working out increases serotonin levels and other brain chemicals, boosts your energy, promotes better sleep and provides other benefits that can help you ward off cabin fever.

Get Outside

When it’s not snowing or below freezing, you should try to venture outside. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s UV rays help your body produce Vitamin D, which regulates mood fluctuations and offers a myriad of other health benefits. Consider going for a walk around your neighborhood or head to the slopes for skiing and snowboarding. Even shoveling your driveway after a snowstorm can prove beneficial.

Beat the Blues at Carthage Area Hospital

From special events to healthy cooking classes and beyond, Carthage Area Hospital offers a full range of classes and community programs that can help you combat cabin fever. To learn more, contact us today.


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Alleviate Neck and Back Pain with These Simple Remedies

Alleviate Neck and Back Pain with These Simple Remedies

According to a CDC study, more than 50% of U.S. adults suffer from one or more musculoskeletal pain disorders, including neuropathic pain and neck pain. Fortunately, there are numerous pain management strategies out there that can help restore daily functioning. Continue reading to learn more about remedies for minor back and neck pain.

Apply Ice, Then Heat

When back and neck pain first set in, apply ice to help reduce discomfort, stiffness and swelling. After the first 24 hours, the use of heating pads, hot baths, warm gel packs and the like help provide pain relief and healing benefits.

Take OTC Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve pain and address general discomfort. Consult with your primary care provider to determine which medications are right for you.

Utilize Gentle Exercise

Exercise plays a vital role in pain relief. Not only does it help your neck and back heal more quickly, but it can also help prevent the recurrence of pain. Once acute pain subsides, a targeted program that combines stretching, strengthening and other low-impact exercises can help you restore functioning.

Stay Hydrated

For proper spinal alignment, the discs between the vertebrae in your spine require water. Increasing your daily water intake when neck and back pain occur can help provide pain relief. Consider drinking a glass of water before every meal or carrying a one-liter water bottle when on the go as a reminder to stay hydrated.

Schedule an Appointment with a Neurosurgical Care Provider

If your neck and back pain continue to affect your quality of life, it may be time to schedule an appointment at a neurosurgical clinic. Beginning operations in December 2017, Carthage Area Hospital’s new neurosurgical clinic in the Carthage Professional Building, located at 3 Bridge St. in Carthage, NY, offers treatment services for neck, back and spine pain. Call 315-519-5990 to schedule an appointment.

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The Best Remedies for a Cold

Whether you’re snuggled up in bed or burning the midnight oil on a high-priority work project, getting sick with a cold is never a fun experience. However, there are a few at-home cold remedies that can help alleviate your symptoms and get you back on your feet in no time.

Chicken Soup

Relieve upper respiratory symptoms with a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup. This well-known home remedy not only helps clear nasal congestion, it also keeps you hydrated. Chicken soup also possesses mild anti-inflammatory properties.


This sticky and sweet substance contains various antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Honey is also an effective cough suppressant. Add it to your tea or eat a spoonful periodically to relieve a sore throat.

Vitamin C

Limes, grapefruit, leafy greens and lemons all contain this essential vitamin that your immune system needs. Help alleviate your cold symptoms, including congestion, by mixing fresh lemon juice into your water or consuming fruits high in vitamin C.

Over-the-Counter Medicine

When you have a cold, turn to OTC cold medicines to soothe your symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen, can help combat inflammation and reduce fevers, headaches and muscle aches. If you have a stuffy nose, look for decongestants, expectorants or nasal sprays. You may also want to pick up a cough suppressant to relieve an irritated throat. Unsure of which cold medications are right for you? Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

When to See a Doctor

If you’re still sick after a few weeks or your sickness is coupled with difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, faintness or other severe symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away. At the Carthage Family Health Center, our primary care professionals can diagnose and treat your illness to put you on the road to recovery. Call us today at 315-493-4187 to schedule your sick visit.

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How to Avoid Slips and Falls

From tripping over a loose carpet to slipping on ice, accidents are just waiting to happen, and if you’re not careful, a slip and fall can lead to serious injury. Help prevent slip and fall accidents while at home and out and about with these suggestions.

Declutter Your Space

Piles of books and newspapers on the floor, phone cords and even pet bowls present a potential risk when it comes to slip and fall accidents. By removing unnecessary odds and ends from walkways, stairwells and other high-traffic areas, you can create a safe zone free of potential trip-causing objects.

Hold Onto Railings

Whether you’re climbing the stairs inside your home or walking up and down a ramp during the winter months, make sure to hold onto the rails to stop yourself from taking a tumble.

Use Proper Lighting

Walking around a dark room without any lights on is a recipe for disaster. Avoid hazards by ensuring that your home has adequate lighting, both inside and out. Porch lights are especially helpful when returning home after dark.

Rid Your Home of Throw Rugs

Just one wrong step on an unsecured throw rug can have you slipping and sliding. Stay out of harm’s way by removing throw rugs from your house. If you decide to keep your throw rugs, use double-sided tape to secure them to your floor.

Wear Proper Footwear

As you traverse icy or snowy terrain, it’s essential that you wear boots that supply you with greater traction. Around the house, you should also do away with flimsy slippers that can throw you off balance. Look for sturdy, solid footwear instead.

In the unfortunate event that you’re involved in a slip and fall accident, turn to Carthage Area Hospital’s in-patient and out-patient therapy services. Performed by NYS-licensed physical therapists and occupational therapists, our physical and occupational therapy services offer the highest quality of care. To learn more about our physical therapy program, call us today at 315-493-1000.

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Pact between Carthage Area Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, River Hospital and Crouse Health Strengthen Community Health Care Quality and Access While Maintaining Local Governance

NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. – Today, the boards of directors of Carthage Area Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, River Hospital and Crouse Health announced clinical affiliations to enhance health care quality and access in Central and Northern New York. The agreement allows the three Northern New York hospitals to develop strong professional and clinical relationships between one another and Crouse Health in Syracuse. The affiliations do not represent a merger or acquisition, but instead will allow each institution to strengthen patient services and share best practices and expertise.

Under the affiliations, each institution will continue to operate as an independent, separately licensed community-based hospital and maintain its existing board governance structure. Additionally, each partner will continue singular responsibility for assets, operations, liabilities and budget. Labor agreements between each institution and its professional unions are unaffected.

“During the past three years, our team has worked hard to strengthen Carthage Area Hospital and cement a sustainable future,” said Richard A. Duvall, chief executive officer, Carthage Area Hospital. “From realigning the organization to serve its communities more efficiently and effectively to improving staff and finances, the board and leadership are confident that a clinical affiliation with Crouse Health, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and River Hospital will strategically position us for years to come.”

“Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is committed to sustaining and enhancing the services we provide to our community,” said Nate Howell, president and chief executive officer, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. “An affiliation with Crouse Health, further backed by Northwell Health, will provide the tools we will need to successfully navigate upcoming health care challenges. I am excited that this partnership will further align CHMC with Carthage and River Hospitals, as it will enable us to tailor efforts for the North Country as a region.”

“The river communities we serve are deeply aware of the need for, and value of, a strong local Critical Access Hospital. The affiliation strengthens River Hospital by providing our patients access to a whole new level of specialized care,” said Ben Moore, chief executive officer, River Hospital. “With the ability to access physicians at partner institutions and the availability of advanced telemedicine supported through Crouse Health’s affiliation with Northwell Health, our patients and neighbors will receive an unprecedented level of comprehensive and compassionate care through a trusted local institution.”

“Crouse Health is proud to be affiliating with Carthage Area Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Hospital and River Hospital to enhance access to health care services in the North Country. Crouse shares many of the same attributes as these hospitals, including similar missions, open and transparent cultures and a focus on physician and employee engagement,” said Kimberly Boynton, Crouse Health president and CEO.

“Our focus will be on keeping health care local, where it belongs, but also offering the three hospitals the ability to develop relationships with Crouse for clinical programs or services that may not be available in the North Country, improve coordination of care, and take advantage of our partnership with Northwell Health,” said Seth Kronenberg, M.D., Crouse Health Chief Medical Officer. “The hospitals will also be able to collaborate to share best practices, both clinical and operational, and benefit from other economies of scale to ensure long-term financial, quality and operational sustainability.”

Through the affiliations, patients will gain access to specialized care and physicians throughout Central and Northern New York. They will be able to see specialists from the hospitals participating in the agreement when needed, either in the hospital, in physicians’ offices or through advanced telemedicine, which will be supported through Crouse Health’s affiliation with Northwell Health. This will enable quality diagnosis and treatment while eliminating unnecessary travel time or delays for patients in the North Country.

Crouse Health is a leading regional health care provider and a top 10 employer in Central New York, with 3,300 employees between two hospitals, Crouse and Community Memorial in Hamilton, N.Y., a combined medical staff of more than 900 physicians and multiple primary care sites.

The four institutions involved in the affiliations have a history of collaboration with each other and across the region. Such approaches are considered an important part of the future of health care.

In 2015, River Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center entered into a cooperative agreement to affiliate. Like the agreement announced today, the arrangement protects and enhances each organization’s respective mission, enhances the quality of services, increases efficiencies and lowers the cost of health care delivery in the St. Lawrence River region.

Carthage and Claxton-Hepburn obstetrics departments already partner with Crouse Health to ensure Northern New York patients receive the best possible perinatal and neonatal intensive care through Crouse’s state-designated regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and status as a Regional Perinatal Center. Because of this partnership, many Carthage and Claxton-Hepburn infants are treated in Crouse’s NICU every year.

River Hospital currently operates the country’s only civilian hospital-based outpatient PTS treatment program for active-duty military. Launched in February of 2013, the program initially served 10 soldiers a day from Fort Drum. Over the past three years the program has increased significantly. In 2016, River Hospital opened this program to veterans suffering from PTS.

In May, Crouse Health signed a similar clinical affiliation agreement with New Hyde Park, N.Y.–based Northwell Health. Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, more than 550 outpatient practices and 62,000 employees. Northwell is also the nation’s 14th largest health system.

Northwell has significant experience and expertise in areas such as care management, quality improvement, population health, data analytics and other key areas that will be of significant benefit to both Crouse and the three partner hospitals as health care transitions from a fee-for-service to a value-based model of care delivery.

About Carthage Area Hospital

Carthage Area Hospital was established as a not-for-profit rural community hospital in 1965. It operates today as a fully accredited 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, serving approximately 83,000 residents in Jefferson, northern Lewis and southern St. Lawrence counties and employing more than 450 physicians, nurses and support staff. It is a top employer in Jefferson County with an annual payroll of roughly $26 million. The hospital also operates a network of community-based clinics, including its Family Health Center, Pediatric Clinic and Women’s Way to Wellness and provides a range of specialty care, including general surgery, orthopedics, urology, physical therapy and behavioral health. Visit to learn more.

About Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 115-bed community hospital. Claxton-Hepburn includes 67 acute-care beds, a 10-bed intensive care unit, a 10-bed birthing center, and a 28-bed mental health center. The Medical Center provides primary care to nearly 40,000 residents of Ogdensburg and surrounding communities and regional services to the 110,000 people of St. Lawrence County. It is the largest employer in Ogdensburg and in the top five employers in St. Lawrence County with nearly 800 employees. Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center has an active medical staff of more than 50 physicians representing most specialties. Regional and countywide services include radiation and medical oncology provided by the Richard E. Winter Cancer Center, dialysis treatment provided by the Dr. Ravinder N. Agarwal Renal Center, the Rev. Thomas T. Patterson Wound Healing Center, and a robotics surgery program.

About River Hospital

River Hospital was designated as a Critical Access Hospital in 2003. Licensed for 15 acute care and nine swing beds, River Hospital also operates an active Emergency Room. Primary Family Health Care; Behavioral Health Services including Child and Adolescent, Adult, Intensive Outpatient Program for Veterans and a Partial Hospitalization Program for Active-Duty Military; Laboratory; Physical Therapy; Respiratory Therapy; Ambulatory Surgery and Radiology services are available. In addition, River Hospital offers a variety of on-site specialty services, improving access to care and reducing the need to travel outside of this area for such quality care. For additional information, visit our website at or call (315) 482-2511.

About Crouse Health
Crouse Health is a leading regional health care provider and a top 10 employer in Central New York, with 3,300 employees between two hospitals (Crouse and Community Memorial), a combined medical staff of more than 900 physicians and multiple primary care sites. Crouse is Central New York’s largest provider of maternity care services, delivering 4,000 babies annually, and is the designated regional referral center for high-risk neonatal intensive care services. Other areas of specialty include comprehensive diagnostic and interventional cardiac care (Crouse is home to CNY’s only pediatric cardiac catheterization program); internal medicine; surgical services (including the latest advancements in bariatric, GYN oncology and robotic surgery); orthopedics; neurosciences/stroke care; oncology; and the region’s only hospital-based chemical dependency treatment services for adolescents, adults and seniors. Crouse also operates the Pomeroy College of Nursing, providing nursing education to more than 300 students annually.

About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer and the 14th largest in the country, with 22 hospitals and more than 550 outpatient facilities. Its team cares for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Some 62,000 employees—15,000-plus nurses and nearly 3,400 physicians, including nearly 2,700 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners—are working to change health care for the better. Staff is making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute and training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies.

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