HR Health & Wellness Blog

Articles, tips and other topics related to your overall health and financial benefits at UofL.

HR Health & Wellness Blog Banner

Jump to Topic:

Sleep Apnea Awareness(Posted 4/16/18)

Well Visits and Why They are Important(Posted 3/20/18)

Want to Quit Smoking? Tips and Aids(Posted 3/20/18)

Sleep Apnea Awareness

According to the Mayo Clinic website, “sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.”  The breathing pauses may last a few seconds or longer and trigger the body to switch into a different level of sleep and this leads to disruptions in the normal sleep cycle which can cause insomnia and/or daytime sleepiness.  You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly, and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep or wake up with morning headaches.  Many individuals have this problem and don’t even realize it   Symptoms such as loud snoring, pauses in breathing often followed by a snorting sound or a gasp is usually detected by a person’s partner.

Sleep apnea can be treated in various ways with the most important one being lifestyle changes such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol, sleeping on one’s side and stop smoking. Other measures include the use of a mouth appliance or more medically directed procedures such as using a breathing device (CPAP-Continuous positive airway pressure device).  As a last resort, surgery may be an option but requires the evaluation by a physician.

So, who gets sleep apnea as there are more than 200,000 cases per year in the United States?  Some of the common risk factors for sleep apnea include being overweight, over the age of 65, and individuals who are Hispanic, African-American or Pacific Island descent.  Also, people who smoke, use alcohol or sedatives and/or tranquilizers, and individuals with nasal congestion are at a higher risk.  Some of the physical issues that may cause sleep apnea are blockages which may include enlarged tonsils or narrowed airways.

Regular exercise is a good part of a good sleep hygiene program.  Remember, that the timing of exercise is important as you don’t want to vigorously exercise 2-4 hours before bedtime.  Also, it is a good idea to limit caffeine containing drinks in the evening such as coffee, tea and soda and avoid “heavy” evening meals, spicy food and alcohol consumption.  Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem and needs to be evaluated by a medical provider. Left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, and depression.

Post provided by UofL's Director of Pharmacy Utilization

Well Visits and Why They are Important

Posted 3/20/2018

 “I’m Not SICK, why should I visit the doctor?” Well visits at least once a year to your provider are important because we all know that prevention is the best alternative to a cure.  Yearly well visits allows you and your doctor to spot health problems and risk factors before they turn into major issues.  If something happens to turn up with your health because it is identified earlier, treatment is more likely to be more effective.  Also well visits are a great time for assessing your general health.  Blood pressure check, cholesterol levels and weight can also be evaluated and your doctor can be a great source of support if you have numbers that are off.

Well visits are a great time to schedule preventive screenings (such as a colonoscopy or mammogram), and for assessing your susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes and cancer.  It is also a great time to get up to date with your vaccinations.

Finally, well visits can help you assess your mental health by talking with someone you trust about such issues as stress, anxiety and depression.  Your doctor is very knowledgeable about the mind/body connection and can offer you some solutions to help you cope with issues that have arisen since your last visit.  Remember that this is your visit, so come to the appointment with questions to ask and talk about your family health history.

Give yourself the gift of great health and schedule your well visit with your primary care provider today.  You’ll be glad you did.

Post provided by UofL's Director of Pharmacy Utilization

Want to Quit Smoking? Tips and Aids

Posted 3/20/2018

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), “No matter how much you smoke — or for how long — quitting will benefit you.

Not only will you lower your risk of getting various cancers, including lung cancer, you’ll also reduce your chances of having heart disease, a stroke, emphysema, and other serious diseases. Quitting also will lower the risk of heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmokers who otherwise would be exposed to your secondhand smoke.

Although there are benefits to quitting at any age, it is important to quit as soon as possible so your body can begin to heal from the damage caused by smoking. For instance, 12 hours after you quit smoking the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Carbon monoxide is harmful because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives your heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen.” (Source:

Resources Available to You:

FDA Tobacco Education Campaign website EveryTryCounts: This page offers encouraging tips and pointers to quit smoking.

Get Healthy Now Smoking Cessation Program: Get Healthy Now offers a smoking cessation program for both individuals on the Belknap campus and the Health Sciences campus. Visit or call 502/852-7755 for more information.

UofL Health Plan Coverage: If you are enrolled in a U of L Health Plan you can get Nicotine Replacement products (patches, gum and lozenges) at no charge if you have a prescription after seeing a provider.  You can also get other non-nicotine medications such as Chantix (varenicline) and Zyban (buproprion) at no charge with a prescription. 

Quit Now Kentucky: A free telephone or online service that helps people stop using tobacco products through information, advice, support, and referrals. Contact at 1-800-784-8669.

SmokeFreeTXT: This text messaging program provides 24/7 encouragement, advise, and tips to help smokers stop smoking. Visit to sign up.

American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking (FFS) Clinic: For adults who are ready to quit smoking.  You can get additional information for local classes either online ( or by calling 502-574-STOP(7867).  Classes are located around Louisville for your convenience.

KCP (Kentucky Cancer Program): This collaboration between UofL and UK can be a resource for helping you select which smoking cessation programs through their Plan to be Tobacco Free.

Additional resources may be found at

Understanding how smoking cessation products work can help you determine which product may be best for you. Reading the labels and talking to your pharmacist and/or other health care providers are good first steps to take. Quitting smoking is one of the best life choices that you can make and using the support mechanisms in place will help you be successful.  Be a quitter, take your health seriously and support a healthy life style by becoming someone who was a smoker.  Your body will THANK YOU!

Post provided by UofL's Director of Pharmacy Utilization.