Get Moving, Nashville! 4 Hikes You Need to Take this Fall

Fall weather is on its way! As the leaves begin to change and the summer heat rolls off the Cumberland Plateau, now is the best time of the year to strike out in search of local trailheads! Whether you’re a native or a newcomer, make sure you check off these four parks before the leaves drop…

Did you know? The American Heart Association recommends “at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.” That’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

#1 Radnor Lake State Park (SOUTH)

Serene, quiet, an oasis in the city. You’re guaranteed to find Radnor Lake’s East and West parking lots at max capacity on a nice weekend day, any time of the year! The best time to visit this 1,368-acre park and its 6+ miles of trails is just before sunrise. Take your dog and enjoy a brisk run around the lake. Or, get your muscles burning with an ascent of Ganier Ridge Trail (where pets and running/jogging is strictly forbidden). Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Nashville, you’ll feel like you’ve driven hours away as soon as you take the first step onto one of Radnor’s rugged ridge trails. Get info.

#2 Percy & Edwin Warner Parks (WEST)

Just a 16-minute drive southwest of St. Thomas Medical Group, you’ll find Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, which offer a diverse network of hiking trails, green spaces, mountain bike trails, horse trails, and cross country running courses. From marathon trainees to evening amblers, the Warner Parks attract all types. Grab a map and allow yourself to wander freely, discovering the many creeks and overlooks these parks have to offer. Get info.

#3 Shelby Bottoms Greenway (EAST)

With five miles of paved trails, beautiful wetlands, sweeping river views, and some less-trafficked primitive trails, there’s a lot to love about Shelby Bottoms. If hiking isn’t up your alley, take to Shelby Bottoms Greenway with a bike. Much of the greenway is level, paralleling the Cumberland river, which makes for an easy and pleasant ride in the fall weather. Get info.

#4 Beaman Park (NORTH)

While Shelby Bottoms Greenway is busy, developed, and largely flat, Beaman Park offers a rugged alternative on the northwest side of town. Take the Ridge Top Trail for incredible views and some steep climbs. Marvel at the changing leaves and take in the views as you hike this Nashville gem! Get info.

Find a Partner In Your Health: Nashville Doctors Near You

At St. Thomas Medical Group, primary care physicians partner with patients from all areas of Nashville with a common goal: better health. Hiking and other forms of moderate and vigorous cardiovascular exercise can become a part of your routine health habits. To learn more about how you can better care for your heart – and yourself! – schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group. You can schedule online or by calling +1 (615) 297-2700.

World Alzheimer’s Month: 10 Signs Every Adult Should Know

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia, “a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion.”

Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia account for nine out of ten cases of dementia. Symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Personality and mood changes
  • Difficulty in performing daily, routine tasks
  • Difficulty in using words or comprehending others

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, we may be able to improve outcomes by making earlier diagnosis and providing patients and their families with better support and information.

Recognize Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

This September, in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, internal medicine doctors at St. Thomas Medical Group are encouraging Nashvillians to learn the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s (via Alzheimer’s Association).

  1. Memory loss disrupting daily life. It’s not uncommon to forget names or appointments as you age, but routinely forgetting information or asking for the same information on a repeat basis could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
  2. Difficulty in planning or problem-solving. Occasional errors are normal at any age, of course. But individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may exhibit greater difficulty concentrating on problems. Working through challenges could take longer than in the past.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Driving, budgeting, or remember rules to a game could be challenging for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
  4. Time/place confusion. Not understanding where you are or how you got there could be a sign of dementia.
  5. Difficulty judging distance or color/contrast. Difficulty judging spatial relationships can make tasks like driving risky and difficult.
  6. Losing words (speaking or writing). Stopping mid-sentence or using odd word choice can be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
  7. Misplacing items. It’s not uncommon for individuals with Alzheimer’s to place items in unusual spots. In some cases, this can lead to the individual accusing others of stealing.
  8. Poor judgement. Affected individuals may lose their ability to exercise good judgement or make sound decisions.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social life. From time to time, we all need a break from the demands of work, family, and friends. But for individuals with Alzheimer’s, the step back may be more pronounced and longer lasting.
  10. Mood and personality changes. Many patients with Alzheimer’s may exhibit confusion, suspicion, depression or other new behaviors.

Find an Internal Medicine Doctor in Nashville

For more information about Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care, contact St. Thomas Medical Group. Call +1 (615) 297-2700.

Should I Get My Thyroid Checked Out?

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a tiny gland at the base of the neck that has an incredible amount of control over many of the body’s functions. The thyroid is critical in regulating hormones that affect everything from metabolism to body temperature to heart rate. When the thyroid is functioning as normal, we give it very little thought. In people with under- or overactive thyroids, however, symptoms can be quite uncomfortable.

What are the symptoms produced by hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid produces too much thyroxine (the “thyroid hormone”). This can cause a number of symptoms, including:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Tremor in the hands and fingers
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased heat sensitivity
  • Sweating
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety, irritability, nervousness
  • Swelling at the base of the neck
  • …and others

If you experience any of these symptoms – especially rapid heartbeat and/or unexplained weight loss – be sure to see your primary care provider in Nashville for an evaluation. While these signs and symptoms are certainly not exclusive to hyperthyroidism, they can be indicators of a serious thyroid condition.

What are the symptoms produced by hypothyroidism?

While some people struggle with an overactive thyroid, others are troubled by a thyroid gland that doesn’t produce enough thyroxine. Women over the age of 60 are most likely to experience hypothyroidism, though anyone can develop this condition. The good news is, once diagnosed, hypothyroidism can oftentimes be managed easily through the prescription of a synthetic thyroid hormone.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in the joints
  • Achy, tender or stiff muscles
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Increased cold sensitivity
  • Hoarseness

How can I get care for thyroid issues?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described here, see your primary care doctor for an evaluation. If you don’t have a primary care doctor in Nashville, contact St. Thomas Medical Group to schedule an appointment. Your physician may be able to provide a diagnosis and treatment through oral medication.

When is thyroid surgery recommended?

Thyroid surgery may be recommended for patients with nodules on the thyroid. (Note that there is not necessarily a correlation between the presence of nodules and hormone levels or thyroid function.) At St. Thomas Medical Group, surgical treatment is performed by surgeons at Nashville ENT and Allergy Clinic; all physicians are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery.

During the procedure, which is typically done using a minimally invasive approach, a small incision is made for removing the nodules. Patients typically go home that day. Downtime from the surgery is as little as a few days.

For more information about thyroid care, contact Nashville ENT and Allergy Clinic at St. Thomas Medical Group. Call +1 (615) 386-9089.