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Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle.  To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


Poor quality of sleep isn't a mere nighttime annoyance; it affects how you function during the daytime, too. Seeking treatment for a sleep disorder may help you be more productive, happier and healthier.

Sleeping disorders are linked to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and depression. "The impact of sleep on quality of life is huge, and consumers need to realize how important healthy sleep is, not in quantity but in quality," says Rachel Haigh-Blume, director of the Sleep Lab at Avera St. Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen, S.D.

If you have trouble sleeping, you're not alone. More than 70 million Americans have sleeping orders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can be dangerous since they affect your breathing during sleep.

Many factors can prevent you from receiving the full seven to nine hours of sleep that's recommended for adults. Cutting the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume can help sleep quality. Certain types of medications can affect your sleep, and so can heavy smoking, physical illness and daytime napping.

If you don't know what's causing your poor sleep, several Avera hospitals have sleep labs to determine the cause. A sleep lab technician monitors your vital signs during a night of sleep at the lab, and physicians analyze the results. Click here to watch a video about how a sleep study at the sleep lab can help people with sleep apnea. Then learn more about what a sleep lab can do for you.

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Many Midwestern states, including Minnesota and South Dakota, have banned smoking in public spaces in recent years. Avera supports smoke-free environments because of the positive impact on public health. If you're a smoker, make a resolution to quit smoking in 2011, both for yourself and your community.

Whether it's primary or secondary smoke, all smoke is harmful. For example, the inflammation in the lungs of a person who has breathed secondhand smoke is the same as the inflammation in the lungs of a person who has bronchitis. Eliminating smoke in public spaces has been shown to make a dramatic improvement to public health.

"In places where smoking bans have been implemented, a variety of studies show a reduction in the incidence of heart attacks. Sometimes it's as high as a 47-percent reduction," says Dr. Michael Pietila, a pulmonologist at Yankton Medical Clinic, P.C.

Avera physicians encourage their patients to quit smoking and make spaces smoke-free for the overall benefit of the community. Research shows that cigarettes reduce life expectancy for both smokers and those who are affected by secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke, which is especially detrimental to children, can cause asthma, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome. Set an example for your children by quitting.

To get help with smoking cessation, talk to your doctor or call the Avera Heart Hospital's Quit for Good Program at (605) 977-7000.

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Looking for a way to change up your side dishes? Try quinoa! A food that comes from South America, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a grain that often can be found in your grocery store's grain aisle, health market section or bulk-products area.

Quinoa is a good source of protein, dietary fiber and phosphorous, and you can use it the way you'd use rice or potatoes as a side dish. Since quinoa doesn't contain gluten, it's a great option for people with celiac disease. This pilaf can be a side dish either during the holidays or with a leaner cut of meat, such as a pork chop.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed with cold water and drained
1 cup hot chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
ground black pepper to taste
Sauté vegetables in olive oil until tender. Add quinoa, cook and stir for one minute. Add broth, bay leaf, lemon zest and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Discard bay leaf. Stir in peas and season to taste.

Nutrients Per Serving (Serves 4)
Calories: 123; Protein: 4g; Total Fat: 3.5g; Saturated Fat: 0.5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2.5 g; Carbohydrates: 9g; Fiber: 4g; Sodium: 121mg; Magnesium: 45mg; Potassium: 340mg

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In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.