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December 2012

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For more information about these items, or for other media requests, contact Cleveland Clinic's Corporate Communications at 216.444.0141.

December 2012

Tips on Quitting Smoking for the New Year

Quitting any form of tobacco use is a popular New Year’s resolution and one of the most important steps you can take to improve your overall health. Lauren Indorf, Nurse Practitioner at Cleveland Clinic’s Tobacco Treatment Center offers the following tips:

  • Set a realistic quit date and allow 2-4 weeks for planning.
  • Tell your friends and family you are quitting for support.
  • List your reasons for quitting.
  • Understand that withdrawal symptoms and cravings may come.
  • Begin or increase your exercise routine.
  • Consider assistance from a health care provider.

To learn more about quitting smoking, what to expect when someone does decide to quit or to coordinate an interview with Lauren Indorf, please contact Stephanie Jansky at or 216.636.5869.

Santa Can Be Stressful for Kids with Autism

All people, including children with autism, have different comfort levels when it comes to crowds, noise and new environments. A trip to see Santa Claus can be sensory overload for a child with autism and overwhelming for parents. Francine Dimitriou, Head of Project Development and Community Relations at Cleveland Clinic Children's Lerner School for Autism, offers tips for making the trip to see Santa a merry one:

  1. Create a short story to illustrate what the trip will be like. Use short sentences and pictures to explain how you will arrive there and what will happen once you bring them to see Santa.
  2. Print out a schedule for the day that includes their typical daily activities and illustrates when the visit to Santa will occur. This will help your child anticipate the change in his or her routine.
  3. Reinforce the situation by offering your child a reward if he or she behaves well during the trip.

For more tips and to coordinate an interview with Francine Dimitriou, please contact Abbey Linville at or 216.445.9274.

Avoid Holiday Heart with These Tips

The holidays are the most wonderful time of year, but for an adult with heart disease they can be dangerous. In his book Heart 411, co-author Dr. Marc Gillinov, staff surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, states that heart attack deaths tend to peak on Christmas Day. This is not just a result of cold weather. Unusual stressors come with the holidays. Below are some tips he offers to avoid holiday heart:

  • The holidays can be stressful. Plan ahead to minimize your stress.
  • Make a visit that includes exercise. Plan an outing like a walk, tennis or a trip to the gym with a friend or relative.
  • Toast the New Year—and savor the toast. Limit yourself to one drink for women and two for men.
  • Circle the buffet before making your choices. Make sure that you include some fresh and colorful vegetables.
  • If you or a loved one experiences any heart-related symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath) call 911. Don’t wait until after the holidays. Heart problems peak at Christmas and New Year’s.

For more tips on avoiding holiday heart or to interview Dr. Gillinov, please contact Tora Vinci at or 216.444.2412.

Tips for Women to Handle Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially for women that are trying to balance shopping, social gatherings, work deadlines and family obligations. Dr. Lauren Weber of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Specialized Women’s Health says that all stress isn’t bad and can be motivating if you learn to manage it. The first step is identifying the cause of stress to see if it can be eliminated. If not, there are several coping strategies to consider:

  • Make lists of all your tasks to stay organized
  • Writing thoughts and feelings in a journal as an outlet
  • Exercise, dance or yoga
  • Listen to or play music
  • Talk with a close friend

For more tips on handling holiday stress, please contact Halle Bishop at or 216.445.8592.

What to Consider when Buying a Gift for Your Older Loved One

Choosing the perfect holiday gift for your older loved one may be a challenge. It can appear that they have all they need but it’s still important to show them you care.

Dr. Amanda Lathia, staff physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Geriatric Medicine, recommends purchasing practical gifts or something that is personalized with sentimental meaning. Some ideas include gardening tools or books based on their hobbies. Or a photo album or frame with pictures reflecting a special memory.

To coordinate an interview with Dr. Lathia, please contact Jenny Popis at or 216.444.8853.

Colon Cleansing: Not Recommended for Everyone

Colon cleansing, also called colonic hydrotherapy and colonic irrigation, is becoming a popular treatment for digestive troubles and other health issues. It’s also becoming a trend among Hollywood stars. However, Dr. Brooke Gurland, surgeon with the Department of Colorectal Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, explains that colon cleansing is not for everyone.

The idea that the average person’s colon needs to be “cleansed” or that this offers health benefits is not proven and may come with adverse side effects like mild cramping, abdominal pain, nausea and soreness. Dr. Gurland says that most individuals can resolve digestive issues with gentler options like taking laxatives, probiotics or even through exercise. Some individuals should avoid it altogether including anyone with kidney or heart disease.

To coordinate an interview with Dr. Gurland, please contact Caroline Auger at or 216.636.5874.