Trident Health

Trident Health is a 407-bed HCA hospital system comprised of two acute care hospitals- Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center- as well as two free standing emergency departments- Centre Pointe Emergency and Moncks Corner Medical Center. The Joint Commission recently named Trident Health to their list of the nation’s top hospitals for quality and safety for the fourth year in a row.

Summer Safety Series: What You Should Consider Before Enjoying the Water

The heat is on in the Lowcountry, and we’re excited to soak up the sun! But not so fast–before
you head out on the boat, take a dive in the pool, or catch some waves at the beach, consider water safety.

To make the most of summer fun in the sun, we caught up with Trident Health Emergency Services Coordinator Kevin Varnadoe, who says water safety cannot be over stressed. As you pack your beach bag and don your swim suit, be prepared with these tips:

  • Never swim alone! Always have a partner.
  • Children should always be accompanied by an adult.
  • When boating or on jet skis, wear a life jacket.
  • Bring your cell phone. There are many waterproof bags, covers, etc.
  • Alcohol and water activities do not mix. Choose sobriety around water.

Approximately 72 South Carolinians die each year due to drowning, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“Drowning is all too common especially in young people and children,” says Varnadoe. “Most drowning victims are children who have not been properly supervised around water. The most common excuse from the caregiver is, “I only left them for a second.” In one case, the baby sitter left the child just long enough to grab a soda from the fridge; that’s all it takes.”

In the event of an emergency, call 911 or head to your closest emergency room.

This is the first article in our Summer Safety Series. Brought to you by the Trident Health h2u (Health to You) program, a community outreach initiative connecting consumers with health and wellness resources, this will be a three part event including topics such as heat safety, the importance of hydration and how to avoid getting injured while riding bikes. Keep an eye out for these blog posts in the coming months!

Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine - Brought to you by h2u

By Jennifer Hasting, Dietetic Intern

23,200. According to the CDC, that’s the number of South Carolinians likely to be diagnosed with cancer this year.

14,500. That’s the number of results from an Internet search engine inquiry for books about “cancer fighting foods.”

If these statistics are any indicator, then it is quite apparent that cancer is a concern among many of today’s consumers. With cancer being a disease that so often leaves people feeling powerless, more are now searching for ways to take treatment and prevention into their own hands. Despite what you may have seen on TV or read in a magazine, there is no magic cancer-fighting bullet—no special pill, tea or supplement that will be the disease cure-all.

Don’t despair! Scientists who study the relationship of food and chronic disease are increasingly finding evidence that certain naturally occurring components of food (particular vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) have anti-cancer properties. Research is still needed to pinpoint exactly what these compounds are doing in our body, but it is becoming increasingly clear that diet can play a major role in the fight against cancer.

Antioxidants 101

You might now know what it means, but you’ve likely seen or heard the word ‘antioxidants’ at least a dozen or so times before. The word isn’t as intimidating as it seems. Let’s break it down, starting with ‘-oxidant.’ Just like it sounds, an oxidant is a molecule that contains oxygen. This oxygen-containing molecule can interact with (oxidize) other molecules in the body and create things called free radicals—highly reactive atoms. This is a normal process in the body, but too much oxidation can be a bad thing. It can lead to chronic inflammation, which scientists now believe to be the source of many of today’s chronic illnesses, including cancer. Now tack on the prefix ‘anti-’, and you get a word that means something that works against this oxidation process. Antioxidants safely interact with free radicals and stop the chain of reactions that lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.

Food Fight

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “A healthy diet can lower your risk for developing cancer. And if you have been diagnosed, eating well can positively support treatment, and help you live well for years to come after treatment.”

The American Institute for Cancer Research’s website has a list of common foods with cancer fighting abilities. Here’s a list of my top five favorites, and the reasons why:

  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries . . . you pick! They are all chock-full of cancer-fighting antioxidant nutrient vitamin C and many phytochemicals. Ellagic acid, in particular, has been associated with skin, bladder, lung, esophagus and breast cancers. Plus, berries are great sources of fiber, which may decrease risk for colorectal cancer.
  • Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli and its cruciferous cousins cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, rapini and Brussels sprouts don’t get as much attention as the dark, leafy greens kale and collard greens, but they have just as many cancer-fighting nutrients. Vitamin C, beta-carotene and glucosinolates, to name a few, are in all of these yummy veggies!
  • Garlic: I don’t know about you, but I put garlic in everything! Did you know it’s considered a vegetable? It is part of the allium family that includes onions, leeks, and scallions. Garlic has the phytochemicals quercetin and allixin and other organic compounds. Studies show that these compounds might have the ability to slow the growth of tumors in the prostate, bladder, colon, and stomach.
  • Dried beans and peas: Not only are beans, peas, and lentils great sources of plant-based protein, but they also have unique substance called resistant starch that protects colon cells. They’re also a source of lignans, saponins and folate, which studies show might help reduce pancreatic cancer risk. What’s good for the gut is good for you!
  • Coffee: Yes, I love coffee for the daily morning perk it gives me, but I also love it because it is a concentrated source of antioxidants! Chlorogenic and quinic acids are just two of the phytochemicals that have been linked to lowered risk of endometrial and liver cancers.

Other foods with cancer-fighting properties include whole grains, tea, tomatoes, walnuts and soy. The key thing to remember is that there is no magic bullet - no one particular nutrient that is the source for all things anti-cancer. It is the combination of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that improve our health and give us the best chance of being cancer free.

Make a goal this month to include at least two of the cancer-fighting foods a day!

Nutrition remains an important aspect of care even after diagnosis. Trident Health Cancer Center dietitian, Alisha Bowen, also emphasizes the importance of eating a well-rounded diet during treatment. According to Bowen, “Including fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet can provide you with the energy needed to feel your best throughout treatment. Make sure to include a protein with each meal and snack. Eating well also helps maintain weight. Regardless of your pre-treatment weight, weight loss should never be a goal during cancer treatments.”

Alisha Bowen, RD and Trident Health Chef Toan Nguyen participating in a cooking demo

To make an appointment with a Trident Health dietitian, have your physician fax a referral to 1-877-609-9754.

Education, awareness key to ending stigma of postpartum depression - Brought to you by h2u

By guest blogger Holly Fisher

New moms – especially first-time moms – ride a roller coaster of emotions from excitement to trepidation. They can’t wait to hold their new baby and yet they worry they won’t know how to care for this tiny human being.

And after the baby comes, there’s a dramatic fluctuation in hormones levels, too little sleep and worries over issues like colic or breastfeeding struggles. It’s enough to make any woman feel a little on edge. For the majority of women, though, their tears and mood swings subside after a couple of weeks.

For another 20 percent of women, these feelings don’t go away. In fact, they worsen. For these women, postpartum depression (PPD) or anxiety is very real and can be a scary start to a new phase in their live.

Symptoms include:

  • Periods of depression and/or anxiety
  • Fear of harm to the baby
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Disturbing, scary thoughts
  • Suicidal ideation

Most women know something is very wrong, but they may not know exactly what it is or what to do. That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women, new moms and their family members to be aware of postpartum depression. Being able to recognize the signs means women can get help quickly. And that is key. Postpartum depression is very treatable and with the right combination of medication, counseling and a support group, most women fully recover.

Unfortunately, many women are too embarrassed and ashamed to come forward. They are expected to be head over heels in love with their new babies. They are expected to become immediate and natural mothers. Having to admit they are struggling goes against everything that is expected of them.

This is why education, awareness and support are so important. Women have to realize they aren’t alone. Many women have suffered PPD and come out on the other side.

Postpartum Support Charleston is a local nonprofit committed to supporting, educating and healing in our community. It provides two monthly support groups for women going through postpartum mental health issues as well as one-on-one peer support and support for fathers. Postpartum Support Charleston provides grants, which are sponsored by Trident Health, to women who need assistance covering the cost of treatment for postpartum mental health issues. In addition, volunteers are available for educational presentations, and brochures, posters and other materials are available for free to moms’ groups, medical offices and hospitals.

We want women to know they are not alone and they have a supportive place to turn. They don’t have to pretend everything is OK when it’s not.

The entire community can join us in our mission at the 12 th annual Moms’ Run + Family Fun Day presented by Trident Health on Saturday, May 9 at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. A major fundraiser for Postpartum Support Charleston, this 5K run/walk and family event celebrates mothers while bringing hope and healing to women in our community.

The race begins at 8:30 a.m. and is followed by a family friendly festival with free food, activities for children, entertainment, a silent auction and more. For more information on Postpartum Support Charleston and the Moms’ Run, visit

Holly Fisher is president of the Postpartum Support Charleston board of directors. She lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband and 7-year-old daughter.

Thinking Fast Can Be a Stroke of Genius - Brought to you by h2u

By guest blogger Jennifer Hasting, Dietetic Intern

Mayday, mayday!

Did you know that May is National Stroke Awareness Month? As a resident of the Lowcountry, stroke awareness should certainly be on your mind (no pun intended). Why? South Carolina is among 11 states that lie in the so-called Stroke Belt, where risk for having a stroke is 34% higher than other areas of the country. Having awareness of this statistic, however, is the first step towards taking action!

What is a Stroke?

Essentially, a stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain gets interrupted. Like a heart attack, this can happen if a blood vessel gets blocked (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke) causing blood to leak into unwanted areas. As a result, cells in that part of the brain become deprived of blood. Cells without blood are also cells without oxygen—and nothing can live without oxygen! Unlike a heart attack that affects only the heart muscle, damaged or dead brain cells affect all parts of the body. Those who survive a stroke can have problems with memory, thinking, and learning, but also experience physical complications. They can have difficulty forming speech, have numbness or pain in different areas of the body, and even suffer from long-term paralysis. Many people with stroke suffer emotionally as well, and some develop depression as a result.

How to decrease your risk

Some risk factors like age (55 years and older), gender (women have more strokes than men), race (African Americans are 46% more likely to die from stroke in South Carolina than Caucasians), and genetics cannot be changed. However, the American Heart Association states nearly 80% of the factors that increase the chance of having a stroke can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes. Here are some things you can do now to decrease your risk in the future:

  • Get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke in the US.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A diet low in saturated fat, trans fats, and sodium can help prevent high blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, both of which increase stroke risk. A low calorie diet can help maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity, another risk factor for stroke.
  • Stay smoke free. The chemicals in cigarettes damage the lining of blood vessels, among other things, increasing stroke risk.
  • Be active. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can decrease your risk for high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Know the Warning Signs

Stroke is no joke! It is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention. For every minute that passes in which the brain isn’t receiving adequate blood flow, about 1.9 million brain cells die, according to the American Stroke Association. The less time it takes to seek treatment, the less damage is likely to be done. According to the National Stroke Association, make sure you know these warning signs and think FAST:

  • F - Face drooping: Is one side of the face drooping or numb? Ask the person to smile to look for unevenness.
  • A - Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. An arm that drifts downward is a warning sign.
  • S - Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or difficult to understand? Ask a person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T - Time to Call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately.

If possible, pay attention to the time when you first noticed any of these symptoms so the medical team can provide you with the best care possible.

Most importantly, make this May the month to learn about your own stroke risk. Come out for our stroke risk screening on Thursday, May 7 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Screening is being held at the Trident Medical Center Heart Failure Clinic, 9330 Medical Plaza Drive, North Charleston, 29406. We are also hosting a Lunch and Learn at Noon on the importance of early stroke detection. We hope to see you there!

Breastfeeding 101 - Brought to you by h2u

By guest blogger Chelsea Rice, Dietetic Intern

Health organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Medical Association (AMA), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all agree that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for infants; yet breastfeeding is not always as simple as some make it seem. Breastfeeding takes a bit of practice, patience and perseverance. Whether you're a new mom or a parent of multiple children, here are some answers to common questions about getting started, and tips on ways to simplify breastfeeding.

When should I begin breastfeeding?

A lactation consultant should be able to provide the help and answer any questions about the first step in breastfeeding while you are at the hospital. It is important to ideally start breastfeeding within the hour after birth because:

  1. It helps you become more confident in breastfeeding
  2. Your baby is able to receive colostrum, or the first breastmilk; which provides protection against infection and disease
  3. The bowels and digestion in your baby is stimulated
  4. The bond between you and your baby is enhanced

How should I hold my baby?

There are several different nursing positions, which are described below. It is recommended that you experiment with each position to figure out which one is most comfortable for you and your baby.

  1. Cradle Hold: The traditional hold many mothers will try, holding the baby across the chest using the arm on the same side as the nursing breast to support the baby.
  2. Clutch (or Football) Hold: This position holds the baby at the side, where the baby doesn’t put pressure on the mother’s belly. This position is good for mothers who have had a C-section, with large breasts, or have had twins.
  3. Cross-Cradle (or Crossover) Hold: Similar to the cradle, this position involves using the arm on the opposite side as the nursing breast to support the baby.
  4. Side-Lying Position: This position, in which the mother lies on her side facing the baby, allows moms to relax during feedings and is also a common choice for mothers who’ve had a C-section.

How can I make breastfeeding more comfortable?

Once you find the most comfortable nursing position, breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding experience. Here are some other pointers to help you feel comfortable and relaxed during each feeding:

  1. Keep a breastfeeding basket near your regular nursing areas at home. Fill each basket with water bottles, healthy snacks, magazines and books, plenty of burp clothes and electronic devices such as a TV remote, phone, etc.
  2. Find the most comfortable seating arrangement and stick to it, so your baby feels comfortable as well. Many mothers enjoy sitting in a glider or a chair with armrests.
  3. Rest your feet! Use footstools and pillows to provide extra support, including wraparound nursing pillows or the “husband” back pillows with arms on each side.

As a busy mother, how can I simplify breastfeeding?

Sometimes day-to-day life tasks can be exhausting and overwhelming, and the addition of breastfeeding adds extra stress onto your busy day. Try these products to help simplify the breastfeeding process:

  1. Purchase nursing tops, dresses, and sleepwear: Trendy clothing lines are now being created so busy mothers on- the- go are able to breastfeed no matter the location. These clothing lines include dresses, tops, bras, and sleepwear. Find yours today at online stores such as and!
  2. Purchase a baby sling: A baby sling is a wonderful product that gives mothers an extra set of hands. It allows the mother to continue her daily activities while still bonding with her infant. It also allows a simple hands-free breastfeeding solution.
  3. Download the nursing app for iPhone or iPad: Stay on top of breastfeeding by downloading the App “Baby Tracker: Nursing”. This app allows you to enter the time you breastfed, what side you used and allows you to create a breastfeeding schedule that is perfect for both you and your baby.
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