September is National Cholesterol Education Month

Education is key to preventing stroke and cardiovascular disease.

While COVID-19 continues to remain top of mind for us all, and with good reason, we must not forget about other health dangers that pose a threat to millions of Americans. September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and Faith Community Health System urges the community to take a moment to learn more about how controlling your cholesterol level can prevent the onset of dangerous health conditions and diseases.

Increased cholesterol levels contribute to various cardiovascular conditions, including heart disease and stroke – two of the top five causes death in the United States. Although the number of Americans who die from these conditions has fallen over the past five decades, much work remains to educate each other of the dangers of high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that your body needs to function. It circulates through your arteries. There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

HDL is a “good type” that circulates through the bloodstream, helping to remove bad cholesterol. LDL is the “bad type,” which physicians typically refer to when discussing cholesterol levels. When LDL levels increase, this fat-like substance builds along the walls of the arteries. When large mounds build, blood clots can occur, causing several health conditions, including stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 55 percent of adults in the U.S. who need medication to lower their cholesterol are taking it. That means the other 45 percent of adults with high cholesterol could be in danger of cardiovascular illnesses.

The clinical laboratory at Faith Community Hospital can provide cholesterol screening. A lipid/cholesterol test panel, which is commonly ordered by physicians, measures levels of total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL, along with triglycerides.

For cholesterol screenings to be effective, patients should fast for up to 12 hours before having blood drawn for the lipid test panel.

Fasting helps the body regulate any foods previously consumed, thus providing a more accurate reading of the body’s normal cholesterol levels. Failure to fast before this screening could skew the data.

Individuals age 20 and older have their cholesterol levels checked every four to six years as part of a cardiovascular risk assessment, according to the American Heart Association. Those with elevated risks may be asked by their medical providers to be screened more often.

Individuals with high cholesterol levels should make essential lifestyle changes to lower their risks of developing cardiovascular complications. Lifestyle changes typically recommended by physicians include a change in diet and increased physical activity.

The excellent news is cholesterol levels can be controlled with well-balanced diets that exclude saturated and trans fats. Diets that include “good fats,” such as polyunsaturated fats, can help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Increasing daily exercise can help lower cholesterol levels. Adults who engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 2.5 hours each week are shown to have a greater likelihood of lowering their cholesterol levels.

For individuals with severe cases of high cholesterol, a medical provider may order additional tests and recommend medication to help lower cholesterol levels. The clinical laboratory at Faith Community Hospital is equipped to perform comprehensive medical screenings.

With the capability to perform many screenings in-house, the hospital’s lab is very convenient. Plus, since insurance policies cover most of the fees, your medical provider might also recommend other lab work as part of an overall health exam.

Education about cholesterol is vital. Individuals are encouraged to do their research and talk with their primary medical provider about cholesterol and their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

If you or a loved one is concerned about cholesterol and cardiovascular conditions, please contact a Faith Community Rural Health Clinic in Jacksboro, Bowie, or Alvord.

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A Doctor’s Journey: Dr. Aujla Retires

Raj Aujla, son of Surinder and Virginia Aujla, shares his dad’s personal story upon his retirement after 40 years as a medical doctor.

All journeys have a starting point, places to stop along the way, and a destination.

Most people spend their lives close to where they grew up, surrounded by the comfort of people and things that are familiar. Not many journeys begin on a different continent, 8,584 miles away, from the place someone is meant to end up. But, this isn’t an ordinary story.

This is the story of a man some are lucky to know as a husband and father, but most know him as Dr. Aujla. He was the oldest of five children born to Joginder and Ajaib Aujla. His journey began in Nairobi, Kenya on April 12, 1946.

Britain had colonized East Africa and its presence in that part of world was heavily dependent on Indian assistance, Sikhs in particular. They were to govern over the region and build and maintain its infrastructure and develop the agricultural sectors of the economy.

My dad’s father and grandfather worked on the East African Railroad, which was an integral part of linking the region’s port city of Mombasa to cities further inland. As a child, dad enjoyed the wide open spaces of Kenya and had the good fortune of having a grandfather who instilled in him a love for the outdoors, of which there was an abundance in East Africa explained Dr. Aujla.

The future doctor attended school in Nairobi as a young boy and graduated high school in 1962. Around that time, British rule in East Africa had run its course and the family decided that it was time to move to England where my grandmother’s older brothers had moved a few years earlier. However, the time spent in Kenya was important because it set the course that led to the destination, as far away as it may have been.

His next stop was England. Surinder enrolled in junior college in Nottingham, England in 1963 and finished in 1965.

Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to be when they grow up and actually see their goal through.Dad is one of them.

He started medical school at the University of Sheffield in 1965 and completed it in 1970. After a brief post-graduate internship, he started a surgical residency in Harrow, England in 1971.

That may have been the most important year of his journey, not because of medical school, but because it’s the year he met my mom, Virginia Harron. She was a nurse in Harrow Hospital, an independent woman making her own way.

Aujla continued his surgical residency in London until 1977 when he transitioned to a senior surgical resident. There was a brief trip to Canada where he practiced medicine in Newfoundland, on the Coast of Labrador Sea.

It could have been the freezing cold of far Northeast Canada that prompted him to look for warmer climates or it may have been a longing for those wide open spaces he enjoyed as a boy in East Africa. You’d have to ask him, but there’s little doubt the places he stopped along the way were all leading to his destination.

His next stop was Austin. I’m not exactly sure what compelled dad to get on a plane in 1979 and head to Texas but I’m glad he did.

Even though he had already qualified as a surgeon and was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, he had to take an exam to qualify as a physician in Texas.

He took that test in Austin, passed the exams and set off in search of a job, in a new country, with no family by his side and no safety net.

His destination was finally Bowie. This was 8,584 miles away from the start of the journey. So many things had to fall in place for dad to make his way to Bowie. I’ve heard people say, “Don’t get so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey.”

I’m not sure that saying fits here because a kid in East Africa couldn’t have foreseen his destination in Bowie. But I’m sure he enjoyed his journey which crossed three continents, provided an education and many life experiences that were all working in unison to prepare dad to reach his destination. But, reaching your destination is just part of the story.

What do you do when you get there? Will you be able to make it? Will the people accept you as part of the community? Will Virginia agree to move to a town in North Texas that’s she never seen? So many questions that I would have had, but luckily, everything turned out all right. Better than all right.

I remember dad telling me how when he first moved to town that he had a hard time understanding his patients’ Texas drawl. No doubt his patients had a hard time understanding him as well. I would think being able to communicate with your patients is sort of a big deal, but he got help with that and in time developed his own Texas drawl and became part of the community.

However, dad could have used help with how to communicate a marriage proposal because he proposed to mom through a Bowie News article. Yeah, you read that right.

He mailed an article to mom to let her know that she was coming to Bowie to be his wife. Lucky for him, she saw the humor in it and agreed to take a leap of faith and move to Bowie. Lucky for a lot of us Dr. Aujla exclaimed.

Dad’s career is worthy of an entire separate story, but that’s not what this is about. You know him because he’s a doctor. But now I hope you know some of his journey that led him to be a doctor in Bowie.

Now that I’m an adult with a job, a daughter and all of the obligations that come with life, I sometimes think about how remarkable dad’s career has been.

For more than 30 years, he operated almost every morning, saw patients in the afternoon and some how managed to have a life outside of work for which we’ll be forever grateful.

Dad had his own clinic for a while and also operated in Nocona on Tuesdays. Later in his career, he operated in Jacksboro, too. He really cared for his patients. He never complained, that I can remember, about the stresses that come with going to bed knowing that the next morning someone’s life would literally be in his hands.

He also served as the medical director for the Bowie emergency medical services and very much enjoyed the relationships he made there. If you ask him, he would tell you that he just did his job. But if you’ve been his patient, you know better.

He not only excelled at being a doctor, he truly enjoyed it. I’m just glad that he chose to do it here. However, being a good doctor is just part of the story. Remember the start of the journey in Nairobi, Kenya? Sure, it was thousands of miles from here but dad’s journey is a good example that distance is just a way to mark the space between two places.

Outside of the office, dad is in overalls, on his four-wheeler, looking at his cows, chickens, the orchard, his bees, goats, coastal field and checking on how much water is in the tank. He knows when it’s time to take a calf to the sale barn, when to fertilize the coastal field and when to plant a garden.

He learned all of that here, but the desire to learn those things started as a boy in East Africa. There’s a good chance dad was likely born with the skill and desire to enjoy the outdoors and farming as the Sikhs are widely recognized as successful farmers. I guess you could say that even though the journey began far away, the destination makes sense. Bowie fits.

Bowie isn’t London where mom and dad could have had comfortably stayed and started our family. It no doubt would have been easier for them to stay close to family but making the decision to continue the journey led to something different, something that’s hard to write about without feeling like you can’t put it into words. Our family has had a blessed life here and without dad continuing his journey to find his destination, none of it would have happened.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have been a part of what made the destination so fitting. Bowie isn’t perfect, neither is dad, but it worked. It worked very well and I think he got more out of it than he put in. And he put a lot in. Just because dad’s work is finished doesn’t mean the journey is; only that it’s time say, job well done.

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It’s Not a Good Idea to Delay the Healthcare You Need

Taking care of your health is more important than ever.

Now, more than ever, many of us are focused on the state of our health. Staying at home more, avoiding large gathering, and wearing masks in public settings. These are the realities of living in the new COVID-19 era.

Health and medical safety extend beyond our risks for COVID-19, however.  There is so much more to address beyond the coronavirus, and delaying care for any issue can be detrimental to our health.

It’s natural to be fearful of contracting COVID-19 but delaying the healthcare services you need is never a good idea.

Recent reports have found that hospitals and clinics across the country have seen a dramatic decrease in patient visits. Alarmingly, one study found that as many as 50 percent of heart attack patients delayed care due to fear of COVID-19.

Heart-related events, including heart attacks and strokes, are medical emergencies that require immediate medical care. Other conditions, such as serious injuries and bleeding, also require prompt medical care.

Staying home and trying to wait out symptoms can allow a health condition to progress and lead to further suffering – or worse. If you need healthcare services, do not wait. Delaying medical care for serious health conditions can pose a serious risk to your health.

But it is also important not to skip medical care for minor health concerns and preventive care.

Wellness exams, cancer screenings, diabetes screenings and immunizations are all key to detecting potential health issues early and ensuring that you are in optimal health. If you are overdue for any of these, now is a great time to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

Annual wellness exams allow your provider to evaluate your health and ensure that you are caught up on important health screenings. They also allow you and your provider to discuss any health issues or concerns that you might have so that you can take steps to improve your quality of life and improve your overall wellness.

Many families have suffered financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Fortunately, Medicare and most insurance plans cover wellness exams once a year. Wellness exams can also help patients save on medical bills down the road by catching health conditions early – or preventing them altogether.

In Jacksboro and surrounding communities, Faith Community Rural Health Clinics are open and seeing patients for a variety of health needs, including care for certain acute conditions and preventive screenings.

You can rest assured knowing that medical care is available in a safe environment at Faith Community Hospital and clinics in Jacksboro, Bowie, or Alvord.

Cleanliness is something that we always take seriously, and Faith Community Health System has taken extra steps to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

We have also recently begun offering telemedicine appointments so that you can access healthcare from the comfort of your own home.  Please contact your primary care physician to determine if you are a candidate for Telehealth.  

Appointments can be scheduled for several services, including DOT and sports physicals, Texas Health Steps, allergy shots, comprehensive adolescent and adult health services, prenatal care visits, well-women exams, Medicare screenings, immunizations, and annual wellness exams.

Your health cannot wait. Get the healthcare services you need to stay healthy.

For more information about annual wellness visits, or to find a local medical provider, please contact a Faith Community Rural Health Clinic in Jacksboro, Bowie, or Alvord.

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Crochet Blankets Donated to Faith Community Health System’s OB Department

Frank L. Beaman, along with his executive team, and the entire OB department staff would like to say a huge thank you to Alvis and Hazel Moore for their generous donation of crochet blankets to be given to newborn babies delivered at Faith Community Hospital.

The birth of newborns in Jacksboro might seem like a routine topic, but it was not until mid-2013 that the county hospital began delivering newborns. FCH went more than 27 years without childbirths due to the lack of facilities and medical providers who practice obstetrics.

Today, maternity services at FCH are important for the region as surrounding hospitals have closed their maternity services. It is for this reason that FCH has focused more than ever on making the miracle of life a better experience for families in the area.

The donated crochet blankets are such a special touch for Faith Community Hospital to be able to share with the new bundles of joy and their families. We cannot thank the Moore’s enough for their love and community support. The OB department is excited to spread that love through the blankets to the babies’ families to come.

About Faith Community Hospital
Founded in 1958, Faith Community Hospital provides healthcare services for residents of Jack County. The hospital offers a wealth of medical services, including in-patient care, minor surgeries, obstetrics, a Level IV 24-hour trauma center and advanced radiology services (including CT scanning), an outpatient lab, physical therapy, social services, minor surgical services, patient education, a rural health clinic and more. FCH is now serving patients from a new $28 million, 87,000-square-foot replacement facility. For additional information, please visit www.fchtexas.com.

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Introducing Telemedicine. Fast. Secure. Safe.

Your next visit to Faith Community Rural Health Clinics is only a phone call away. 

Setting up a telemedicine appointment with any of our three Clinics is now as easy and convenient as a phone call.

A telemedicine appointment will allow you to have a doctor’s appointment over the phone with a Faith Community Rural Health clinic provider.

Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance are accepted.  Available, by appointment, Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 4:45 pm.

Call one of the clinics below to request a tele-med appointment.

Faith Community Rural Health Clinic | Jacksboro
940-567-5528

Faith Community Rural Health Clinic | Bowie
940-872-1121

Faith Community Rural Health Clinic | Alvord
940-427-2858

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Cardiac Rehabilitation Can Help Reduce Future Heart Attacks

Individuals with heart conditions should ask their physician about the program at Faith Community Hospital.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a heart attack. For those fortunate enough to survive their first heart attack, lifestyle changes and a specialized rehabilitation program are important ways to recover cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of a second episode.

Cardiovascular disease takes many forms, including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure; and it continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths.

Heart disease is always a serious topic and ignoring symptoms or recovery techniques can have a lasting impact on your overall health. Once individuals realize that they are not indestructible, they tend to pay more attention to their health and follow the advice of their physicians.

Common among both men and women, the symptoms of heart disease often depend on the type of condition. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of regular exercise are all deadly elements that can contribute to complications.

One of the ways to understand your risk of cardiovascular disease is to talk with your primary care provider about your family history as well as your current health status.

Your medical provider will complete a thorough physical exam of your weight, blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness to help identify possible complications. Based on your medical history and current condition, a healthcare provider can advise whether you might benefit from an electrocardiogram, a test that allows providers to take a closer look at your heart.

Those fortunate enough to survive a heart attack or stroke often require a specialized rehabilitation program in a controlled setting so that they can regain their cardiovascular strength. The cardiac rehabilitation program at FCH provides a convenient setting in which to talk with professionals who understand how you are feeling.

The comprehensive program integrates education, counseling, and medical tests to develop a treatment plan that helps patients safely improve their physical fitness while reducing cardiac symptoms.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who have participated in a cardiac rehab program were more likely to avoid subsequent heart attacks compared to those who did not participate in a program or only attended a few times. In the CDC study, the rate of heart attack was consistently lower among individuals who participated in more than 24 sessions and highest among those who participated fewer than 12 sessions.

Though the cardiac rehab program is personalized for patients, based on their condition, they typically attend three sessions a week for 12 weeks. Exercise programs are conducted under carefully monitored conditions to ensure that a safe increase in strength is developed.

Easing into activities that do not overstimulate the heart is important to recovery. Overexerting can cause physical harm, but underperforming can prevent the body from successfully healing.

As with one’s approach to general exercise, working your way up is always the best bet. Building your capability over time is the safest way to gain cardiovascular strength.

Medicare and most private insurance plans cover all or part of cardiac rehab programs. Patients typically qualify if their medical history or condition includes a heart attack, congestive heart failure or heart surgery to name a few.

For more information about cardiovascular disease and whether the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at FCHS is right for you, talk with your cardiologist or primary care provider. You may also call the 940-216-2258 or visit www.fchtexas.com.

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About Faith Community Health System

Faith Community Hospital is a community hospital serving the residents of Jack County, Texas. We offer a wealth of medical services including inpatient care, minor surgeries, obstetrics and other health care services.

Rural Health Clinics

Alvord Clinic
115 East Bypass US Highway 287
Alvord, Texas 76225

940-427-2858

Bowie Clinic
1010 N. Mill St.
Bowie, TX 76230

940-872-1121

Jacksboro Clinic
215 Chisholm Trail
Jacksboro, TX 76458

940-567-5528

Contact Us

If you need to contact us for general inquires or comments, please use the methods below. For emergencies, please dial 911.

215 Chisholm Trail Jacksboro,
Texas 76458
contact.us@fchtexas.com
940-567-6633
https://www.fchtexas.com/