Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Health Care and Children's Injuries

Children are very susceptible to injury, and each year many thousands of them suffer trauma due to being injured. Accidents happen, and children are also purposely injured by others, including both other adolescents and adults. Also, some of those injuries result in the death of the child.

According to www.DoctorsLounge.com, nationally, deaths attributed to unintentional injuries among persons aged 0–19 years number approximately 12,000 each year in the United States; another 9 million young persons are treated for nonfatal injuries in emergency departments. Quantifying years of potential life lost (YPLL) highlights causes of premature mortality and provides a simple method to identify important causes of early death and specific groups in need of intervention. Although recent declines have been observed in the unintentional injury–related crude mortality rate per 100,000 persons aged 0–19 years (from 15.46 in 2000 to 10.96 in 2009), unintentional injuries remain the number one killer among this population in the United States.

Car crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls are some of the most common ways children are hurt or killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The number of children dying from injury dropped nearly 30% over the last decade. However, injury is still the number 1 cause of death among children. More can be done, however, to keep children safe. Very interesting statistics on this topic can be found at this site: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/childinjury/# .

Kids are susceptible to injuries, especially at a younger age. A high risk fact sheet about injuries to children can be found at this website: http://www.safekids.org/our-work/research/fact-sheets/high-risk-fact-safety.html .

According to Fox News, injuries to young children in the U.S. increased for the fourth straight year in 2011, continuing a reversal of a longer-term downward trend that some say may be linked to distracted parents in an age of smartphones.

Children age 4 and under received an estimated 2.5 million nonfatal, non-intentional injuries that landed them in an emergency room last year, according to an estimate released late Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is up from 2.46 million in 2010. There were roughly 12.4 injuries per 100 children of this age in 2011, compared with 12.2 injuries per 100 children in 2010. The number of injuries in this age group has increased each year since 2007, when there were 2.20 million, or 10.9 per 100 children. The numbers are an estimate based on a sampling of emergency rooms.

An article last month in The Wall Street Journal reported that a growing number of child-health experts and law-enforcement officials believe the increase in injuries since 2007 may be due in part to parents who are distracted by mobile devices like Smart phones and not adequately supervising their children. The number of Americans 13 and older who own a Smart phone increased to 114 million earlier this year from nine million in 2007, when Apple Inc. released the iPhone, according to research firm comScore. There aren't any studies that have explored the connection between parents' device use and injuries to children. Many doctors and public-safety experts say it is a subject that should be studied and point out that the uptick may be a statistical anomaly or have other causes.

According to DoctorsLounge.com, death due to unintentional injury was more common in a cluster of south central states and a cluster of mountain states. More than half the deaths were attributable to motor vehicle accidents. Measuring the burden of injuries with YPLL gives greater weight to the injuries that disproportionately affect younger persons. YPLL will help prioritize implementation of known and effective interventions, such as using safety belts, wearing bicycle and motorcycle helmets, reducing drinking and driving, strengthening graduated driver licensing laws, using safety equipment during sports participation, requiring four-sided residential pool fencing, and encouraging safe sleep practices for infants.

A true emergency is when you believe a severe injury or illness is threatening your child's life or may cause permanent harm. In these cases, a child needs emergency medical treatment immediately. Discuss with your child's pediatrician in advance what you should do in case of a true emergency, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians. For a very good list of injuries to children and how to respond, this is a great website: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/default.aspx . Choose from the list and the follow up page has a comprehensive overview of that particular injury and treatment options.

Also, gun injuries to children continue to be a big issue. Childhood gun and shooting accidents are not rare. They are one of the top ten leading causes of accidental death for all age groups outside of newborns and infants, according to pediatrician, Dr. Vincent Ianelli. Unfortunately, many parents don't store their guns safely, even when they have young kids in the home. In fact, one study showed that 85% of parents who owned guns did not practice safe gun storage. More info about gun safety for children can be found at this site: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/safety/a/gun-accidents.htm.

According to Dr. Ianelli, to protect children from gun and shooting accidents, the typical gun safety advice that you will get from your pediatrician includes that you:

--Keep your guns locked.
--Keep your guns unloaded.
--Keep your ammunition locked.
--Keep your ammunition in a separate area from your gun.

Remember also, in a true emergency situation with an injury to a child of any age, call 911. A first responder such as ambulance, EMT, or fire department or police, can assist you with urgent care on the scene, and then get you transported to a local urgent care facility if necessary. Many injuries can result in death, so the faster the response to urgent care, the better chance for survival. Some cases may not require hospitalization. However, it is always best to have trained medical personnel make that decision for you.

Children are fragile, and they need supervision and watch care, especially during the infant, toddler, and younger adolescent years. When they get older, even teens need some supervision. Accidents are going to happen, and that is a fact of life. Protecting children as much as possible is your role as a parent or guardian. Causing injury to a child is an even greater cause for alarm, and there are significant consequences as a result. If you need assistance or counseling for certain issues concerning the care of your children, seek professional help for any emotional, physical, or mental stress that you may be experiencing. There are many agencies and organizations who can assist you with those types of personal needs to help take care of both children and adolescents. Protect your kids as much as you can.

Until next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Health Care and Hydration

If you are an athlete, participate in any type of personal exercise program, or work in any kind of job that requires a lot of manual labor such as construction or physical exertion of any type, you need to stay hydrated--especially if you work outside. Making sure that you replenish liquids that you lose from sweating is key to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Drinking water or drinks that have various mineral supplements and electrolytes to replace what your body loses during physical activities are key to helping you survive.

According to Active.com, life is full of daily challenges. Staying hydrated shouldn't be one of them. If you struggle to make sense of the seemingly ever-changing advice on what, when and how much to drink, especially while on the run, join the club. But it's not impossible to sort the facts from fiction. Base your hydration habits on research-based guidelines--not these four common hydration myths as found on their website—and you'll stay fueled and stay strong. You can find that great information here: http://www.active.com/women/Articles/4-Common-Hydration-Myths.htm .

No matter what type of exercise or fitness program you are following, there is one important element you cannot forget: water! Your body lose a great deal of water due to perspiration. Staying hydrated during a workout will help you stay focused and more energized. Dehydration could result in serious consequences. Dizziness and nausea can both be symptoms of dehydration, according to www.MyDailyMoment.com .

Sports drinks are another good option for rehydrating. However, if you're watching your sodium intake, check the label first. Should you opt for water or a sports drink during your workout? It depends on your needs. For most people who work out for fitness regularly indoors, water is just fine for hydration. For athletes who work out at a high intensity for more than 60 minutes at a time, like marathoners and triathlon competitors, an electrolyte-replacing sports drink might be best. More details can be found at this website: http://www.mydailymoment.com/diet_and_fitness/all_diet_tips/hydration_counts_we_ve_got_the_proof.php .

The answer to successful and safe hydration is balance, according to Active.com by Jenny Hadfield, co-author of "Marathoning for Mortals" (Rodale, 2003.) She can also be found at www.jennyhadfield.com . Keep in mind, dehydration is still one of the biggest risks in endurance exercise, but the key to performing at your best is drinking smart, not gulping liquids. The best way to avoid drinking too much or too little is to take in about the same amount of fluid as you sweat out. Here's how to figure out your sweat rate:

1. Weigh yourself without shoes or clothes, and record it in your log, noting temperature and humidity.
2. Work out for one hour.
3. Dry off and weigh yourself, noting the weight lost. Also note any fluids you may have taken while running.
4. Use the following formula to determine your hydration needs: One pound lost = 16 oz. of fluid.

So, if you lost two pounds in that hour, you should replenish 32 ounces of fluid (about 8 ounces every 15 minutes) in the same temperature and humidity level, according to Jenny Hadfield. Do this test a few times in different conditions to get a sense of how your hydration needs change in varying temperatures and humidity levels, and intensity levels. Here are some good tips for smart hydration:

• Set your watch alarm to remind you when to drink.
• Aim to replenish 80 to 100 percent of fluids lost.
• Avoid gaining weight (a sign of over hydrating).
• Consume a sports drink with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc.) during your training sessions and in races longer than 60 minutes. Plain water is fine for workouts shorter than 60 minutes, but longer sessions require a sports drink to replenish electrolytes and energy.
• Flavor your meals with salt right before long workouts and races to boost electrolyte levels.
• Avoid drinking more than usual during race week. This will dilute your blood sodium levels, putting you at higher risk of developing hyponatremia. Your fluid needs drop during this taper week. So, drink normal amounts of fluid and use the urine test to determine if you've had enough: If it runs pale yellow, you're well hydrated and ready to race.

There are many more articles related to this subject that can be found at this website: http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/Hydration_101.htm .

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to act. It can be hard to recognize when you’re dehydrated, especially as you age. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Symptoms of dehydration include:

• Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
• Dry mouth
• Sleepiness or fatigue
• Extreme thirst
• Headache
• Confusion
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
• No tears when crying

According to www.FamilyDoctor.org, there are different recommendations for water intake each day. Most people have been told they should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day. Some people are at higher risk of dehydration, including those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are sick, or are not able to get enough fluids during the course of the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you age, your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and send the signals for thirst.If you are concerned that you may not be drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Much more information can also be found at this site: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/food-nutrition/nutrients/hydration-why-its-so-important.html .

Staying hydrated for anyone regardless of age, sex, or job description and activity level is always a smart idea. If you are more physically active, make sure you maintain a level of hydration that compensates for your activities. Check with your doctor if you suspect you may be dehydrated. Losing sweat can be a good thing, but not if you lose too much.

Until next time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Health Care and Gluten

Have you ever heard of people who have allergies to wheat or bread or pasta? Actually, the reaction is not about the grain, but about something in it called gluten. According to CNN, gluten allergy is caused by celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can appear at any age and is caused by an intolerance to gluten. A protein found in wheat, barley, and rye (and countless food products -- like bread and pasta -- that contain those grains), gluten gradually damages the intestines of people with celiac disease, preventing the absorption of vitamins and minerals and setting off a slew of related health problems, which can include fatigue and bad skin. While celiac disease affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population, experts estimate that as many as 10 percent have a related and poorly understood condition known as non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI), or gluten sensitivity. More details can be found at this site: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/12/gluten.free.diet.improve/index.html .

According to the Mayo Clinic, avoiding wheat can be challenging because wheat products go by numerous names. Consider the many types of wheat flour on supermarket shelves — bromated, enriched, phosphated, plain and self-rising. Here are other wheat products to avoid:

• Bulgur
• Durum flour
• Farina
• Graham flour
• Kamut
• Semolina
• Spelt

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. For this reason, doctors and dietitians generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten-free. You should also be alert for other products that you eat or that could come in contact with your mouth that may contain gluten, according to the Mayo Clinic. These include:

• Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
• Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
• Play dough

People with celiac disease who eat a gluten-free diet experience fewer symptoms and complications of the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with celiac disease must eat a strictly gluten-free diet and must remain on the diet for the remainder of their lives. In some severe cases, a gluten-free diet alone can't stop the symptoms and complications of celiac disease. In these cases, doctors might prescribe medications to suppress the immune system. People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Many grains are enriched with vitamins. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products. More details can be found at this site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet/my01140 .

According to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Celiac disease occurs when the body’s natural defense system reacts to gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine. Without a healthy intestinal lining, the body cannot absorb the nutrients it needs. Delayed growth and nutrient deficiencies can result and may lead to conditions such as anemia and osteoporosis. Other serious health problems may include diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and intestinal cancers. Some people don’t get immediate symptoms, but when they do, they are typically gastrointestinal-related, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. In infants, there may be a lot of vomiting, and they don’t grow and thrive.” And some people do not have any symptoms at all, but still may have intestinal damage and risk for long-term complications. It is important for individuals with celiac disease, who may vary in their sensitivity to gluten, to discuss their dietary needs with their health care professional. Much more info can be found at this website: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm265212.htm .

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, the only treatment is the lifelong adherence to the gluten-free diet. When gluten is removed from the diet, the small intestine will start to heal and overall health improves. Medication is not normally required. Consult your physician regarding specific nutritional supplementation to correct any deficiencies. The diagnosed celiac should have medical follow-up to monitor the clinical response to the gluten-free diet.

Adapting to the gluten-free diet requires some lifestyle changes. It is essential to read labels which are often imprecise, and to learn how to identify ingredients that may contain hidden gluten. Even small amounts of ingested gluten can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Dietary compliance increases the quality of life and decreases the likelihood of osteoporosis, intestinal lymphoma and other associated illnesses. Because osteoporosis is common and may be profound in patients with newly diagnosed CD, bone density should be measured at or shortly after diagnosis. Much more information about this topic can be found at their site: http://www.celiac.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=9 .

A dietitian can help you select gluten-free foods. A dietitian is an expert in food and healthy eating. You will learn how to check labels of foods and other items for gluten. A dietitian can help you learn what other foods you can and can’t eat on a gluten-free diet, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports research on celiac disease. Researchers are studying new options for diagnosing celiac disease, including capsule endoscopy, which involves patients swallowing a capsule containing a tiny video camera that records images of the small intestine. Several drug treatments for celiac disease are being studied. Researchers are also studying a combination of enzymes—proteins that aid chemical reactions in the body—that might change gluten in ways that prevent it from causing an immune reaction before it enters the small intestine. Much more detailed material is available at this site: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac_ez/ .

Scientists are also developing educational materials for standardized medical training to raise awareness among health care providers. The hope is that increased understanding and awareness will lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease. Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov .

For people who suffer from gluten allergies, the best course of action is to talk with your doctor about treatment, and consider the need for a gluten free diet. It is a challenge to remain totally gluten free, but the issues surrounding celiac disease are too important to ignore, especially if you are very allergic to gluten. Talk with a dietician about how to best build a diet that is both nutritious and also able to provide options that do not include gluten.

Until next time.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Health Care and Healthy Foods

Everyone loves to eat good food, but often eating healthy has been viewed as eating food that doesn't taste good. Misconceptions about healthy foods are common, and that has typically come about by reasons related to poor preparation, or ingredients that are not flavorful or tasty. Some perception can even be caused by poor marketing by the manufacturer. However, eating healthy foods is paramount to having a healthier lifestyle and physical wellbeing.

For example iVillage.com has come out with a list of Fifty foods that are healthier than you think. See this site: http://www.ivillage.com/foods-are-actually-healthier-expected/4-b-492275?nlcid=ht10-11-2012.  And as an additional twist on the food pyramid, the Harvard School of Public Health has designed a Healthy Plate format: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/ . And even the Food Network has a site about healthy eating: http://www.foodnetwork.com/healthy-eating/index.html. If you are looking for the best, Fitness Magazine suggests the Top 10 healthiest foods: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/the-10-healthiest-foods-on-the-planet/.

According to HelpGuide.org, healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, stabilizing your mood, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible– all of which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a way that works for you. You can expand your range of healthy food choices and learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a tasty, healthy diet. They have many tips that are excellent to help you with healthy eating, located at this site: http://www.helpguide.org/life/healthy_eating_diet.htm .

Give your diet a healthy boost with health foods, noted by the Mayo Clinic. They're among your best bets for eating well because they meet at least three of the following criteria:

• Good or excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients

• High in phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds, such as vitamins A and E and beta carotene

• May help reduce risk of heart disease and other health conditions

• Low in calorie density, meaning you get a larger portion size with a fewer number of calories

• Readily available

For a complete list, visit this site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-foods/MY01108 .

Tipsheet: Healthy eating starts with healthy food shopping, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Using a shopping list and keeping a well-stocked kitchen can help reduce the time you spend cooking healthy meals. Read the labels as you shop, and pay attention to serving size and servings per container. Compare the total calories in similar products and choose the lowest calorie ones. More info can be found at this site: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/shop.htm .

According to About.com, choose foods that are good for you and eat them in the right amounts. The closer a food is to its natural state, the better it is for you. Fresh fruits and berries are will satisfy a craving for sweets. Whole green, orange, and yellow vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals. Steam them, or eat them raw, to retain the nutritional value. Don't add too much gravy, cheese, or sauces that are high in calories and fats. Much more material about the specifics of food types can be found at this site: http://nutrition.about.com/od/nutrition101/a/keepitsimple.htm .

If you're an emotional eater, keep the junk food like potato chips, tortilla chips, ice cream, and candy out of the house. Keep healthy snacks like fruits, crunchy vegetables with dips, or nuts handy. If you absolutely feel the need for a treat, then purchase a small piece of high quality chocolate or your favorite treat and enjoy it, just don't buy any to bring home. The same tips are helpful for those who enjoy snacking while watching television at home. If you don't want to give up nibbling while watching your shows, keep low-calorie foods close by, because it is very easy to eat too much when you are entranced by your favorite drama, football game or cooking show. Eat crisp raw vegetables with your dip instead of greasy chips, according to Shereen Jegtvig, author of the Nutrition Guide at About.com.

Remember, eating healthy is more than downing a bowl of cardboard flavored granola each morning. It’s a lifestyle of making wise choices for your diet, portion control, and the best foods for your personal health based on your individual situation. Make sure that you consult a personal physician if you plan on dieting or maintaining a specific type of food intake. Certain foods interact with some medications, and not in a good way. Be careful on the amount of food you eat, even if it is healthy. Just because something is low in fat or sodium doesn’t mean you should eat the entire bag at one sitting. Use common sense when preparing your food, and when you go out to eat find locations that have a high rating with the local health department. Be healthy, but be safe. Then, enjoy your food.

Until next time.