1100 Ebenezer Road . Rincon, GA 31326 P: 912.754.7757 . F: 912.754.4012

  • National COLORECTAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 3/25/2010 4:00:00 PM
    Dear EMS Students and Families,
     
            I want to  take a very quick minute and encourage you to do something special.  Everybody wins if you do this.   I and my fellow school nurses want to see the people in GA become healthier.  You know that the leading causes of death in Georgia result mainly from our lifestyle choices, right? 
        We've chosen to smoke, eat in excess, and sit instead of engaging in physical activity.  They're simple choices, but they're killing us.  Why is it this way in Georgia?  Two  reasons are perhaps the lack of health education and the "right" (supportive) environment. 
        There's another issue though, that Nurses can effectively intervene with through encouragement and education: Screenings.  Many people outside of healthcare, just don't realize the importance of early and periodic screenings to catch health problems early, and get early intervention.
         Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, affecting both men and women, especially those over age 50.
         If you’re over 50, see your doctor and get screened for colorectal cancer.
         Please take a moment to review the attachment information regarding Colon CA.  Feel free to print them out, email them to family and friends, but mainly-please remember to BE SCREENED for colon cancer.  Thank you!
     
    Nurse Cheryl
     
     


    Comments (-1)
  • 2010 GA Health Facts; Healthy Living Powerpoint

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
    I thought you might be interested in some new health statistics for our state.  After noting them,  PLEASE take time to review the HEALTHY LIVING Powerpoint attached.  
     
    I encourage you to share the information with your students.  
     
    I will be attaching this information and powerpoint to my EMS Nurse's site under Health News. 
     
    Here's to YOUR health!!
     
    Health Ranking:  Georgia is 43rd this year; it was 41st in 2008!
     
    GA's Health Rankings 2010:
     
    Strengths
    include a low prevalence of binge drinking at 13.2 percent of the population and
     moderate per capita public health funding at $69 per person.

    Challenges
    include a low high school graduation rate with 62.4 percent of incoming ninth graders who graduate within four years,
     a high incidence of infectious disease at 24.6 cases per 100,000 population,
     high levels of air pollution at 13.9 micrograms of fine particulate per cubic meter and
    a high rate of uninsured population at 17.7 percent.
    Georgia ranks lower for health determinants than for health outcomes, indicating that overall healthiness may decline over time.

    Significant Changes:
     In the past year, the rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased from 82.0 to 77.7 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees. 
     In the past five years, the prevalence of smoking decreased from 22.8 percent to 19.5 percent of the population. 
     In the past five years, the percentage of children in poverty increased from 17.7 percent to 21.5 percent of persons under age 18.
     In the past ten years, the prevalence of obesity increased from 19.2 percent to 27.8 percent of the population.

    Health Disparities:
    In Georgia, obesity among non-Hispanic blacks  37.4 percent 
                                            non-Hispanic whites at 24.7 percent.
    The prevalence of diabetes 12.4 percent of non-Hispanic blacks have diabetes 
                                               8.5 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
    Mortality rates vary in Georgia, with 1,028.2 deaths per 100,000 population among blacks
                             whites, who experience 863.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
    Thank you for taking care of you!   You are important to your family and our students!
    Comments (-1)
  • Are Steroids Worth the Risk?

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
    ARE STEROIDS WORTH the RISK?
     

    Dominic has baseball on the brain. Just being good isn't enough — he wants to be the best. He dreams of playing in the majors someday, but worries about the intense competition for a position on a major league team. His girlfriend, Deborah, is also a highly competitive athlete whose appearance and performance are very important to her. She wants to stand out — both physically and athletically.

    Because of the pressure they each feel to excel, Dominic and Deborah wonder whether steroids would help them. They've heard rumors about the bad side effects of steroids, but they don't have many facts. Here's the scoop on steroids.

    What Are Steroids?

    Steroids, sometimes referred to as roids, juice, hype, weight trainers, gym candy, arnolds, stackers, or pumpers, are the same as, or similar to, certain hormones in the body. The body produces steroids naturally to support such functions as fighting stress and promoting growth and development. But some people use steroid pills, gels, creams, or injections because they think steroids can improve their sports performance or the way they look.  

    Anabolic steroids are artificially produced hormones that are the same as, or similar to, androgens, the male-type sex hormones in the body. There are more than 100 variations of anabolic steroids. The most powerful androgen is testosterone (pronounced: tess-toss-tuh-rone). Although testosterone is mainly a mature male hormone, girls' bodies produce smaller amounts. Testosterone promotes the masculine traits that guys develop during puberty, such as deepening of the voice and growth of body hair. Testosterone levels can also affect how aggressive a person is.

    Athletes sometimes take anabolic steroids because of their testosterone-like effects.

    Another group of steroids, sometimes called steroidal supplements, contains dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and/or androstenedione (also known as andro). For the most part, steroidal supplements, which used to be found at health food stores or gyms, are now illegal and require a pre

    Steroid supplements are weaker forms of androgen. Their effects aren't well known, but it's thought that, when taken in large doses, they cause effects similar to other androgens like testosterone. Here's what is known about steroidal supplements: Companies that manufacture them often use false claims and very little is known about the long-term effects some of these substances have on the body. That’s one reason why the government took action to protect citizens by passing laws controlling steroid distribution.

    Steroids, sometimes referred to as roids, juice, hype, weight trainers, gym candy, arnolds, stackers, or pumpers, are the same as, or similar to, certain hormones in the body. The body produces steroids naturally to support such functions as fighting stress and promoting growth and development. But some people use steroid pills, gels, creams, or injections because they think steroids can improve their sports performance or the way they look.  

    Anabolic steroids are artificially produced hormones that are the same as, or similar to, androgens, the male-type sex hormones in the body. There are more than 100 variations of anabolic steroids. The most powerful androgen is testosterone (pronounced: tess-toss-tuh-rone). Although testosterone is mainly a mature male hormone, girls' bodies produce smaller amounts. Testosterone promotes the masculine traits that guys develop during puberty, such as deepening of the voice and growth of body hair. Testosterone levels can also affect how aggressive a person is.

    Athletes sometimes take anabolic steroids because of their testosterone-like effects.

    Another group of steroids, sometimes called steroidal supplements, contains dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and/or androstenedione (also known as andro). For the most part, steroidal supplements, which used to be found at health food stores or gyms, are now illegal and require a pre

    Steroid supplements are weaker forms of androgen. Their effects aren't well known, but it's thought that, when taken in large doses, they cause effects similar to other androgens like testosterone. Here's what is known about steroidal supplements: Companies that manufacture them often use false claims and very little is known about the long-term effects some of these substances have on the body. That’s one reason why the government took action to protect citizens by passing laws controlling steroid distribution.
     
    How do Anabolic Steroids Work?
     
    Anabolic steroids stimulate muscle tissue to grow and "bulk up" in response to training by mimicking the effect of naturally produced testosterone on the body. Anabolic steroids can remain in the body anywhere from a couple of days to about a year. Steroids have become popular because they may improve endurance, strength, and muscle mass. However, research has not shown that steroids improve skill, agility, or athletic performance.
     
    Dangers of Steroids
     

    Anabolic steroids cause many different types of problems. Some of the more serious or long-lasting side effects are:

    • premature balding or hair loss
    • dizziness
    • mood swings, including anger, aggression, and depression
    • believing things that aren't true (delusion)
    • extreme feelings of mistrust or fear (paranoia)
    • problems sleeping
    • nausea and vomiting
    • trembling
    • high blood pressure that can damage the heart or blood vessels over time
    • aching joints
    • greater chance of injuring muscles and tendons
    • jaundice or yellowing of the skin; liver damage
    • urinary problems
    • shortening of final adult height
    • increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer

    Risks for Girls

    Specific risks for girls associated with anabolic steroids include:

    • increased facial hair growth
    • development of masculine traits, such as deepening of the voice, and loss of feminine body characteristics, such as shrinking of the breasts
    • enlargement of the clitoris
    • menstrual cycle changes

    Risks for Guys

    Specific risks for guys include:

    • testicular shrinkage
    • pain when urinating
    • breast development
    • impotence (inability to get an erection)
    • sterility (inability to have children)

    Other Problems

    Steroids can also have serious psychological side effects. Some users become aggressive or combative, developing "roid rage" — extreme, uncontrolled bouts of anger caused by long-term steroid use.
     
    Steroid users who inject the drugs with a needle are at risk for infection with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS, if they share needles with other users. People who use dirty needles are also at greater risk for contracting hepatitis, a disease of the liver, or bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.

    Steroids: Stacking and Addiction

    Some people combine or "stack" anabolic steroids with other drugs. Other steroid users may "pyramid" or "cycle" their steroid doses, starting with a low dose of stacked drugs and then periodically increasing and decreasing the dosage of the steroid, which users believe helps their bodies recuperate from the drugs.

    Because even scientists don't understand exactly how steroids interact with each other or possibly cause reactions to other medications, it's possible that a person who stacks or cycles steroids can take a deadly combination. Emergency departments have reported cases of vomiting, tremors, dizziness, and even coma (unconsciousness) when patients were admitted after taking combinations of steroids.

    A lot of people tell themselves they'll only use steroids for a season or a school year. Unfortunately, steroids can be addictive, making it hard to stop taking them.

    Steroid users can spend lots of time and money trying to get the drugs. And once users stop taking steroids, they're at risk of developing irritability, paranoia, and severe depression, which may lead to suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide. Some of the long-term effects of steroids may not show up for many years. People who use steroids also appear to be at higher risk for using other drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine.

    What Is Human Growth Hormone?

    You may have heard of something called Human Growth Hormone, or hGH, in relation to sports supplements and maybe even related to steroids. Like steroids, hGH is only legal when prescribed by a doctor for a medical condition. Doctors prescribe hGH for people whose bodies don't naturally make enough growth hormone, a condition known as growth hormone deficiency. However, recent trends show an increase in growth hormone being abused as an athletic supplement.

    A lot of myths surround hGH and its effects on athletes. As with steroids, there is absolutely no evidence that growth hormone helps to improve athletic performance. Here are some risks you should be aware of:

    • Any type of hGH that is not obtained by pre
    • If you buy what may be called "growth hormone," "growth stimulators," or "growth factors" online, it's likely they're not really hGH. Many websites claim to be selling growth hormone, but they're really selling amino acids that don't significantly increase growth hormone levels in your body.
    • If the false claims of performance benefits from hGH don't bother you, the price probably will — $5,000 for a month's pre
    • Because growth hormone can only be injected, like some steroids, there's a risk of contracting HIV or other diseases (like hepatitis) if people share needles.

    Strong Alternatives to Steroids

    Anabolic steroids are controversial in the sports world because of the health risks associated with them and their unproven performance benefits. Most are illegal and are banned by professional sports organizations and medical associations. As seen in the high-profile cases, if an athlete is caught using steroids, his or her career can be destroyed.

    When it comes right down to it, harming your body or getting disqualified aren't smart ways to try to improve your athletic performance. Being a star athlete means training the healthy way: eating the right foods, practicing, and strength training without the use of drugs.

    Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
    Date reviewed: April 2009

     
     
    Comments (-1)
  • 5 Reasons for Girls to Play Sports

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/18/2010 8:00:00 AM

    5 Reasons for Girls to Play Sports

    We all know that regular physical exercise is good for a girl's body, mind, and spirit. But you can get your daily dose of endorphins from a jog around the block. So why play sports? The Women's Sports Foundation has discovered that sports offer some extra benefits for girls in addition to having fun and getting fit.

    Here are a few:

    1. Girls who play sports do better in school. You might think that athletics will take up all your study time. But research shows that girls who play sports do better in school and are more likely to graduate than those who don't. Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage when it comes to the classroom.
    2. Girls who play sports learn teamwork and goal-setting skills. Working with coaches, trainers, and teammates to win games and meet goals is great practice for success later in life. Being a team player can make it easier to work with others and solve problems, whether on the field or in the workplace.
    3. Sports have hidden health benefits. Some benefits of sports are obvious — like improving fitness and maintaining a healthy weight. But girls who play sports are also less likely to smoke and have a reduced chance of getting breast cancer and < < osteoporosisPlaying sports builds self-confidence. Girls involved in athletics feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends.
    4. Exercise can cut the pressure. Pressure is a big part of life. Playing sports can help you deal with it, since exercise is a natural mood lifter and a great way to relieve stress and fight depression. Plus, when you are on a team, you have friends who support you both on and off the field.

    Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
    Date reviewed: August 2008

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Handling Sports Pressure and Competition

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/18/2010 7:00:00 AM
    HANDLING SPORTS PRESSURE and COMPETITION
     
    Most people play a sport for the thrill of having fun with others who share the same interest. But it's not always fun and games. There can be a ton of pressure in high school sports. A lot of the time it comes from the feeling that a parent or coach expects you to always win.

    But sometimes it comes from inside, too: Some players are just really hard on themselves. And individual situations can add to the stress: Maybe there's a recruiter from your No. 1 college scouting you on the sidelines. Whatever the cause, the pressure to win can sometimes stress you to the point where you just don't know how to have fun anymore.

    How Can Stress Affect Sports Performance?

    Stress is a feeling that's created when we react to particular events. It's the body's way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. A little stress or the right kind of positive stress can help keep you on your toes, ready to rise to a challenge.
     

    The events that provoke stress are called stressors, and they cover a whole range of situations — everything from outright danger to stepping up to take the foul shot that could win the game. Stress can also be a response to change or anticipation of something that's about to happen — good or bad. People can feel stress over positive challenges, like making the varsity team, as well as negative ones.

    Distress is a bad type of stress that arises when you must adapt to too many negative demands. Suppose you had a fight with a close friend last night, you forgot your homework this morning, and you're playing in a tennis match this afternoon. You try to get psyched for the game but can't. You've hit stress overload! Continuous struggling with too much stress can exhaust your energy and drive.

    Eustress is the good type of stress that stems from the challenge of taking part in something that you enjoy but have to work hard for. Eustress pumps you up, providing a healthy spark for any task you undertake.
     

    What Can I Do to Ease Pressure?

    When the demands of competition start to get to you, try these relaxation techniques:

    • deep breathing: Find a quiet place to sit down. Inhale slowly through your nose, drawing air deep into your lungs. Hold your breath for about 5 seconds, then release it slowly. Repeat the exercise five times.
    • muscle relaxation: Contract (flex) a group of muscles tightly. Keep them tensed for about 5 seconds, then release. Repeat the exercise five times, selecting different muscle groups.
    • visualization: Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place or an event from your past. Recall the beautiful sights and the happy sounds. Imagine stress flowing away from your body. You can also visualize success. People who advise competitive players often recommend that they imagine themselves completing a pass, making a shot, or scoring a goal over and over. Then on game day, you can recall your stored images to help calm nerves and boost self-confidence.
    • mindfulness: Watch out for negative thoughts. Whether you're preparing for a competition or coping with a defeat, repeat to yourself: "I learn from my mistakes!" "I'm in control of my feelings!" "I can make this goal!"
    When sports become too stressful, get away from the pressure. Go to a movie or hang out with friends. Put your mind on something completely different.
     

    How Can I Keep Stress in Check?

    If sports make you so nervous that you get headaches, become nauseated, or can't concentrate on other things, you're experiencing symptoms of unhealthy, potentially chronic (which means long-lasting and continuous) stress. Don't keep such stress bottled up inside you; suppressing your emotions might mean bigger health troubles for you later on.

    Talk about your concerns with a friend. Simply sharing your feelings can ease your anxiety. Sometimes it may help to get an adult's perspective — someone who has dealt with stress over and over like your coach or fitness instructor. Here are some other things you can do to cope with stress:

    • Treat your body right. Eat well and get a good night's sleep, especially before games where the pressure's on.
    • Learn and practice relaxation techniques, like those described in the previous section.
    • Get some type of physical activity other than the sport you're involved in. Take a walk, ride your bike, and get completely away from the sport that's stressing you out.
    • Don't try to be perfect — everyone flubs a shot or messes up from time to time (so don't expect your teammates to be perfect either!). Forgive yourself, remind yourself of all your great shots, and move on.

      It's possible that some anxiety stems only from uncertainty. Meet privately with your coach or instructor. Ask for clarification if his or her expectations seem vague or inconsistent. Although most instructors do a good job of fostering athletes' physical and mental development, you may need to be the one who opens the lines of communication. You may also want to talk with your parents or another adult family member.

      If you're feeling completely overscheduled and out of control, review your options on what you can let go. It's a last resort, but if you're no longer enjoying your sport, it may be time to find one that's less stressful. Chronic stress isn't fun — and fun is what sports are all about.

      Recognizing when you need guidance to steer yourself out of a stressful situation doesn't represent weakness; it's a sign of courage and wisdom. Don't stop looking for support until you've found it.

      Enjoy the Game

    How Can I Keep Stress in Check?

    If sports make you so nervous that you get headaches, become nauseated, or can't concentrate on other things, you're experiencing symptoms of unhealthy, potentially chronic (which means long-lasting and continuous) stress. Don't keep such stress bottled up inside you; suppressing your emotions might mean bigger health troubles for you later on.

    Talk about your concerns with a friend. Simply sharing your feelings can ease your anxiety. Sometimes it may help to get an adult's perspective — someone who has dealt with stress over and over like your coach or fitness instructor. Here are some other things you can do to cope with stress:

    • Treat your body right. Eat well and get a good night's sleep, especially before games where the pressure's on.
    • Learn and practice relaxation techniques, like those described in the previous section.
    • Get some type of physical activity other than the sport you're involved in. Take a walk, ride your bike, and get completely away from the sport that's stressing you out.
    • Don't try to be perfect — everyone flubs a shot or messes up from time to time (so don't expect your teammates to be perfect either!). Forgive yourself, remind yourself of all your great shots, and move on.

    It's possible that some anxiety stems only from uncertainty. Meet privately with your coach or instructor. Ask for clarification if his or her expectations seem vague or inconsistent. Although most instructors do a good job of fostering athletes' physical and mental development, you may need to be the one who opens the lines of communication. You may also want to talk with your parents or another adult family member.

    If you're feeling completely overscheduled and out of control, review your options on what you can let go. It's a last resort, but if you're no longer enjoying your sport, it may be time to find one that's less stressful. Chronic stress isn't fun — and fun is what sports are all about.

    Recognizing when you need guidance to steer yourself out of a stressful situation doesn't represent weakness; it's a sign of courage and wisdom. Don't stop looking for support until you've found it.

    Enjoy the Game

    Winning is exhilarating! But losing and some amount of stress are part of almost any sports program — as they are in life. Sports are about enhancing self-esteem, building social skills, and developing a sense of community. And above all, sports are about having fun.

    Reviewed by: Steve Sanders, PhD
    Date reviewed: August 2007

    Comments (-1)
  • CDC: Heart Health

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/16/2010 3:00:00 PM
    Heart Disease is the Number One Cause of Death
    About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event.
     
    Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2009, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 will have a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.1

    The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk. Additionally, knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack are crucial to the most positive outcomes after having a heart attack. People who have survived a heart attack can also work to reduce their risk of another heart attack or a stroke in the future. For more information on heart disease and stroke, visit CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

    Diseases and Conditions That Put Your Heart at Risk

    Other conditions that affect your heart or increase your risk of death or disability include arrhythmia, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, and secondhand smoke are also risk factors associated with heart disease. For a full list of diseases and conditions along with risk factors and other health information associated with heart disease, visit the American Heart Association.External Web Site Policy

    Know Your Signs and Symptoms

    Some heart attacks are sudden and intense; however, most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

    • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
       
    • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
       
    • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
       
    • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

    The American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Red Cross, and the National Council on Aging have launched a new "Act in Time" campaign to increase people's awareness of heart attack and the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately at the onset of heart attack symptoms. Find the links here.External Web Site Policy

    Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects

    A new report by The Institute of Medicine finds even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a heart attack. Tobacco smoke can cause health problems not only for smokers, but also for people around them. Breathing secondhand smoke increases a person's risk for a heart attack and other heart conditions.2

    Visit the CDC Office on Smoking and Health Web site for more detailed information about the IOM Report on Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects including:

    • Analysis of the report findings.
    • Animation of how secondhand smoke affects the cardiovascular system.
    • CDC statement on report findings.

    Healthy Lifestyle: Diet and Nutrition, Exercise and Fitness

    A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. Many people make it harder than it is. It is important to remember that it is the overall pattern of the choices you make that counts. As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:

    • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
    • Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products.
    • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
    • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
    • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
    • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. All persons who have hypertension, all middle-aged and older adults, and all blacks should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
    • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you're a woman and two drinks per day if you're a man.
    • Keep an eye on your portion sizes.

    See CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Web site for more tips on nutrition.

    Physical activity in your daily life is an important step to preventing heart disease. You can take a few simple steps at home, at work, and at play to increase the amount of physical activity in your life. See CDC's physical activity Web site for tips and more information.

    Women and Heart Disease: Quick Facts

    Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," it is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and women account for nearly 50% of heart disease deaths.

      

    In 2006, heart disease was the cause of death in nearly 316,000 females.3

    Heart disease is often perceived as an "older woman's disease," and it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older. However, heart disease is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25-44 years and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45-64 years. Remember that many cases of heart disease can be prevented! 4

    For more information and facts on women and heart disease, see the Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet.

    CDC's WISEWOMAN Program

    The mission of CDC's WISEWOMAN program is to provide low-income, under- or uninsured 40- to 64-year-old women with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors to prevent or delay cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

    WISEWOMAN provides these additional services:

    • Screening for chronic disease risk factors.
    • Dietary, physical activity, and smoking cessation interventions.
    • Referral and follow-up as appropriate.

    For more information on how you can take advantage of these services, visit  WISEWOMAN and click on program locations.

      

    Women and Heart Disease Campaigns

    Go Red For WomenExternal Web Site Policy is the American Heart Association's nationwide movement that celebrates the energy, passion, and power women have to band together and wipe out heart disease. Thanks to the participation of millions of people across the country, the color red and the red dress have become linked with the ability all women have to improve their heart health and live stronger, longer lives.

    The Heart Truth Campaign is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease. The campaign created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. The Red Dress alerts women of The Heart Truth message: "Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear–It is the #1 Killer of Women."

    National Wear Red Day is a day when Americans nationwide will wear red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness. This observance promotes the Red Dress symbol and provides an opportunity for everyone to unite in this life-saving awareness movement by showing off a favorite red dress, shirt, or tie, or Red Dress Pin.

    Participate in National Wear Red Day—Everyone (men too) can support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red on February 5, 2010. See CDC's Office of Women's Health, Wear It Well: Women and Heart Disease Prevention.

    Men and Heart Disease: Quick Facts

    • In 2006, heart disease was the cause of death in 315,706 American men.3
    • The average age for a first heart attack for men is 66 years.
    • Almost half of men who have a heart attack under age 65 die within 8 years.
    • Between 70% and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men.

    For more information and facts about men and heart disease, visit the Men and Heart Disease Fact Sheet.

    Interactive Tools to Help Guide Your Everyday Choices

    More Information

      

     
     
     
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  • ORAL HEALTH

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/8/2010 4:25:00 PM

    Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

    What is Dry Mouth?

    Dry mouth, also called xerostomia (ZEER-oh-STOH-mee-ah), is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep the mouth wet.  Dry mouth can happen to anyone occasionally—for example, when nervous or stressed.  However, when dry mouth persists, it can make chewing, eating, swallowing and even talking difficult.  Dry mouth also increases the risk for tooth decay because saliva helps keep harmful germs that cause cavities and other oral infections in check.

    Causes

    Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands that make saliva don't work properly.  Many over-the-counter and pre

     

    Treatment

    Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, your health care provider can recommend appropriate treatment. There are also self-care steps you can take to help ease dry mouth, such as drinking plenty of water, chewing sugarless gum, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.  Good oral care at home and regular dental check-ups will help keep your mouth healthy.

     

     

    For information specific to Diabetes and Oral health , please see http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/Diabetes/   AND   http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/    the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

    Comments (-1)
  • MAYO.com Signals of a Heart Attack

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/8/2010 4:00:00 PM

     

    mayo.com

    Heart attack symptoms: Know what signals a medical emergency

    Typical heart attack symptoms

    Symptom De
    Chest discomfort or pain This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go.
    Upper body pain Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort.
    Stomach pain Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.
    Shortness of breath You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort.
    Anxiety You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you're having a panic attack for no apparent reason.
    Lightheadedness You may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.
    Sweating You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.
    Nausea and vomiting You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.

    Heart attack symptoms vary widely. For instance, you may have only minor chest pain while someone else has excruciating pain.

    One thing applies to everyone, though: If you suspect you're having a heart attack, call for emergency medical help immediately. Don't waste time trying to diagnose heart attack symptoms yourself.

    Additional heart attack symptoms in women

    Women may have all, none, many or a few of the typical heart attack symptoms. For women, the most common heart attack symptom is still some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But women are more likely than are men to also have heart attack symptoms without chest pain, such as:

    • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Abdominal pain or "heartburn"
    • Sweating
    • Lightheadedness or dizziness
    • Unusual or unexplained fatigue
    • Heart attack symptoms demand emergency help

      Most heart attacks begin with much more subtle symptoms — with only mild pain or discomfort. And your symptoms may come and go. Don't be tempted to downplay your symptoms or brush them off as indigestion or anxiety.

      Getting heart attack treatment quickly improves your chance of survival and minimizes damage to your heart. Don't "tough out" these symptoms for more than five minutes. Call 911 or other emergency medical services for help. If you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only as a last resort, if there are absolutely no other options.

     

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  • WEB MD: 12 tips for a Healthy HEART

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 2/4/2010 10:00:00 AM

    12 Tips for Better Heart Health

    Diet, sleep, fitness, and more -- how to strengthen and protect your heart right now
    By Denise Mann
    WebMD the Magazine - Feature
     

     

    How do you get a healthier heart, right now? The answer sounds too good to be true: “By simply leading a healthier life,” according to Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of New York University’s Women’s Heart Program and author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide to Women’s Health.

    That’s because even small, steady changes in your life mean a stronger, more efficient heart. “More than half of heart disease is preventable, and studies have shown that 90% of heart attacks in women can be prevented,” she adds. Further, the latest study in Archives of Internal Medicine shows that women who eat loads of veggies, fruit, whole grains, fish, and legumes; drink moderate amounts of alcohol; exercise; maintain a healthy weight; and don’t smoke have a whopping 92% decreased risk of having a heart attack compared with women with less healthy diets and habits.

    An added bonus? “So many things we do to help our heart, like quitting smoking, eating more fiber, and moving more, also help other parts of our body, including our bones, colon, lungs, and skin,” Goldberg says. And February is Heart Disease Awareness Month, making this the perfect time to start improving your ticker -- and the rest of you.

    1. Know your heart health numbers.

    Establish a baseline to help plan every preventive step for the rest of the year. “You need to know if you are at risk before you can take action to lower your risk,” says Lori Mosca, MD, PhD, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and author of Heart to Heart: A Personal Plan for Creating a Heart-Healthy Family. Know your HDL or “good” cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, weight, and body mass index (BMI) numbers. And make an appointment now for a check-in next February to see if your new healthy habits are making the grade.

    2. Target your triglycerides.

    Shoot for a level of 150 or lower, says Peter H. Jones, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

    “Doctors usually talk about good and bad cholesterol and most folks will have that down, but triglycerides are a better marker for high risk of diabetes and heart disease,” says Jones.

    Triglycerides are also much more responsive to lifestyle changes than other types of blood fats. “Your triglycerides can drop 30% to 50% just by reducing saturated fats and reducing your weight,” Jones says.

    3. Go for nuts and plant sterols.

    Your heart will love you if you eat six walnuts before lunch and dinner, according to Michael Roizen, MD, the chief wellness officer for Cleveland Clinic and chairman of the clinic’s Wellness Institute. Why? Because “walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to decrease inflammation in the arteries surrounding your heart, so they keep your heart functioning longer and better,” promises Roizen,co-author of the best-selling You: Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty. “Walnuts will also make you feel fuller faster so you are less likely to overeat at meals.”

     

    You may want to give pistachios a try as well. A recent study shows that a serving or two of pistachios each day may help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, as long as you are mindful of calories. One cup of pistachio nuts has about 700 calories!

    Other nuts, such as peanuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds are a rich source of plant sterols, which block cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Studies have shown that eating foods enriched with plant sterols lowers LDL cholesterol. Eating 2-3 grams a day lowers LDL cholesterol by 6-15%, without affecting HDL cholesterol or triglycerides. Sterols are found in all plant foods, but the highest concentrations are found in unrefined oils, such as vegetable, nut, and olive oil. Some foods have also been fortified with plant sterols, including milk, yogurt, juices, and spreads.

    4. De-stress your heart.

    Unplug yourself from the news cycle and your email. It’s good for you and your ticker. And that begins with your PDA. “Start turning it off for 15 minutes at a time and work up to an hour a day to reduce stress,” Goldberg says. “Stress raises blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” she says. “These days, people are less and less capable of leaving stress at the office because everyone is connected 24/7.”

    Consider swapping your BlackBerry for another handheld gadget -- your iPod. “Put some relaxing music on your iPod, close your office door for 10 minutes, and listen and breathe.”

    5. Get heart healthy social support.

    You know exercise improves heart health by keeping weight down and raising levels of HDL cholesterol, but doing it with a friend adds benefits.

    “Finding an exercise buddy is really important because social support lowers your risk of heart disease and helps you stay motivated,” Mosca says. Build up to 60 minutes of exercise a day, but even 20 minutes is better than nothing.

    In fact, being married and having a strong social network may help protect against heart disease, according to a study of nearly 15,000 men and women. It turns out that people who have a spouse, go to church, join social clubs, and have a lot of friends and relatives have significantly lower blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors than loners.

    6. Volunteer to fight heart disease.

    People who volunteer tend to live longer than people who don’t. It’s that simple, Mosca says. “We think this is because volunteering reduces isolation and increases social connectivity.” Find a charity that means something to you and donate your time now.

    7. Take a heart-felt approach to quitting smoking.

    Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, but kicking this nasty habit can be much easier said than done. “If you smoke, talk to your doctor about some of the new therapies that are available,” Goldberg says.

     

    Need an added incentive? Take this advice to heart: “You start to improve your heart health within minutes of quitting,” she says. And the heart health dividends keep growing. “After one year, your heart disease risk is cut in half -- and after 10 years of not smoking, your heart disease risk is the same as for someone who has never smoked.”

    Secondhand smoke counts too. A recent study found that women who are exposed to other people’s smoke increased their risk of heart attacks by 69%, strokes by 56%, and peripheral artery disease (PAD) by 67%, when compared with women who did not hang out around smokers. Clogged arteries in the legs, abdomen, pelvis, arms, and neck are linked with PAD. “Tell your friends to quit, too, or make new friends,” Goldberg says.

    8. Drink a little alcohol a day to keep heart disease away.

    “For women, up to one glass of alcohol a day and, for men, up to two glasses a day can help reduce risk of heart disease,” says Goldberg. “Alcohol may help the heart by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol,” she explains. But keep in mind: More is not merrier. “Alcohol also has calories, and too much can cause high blood pressure, worsen heart failure, and cause heart rhythm abnormalities.”

    9. Strengthen your heart with weight training.

    “Strength training reduces your percentage of body fat, keeps your weight down, and increases your muscle mass and endurance for aerobic exercise,” says Goldberg. “Do some weight training with free weights twice a week, making sure to focus on both your upper and lower body,” she says. “As your aerobic capacity improves through strength training, your good HDL cholesterol levels will increase.”

    10. Measure your waist size to gauge your heart health.

    “Take a tape measure and measure your middle,” Goldberg says. “If your waist size is more than 35 inches in women or more than 40 inches in men, this tells you that you are at increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

    The best way to make a dent in that spare tire? “Get serious about being more active and get rid of simple sugar and white-floured foods in your diet,” Goldberg says, adding that these foods tend to take up residence right around the middle.

    11. Reduce your blood pressure by reducing your salt.

    High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and reducing salt intake can help lower blood pressure. Cook with herbs in place of salt, and make sure you read food labels to see just how much salt is in prepared foods. “Aim for less than 2.3 grams [about a teaspoon] of salt per day,” Goldberg says. And keep up the good work when you are dining out, she adds. “Ask for the sauce and salad dressings on the side because restaurant food tends to be heavily salted.”

     

    12. Sleep to your heart’s content.

    People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night have higher blood pressure and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making the arteries more vulnerable to plaque buildup, says Goldberg. In fact, the latest research shows that people who do not get enough sleep are more than twice as likely as others to die of heart disease. Try to avoid caffeine after noon, and develop a stress-free wind-down ritual before bed. Hint? Take a bath, and don’t pay your bills right before bed.

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  • Warning Signs: Heart Attack and Stroke

    Posted by Cheryl Schmidt at 1/31/2010 10:35:00 PM
    Here are some signs a heart attack may be happening:

    ©      Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 

    ©      Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 

    ©      Shortness of breath. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort. 

    ©      Other signs of discomfort. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. 

    ©      As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. 

    If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't wait longer than five minutes before calling 9-1-1 for help.
     

    Stroke Warning Signs
    Stroke is a medical emergency. Learn to recognize a stroke, because any delay in treatment can lead to brain damage. Warning signs may include:

    ©      Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body 

    ©      Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding 

    ©      Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 

    Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination 

    ©      Sudden, severe headache with no known cause 

    Not all these warning signs occur in every stroke. If you or someone with you has one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don't delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the EMS number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent to you.

    Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It's very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

     

     

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