Health in a Minute: Fall 2016

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What unhealthy objects could be lurking in your home?  

Dangerous household items could be hiding in plain sight. We’re willing to bet you have at least a few of the items on this list in your home. Read on to see what damage they can cause.

Nonstick Cookware: The very thing that makes these pots and pans nonstick is what makes them harmful. Their easy-to-clean promises might be tempting, but the polytetrafluoroethylene coating releases gasses when heated that have been linked to cancer and other dangerous health issues.

Mothballs: They can keep the moth holes out of your cashmere, but keep Fido away! The naphthalene found in mothballs has also been proven to cause cancer in animals.

Air Fresheners: Everyone loves a scented house, but not at the expense of your health. Toxins found in air fresheners can build up in your body over time and may eventually affect hormones and reproductive health.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: It can corrode icky toilet stains, but toilet bowl cleaner can also burn skin and eyes.

Gas Space Heaters: It might be tempting to stick a heater in a chilly corner of your home as the weather turns cool, but gas space heaters release toxins that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Oven Cleaner: Drips and spills can cause an oven to be less than sparkling, but use caution when using an oven cleaner. The corrosive alkalis found in them can harm your gastrointestinal track and respiratory system if inhaled or ingested.

Source: House Beautiful


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Is your child being challenged enough?

A new school year is in full swing, and while some kids will immerse themselves in their brand new books, others will feel a sense of restlessness and disinterest. Sometimes this can lead to acting out, but often the root of the issue is that your child may not be challenged enough by their classwork.

According to Psychology Today, the first step in plotting a course of action is to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher. Come with questions, not complaints. First, ask how their teacher is differentiating instruction to fit your child’s needs. Are they providing extra reading or alternate instruction time? What does it entail? Once you’ve asked these questions and gotten to know what your child’s typical school day is like, a few next steps to take are:

• Gather evidence. If you feel your child reads on a more accelerated level than their classmates, for example, be ready to explain and illustrate your concerns with specific examples. This way you can offer compelling reasons why the level of instruction doesn’t work for your child.

• Have a plan. Work with your child’s teacher to make a plan that is as specific as possible – if your child masters a spelling list week after week, see if their teacher can assign them more challenging words in the future. Then write the plan down and email a copy to the teacher so that everyone is on the same page.

• Be patient. Depending on the cause of your child’s boredom, reenergizing them might take time. Keep track of improvements, and if the plan you’ve agreed upon needs some reworking, make revisions as needed until you’ve found the perfect solution.

Source: Psychology Today

him-1Headphones and Kids’ Hearing
Is your music doing damage?

It’s estimated that today 1 in 5 teens has some form of hearing loss. According to the American Osteopathic Association, that rate is 30% higher than it was in the ’80s and ’90s. Could this be in part due to the increase in the ever-present headphones and ear buds? Many experts believe so.

If your child likes to listen to headphones at amped-up volumes, take heed. Listening at a high volume for an extended period of time can result in lifelong hearing loss for children and teens. To make sure they’re listening at a safe volume, encourage the 60/60 rule: Listen no higher than at 60% of maximum volume for only around 60 minutes per day. If they listen louder, they should listen for a shorter period of time.

If your child is especially keen on loud music, consider purchasing the headphone style that rests over the ear instead of directly inside. Because there is no treatment for hearing loss – and warning signs are typically gradual, subtle, and cumulative – implementing safe listening regulations is of high importance.

Source: American Osteopathic Association


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Make the most out of each doctor’s visit by asking your MD the crucial questions. Here are some top questions AARP recommends:

Q: When should I get my mammogram, Pap smear, and colon cancer test?

A: Your screenings should be based on your personal, medical, and family history. Since intervals between each will vary for everyone, work with your doctor to find a timeframe that works best for you.

Q: Should I start taking daily aspirin?

A: There are pros and cons to taking a daily aspirin. A daily baby aspirin can help prevent strokes and heart attacks, but it can also affect clotting and can cause stomach bleeding. Talk to your doctor before you start the regimen.

Q: What are my risks now that I’ve started menopause?

A: Menopause increases your risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. Be sure to discuss with your doctor what your new risks are and how to prevent them.

Q: Lately I’ve been feeling sad. Could I be depressed?

A: Depression affects twice as many women as men, so if you feel concerned, ask your doctor for a screening. Once your diagnosis is determined, discuss what treatment options – sleep changes, exercise, or antidepressants – might be right for you.

Q: Should I drink a glass of wine each day?

A: Ask your doctor how drinking will affect you. While one daily glass of wine is known to protect against heart disease, overdo it and you could be more prone to memory problems later in life. Plus, studies have found that moderate drinking increases breast cancer risk.

Source: AARP


Feeling Fatigued
Could your adrenal glands be to blame?

There are scores of reasons you may feel fatigued, but one that commonly goes unnoticed is adrenal insufficiency, or Addison’s disease. Adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney and produce hormones that help the body control blood sugar, burn protein and fat, react to stressors like a major illness or injury, and regulate blood pressure. The cause of adrenal insufficiency is inadequate production of one or more hormones as a result of an underlying disease.

According to The Mayo Clinic, some signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include:

  Fatigue

  Body aches

  Unexplained weight loss

  Low blood pressure

  Lightheadedness

  Loss of body hair

  Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)

If you feel you could suffer from adrenal insufficiency, contact your doctor about testing. It can be diagnosed by blood tests and special stimulation tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones.

One term that may come up is “adrenal fatigue.” This is not an accepted medical diagnosis, and unproven remedies to fight the fatigue may leave you feeling worse and can divert you  from the real, underlying issue at hand.

Source: Mayo Clinic


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Are sympathetic pregnancy symptoms real?

Men get off easy in the labor department, but that doesn’t mean their partner’s discomfort can’t rub off on them. A phenomenon known as Couvade syndrome describes the condition in which healthy men with expecting partners can experience pregnancy-related symptoms.

It’s not formally recognized as a mental illness or disease, and some question its validity. However, men with Couvade syndrome may experience physical symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, appetite changes, respiratory problems, leg cramps, backaches, and urinary or genital irritations. Further, psychological symptoms are known to arise as well, including changes in sleeping patterns, anxiety, depression, reduced libido, and restlessness.

These symptoms usually occur during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. To manage the stress of becoming a new dad, experts recommend attending prenatal classes, seeking out advice and encouragement from other dads, and communicating with your partner.

Source: The Mayo Clinic


him-2Stay Connected

While it’s easy to get caught up at work or spend a whole weekend watching Netflix, staying close and connected with friends and family has serious health benefits. Research shows that whether you choose to stay connected with faraway friends via frequent phone calls, or to schedule a daily dinner with family, this close network can protect you against heart disease. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the USA and having a large-sized social network is known to improve the management of heart disease, and heart disease mortality.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-3-18-45-pmProstate Problems
Could you have benign prostatic enlargement (BPH)?

By age 60, 50% of men will have some signs of benign prostatic enlargement, and by age 85, 90% of men will have signs of the condition, with around half having symptoms that require treatment. But what is BPH?

BPH is benign enlargement of the prostate, and it’s the most common prostate problem in men. While it does not increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, it does have similar symptoms.

If you feel you’re at risk for BPH, talk to your doctor. BPH can be diagnosed by a complete physical combined with certain studies. If BPH is determined to be the cause of your symptoms, treatment may include “watchful waiting,” surgery to remove prostate tissue blocking the flow of urine, or medication.

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