Health

Vitamin D Muscles and Bones

Hearing Loss High Cost Screenings for Older Adults Diabetes Education Enhancing Intimacy Fistula Surgery Popularity of Supplements Adaptive Sports Reconditioning

Growing Bones Need Vitamin D

(NAPSI)—Children need vitamin D for strong bones and muscles. While some can be found in food, the nutrient is mostly made by your body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. A vitamin D deficiency can hurt a child’s musculoskeletal system, according to the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative.

“A vitamin D deficiency in growing children can keep their bones from growing straight or it can make bones too weak to support a child’s body weight, resulting in broken bones,” explained Ellen Raney, M.D., of Shriners Hospitals for Children—Portland.

Symptoms

Severe vitamin D deficiency is becoming prevalent, however. Signs include growth that’s severely stunted, arms and legs that don’t grow straight, and bones that are weak and easily broken.

Why It Happens

There are a number of reasons:

• Decreased outdoor activities

• Constant use of sunscreen while outside

• Limited availability of vitamin D-rich foods. It’s found in fish such as salmon and in cod liver oil and fortified foods such as milk, breakfast cereals and some brands of juice, yogurt or margarine. You want to look for foods with a Daily Value (DV) of 20 percent or more. A good diet is important but it may not be enough.

What To Do

To help, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a daily intake of 400 IU a day of vitamin D during the first year of life beginning in the first few days of life. The Institute of Medicine says children and adolescents need a daily intake of at least 600 IU per day. Your doctor can determine the correct amount of vitamin D for your children and what, if any, changes to make to their diet.

Fortunately, vitamin D is readily available by itself in child-friendly forms, such as gummy vitamins or liquid and in children’s multivitamins with 60 to 400 IU of vitamin D. Just remember, taking several multivitamins a day to get more vitamin D is not wise, as too much of other vitamins can be harmful.

Help a Child You Know

Children with musculoskeletal problems can get help at Shriners Hospitals for Children. They change lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The nonprofit organization’s 22 facilities in North America provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.

To refer a patient to Shriners Hospitals for Children, call (800) 237-5055. You can also e-mail patientreferrals@shrinenet.org to get a referral started.

Learn More

Find out more at www.shrinershospitals.org.

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Avoid The High Cost Of Hearing Loss

(NAPSI)—Hearing loss is one of the leading public health concerns, impacting an estimated 17 percent of American adults. Despite this fact, most insurance policies cover only a portion of hearing impairment costs, and government-sponsored health programs like Medicare offer little to no coverage at all.

A recent industry survey cited by the National Institutes of Health revealed that, on average, Americans pay $1,182-$2,786 per hearing aid--70 percent of those with hearing loss require two devices. As hearing aids must be replaced every four to six years, a person may spend tens of thousands of dollars within his or her lifetime. This factor is one reason fewer than 20 percent of adults with hearing impairment seek help for their condition.

Hearing Loss from Noise Is Preventable

Many cases of hearing loss are due to excessive noise. With power tools, motorcycles, movies, lawn mowers and music players capable of producing noise levels above 85 decibels (dB), there is no shortage of sounds that put hearing at risk. Prolonged exposure to noises louder than 85 dB can damage your hearing permanently.

“Too many people are losing their hearing because of noise exposure,” says Dr. Laurie Wells, an audiologist in 3M’s hearing protection business. “Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible and costly—and not just to your pocketbook, but more importantly, to your overall well-being. Hearing loss negatively affects the most fundamental need we have as humans: the ability to communicate with each other. Evidence suggests that people who suffer from hearing loss are less social and more apt to report depression and anxiety.”

Protection Is Key

The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable. People can significantly reduce their noise exposure by wearing hearing protection, avoiding repeated exposure to loud noises, and participating in hearing loss prevention programs at work.

To address this growing concern, 3M recently launched the Hearing Pledge. The Hearing Pledge is an awareness campaign aimed at providing education on the risks associated with exposure to excessive noise and encourages visitors to commit to using proper hearing protection, both at work and at home. The site provides educational materials and resources for individuals and businesses interested in implementing hearing protection initiatives. Individuals who commit to protecting their hearing through the Hearing Pledge are entered into a drawing for the chance to win an iPod, along with specially designed headphones with audio-limiting technology. This is just one more incentive to protect your hearing and avoid the costs associated with hearing loss.

To learn more, visit www.hearingpledge.com.

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Spring Screening: Six Health Screenings That Could Save Your Life

 

(NAPSI)—As the percentage of our older population increases, health care providers appreciate the need to stop disease before it starts.

The Problem

A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of obesity and related health conditions than do members of the previous generation. While chronic diseases are among the most costly of all health problems, they are also the most preventable. So how does one begin to make sense of preventive care advisories when so many screenings are recommended at once?

An Answer

Here are the most-recommended screenings for keeping older adults healthy.

Cancer

While you may hear about many cancer screenings, colon cancer and breast cancer impact the highest number of people in the United States .

Both men and women ages 50 to 75 should be screened for colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. One in 20 risk developing the disease. The easiest of several acceptable strategies is to take a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) at home every year, or every two years, to check for hidden blood in the stools.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women. One in eight will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Women ages 50 to 74 are advised to have a mammogram every year or every two years.

Heart Health

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both sexes. The risk of heart disease can be reduced by maintaining a healthful diet and regular exercise. Even so, doctors highly recommend screening for risk factors of heart disease.

Most importantly, blood pressure, normally taken at the doctor’s office, should be checked every two years at minimum for those 18 years and older. Though it often shows no symptoms, high blood pressure can damage vital organs-including your heart.

To keep your heart healthy, Kaiser Permanente doctors recommend members get their cholesterol checked by a blood test at age 20 or at their first visit after that age. Routine testing should next occur at age 35 for men and age 40 for women and afterwards on a schedule determined by results.

Screening for diabetes with a fasting glucose plasma test or an HbA1c blood test is recommended for those with other risk factors for heart disease.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are often associated with being overweight, and boomers surveyed in the study mentioned earlier had higher rates of all four conditions compared to an earlier generation. They also reported exercising less than those in that earlier generation, which is very likely related.

Osteoporosis and Bone Health

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, nearly 10 million Americans are living with osteoporosis. About half of all women over 50 will break a bone because of the disease.

Kaiser Permanente doctors who have researched osteoporosis have developed screening recommendations to find and treat affected members. Their guideline urges women to have routine osteoporosis screening at age 65 and repeat at age 70. The screening consists of a simple, noninvasive bone mineral density scan.

Kaiser Permanente has some of the best health screening rates in the nation, according to the 2012 National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Quality CompassŪ data set. Our coordinated care and groundbreaking electronic health records allow us to be proactive in keeping our members up to date with their screenings. A little prevention can go a long way. Please check the table provided and make sure you’ve at least had these six screenings, which could save your life.

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Five Ways Older Adults Can Be More Active By The National Diabetes Education Program

(NAPSI)—As you get older, your risk for health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, increases. You also have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. But it’s never too late to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Research shows that modest weight loss through healthy eating and being active can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people over age 60.

If you are overweight, losing 5 to 7 percent of your current body weight can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means a weight loss of about 10 to 14 pounds. Talk to your doctor about setting safe weight loss goals and ways to be more active.

Getting Started: How to Get Moving

Once you set your goals, decide what small steps you will take to get started. For example, you might say, “I will walk for 10 minutes after lunch to be more active each day” until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Be active, move more and sit less to help yourself lose weight or stay at a healthy weight and be more flexible and strong. Ask your health care provider how you can safely start to be more active. Before being active, be sure to warm up to get your body ready. Shrug your shoulders, swing your arms, or march in place for three to five minutes before you begin any activity.

Five Ways to Be More Active

There are many ways you can get active at little or no cost, such as walking or doing chair exercises. Find an activity you can enjoy so you can stay at it. This will make it easier to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Try these ideas:

• Around the House. Things that you do every day can help you be more active. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands. Rise up and down on your toes while standing and holding on to a stable chair or countertop. When you watch TV, stretch and move around during commercial breaks. You can also walk around the house when you talk on the phone. Follow along with a video for older adults that shows you how to get active.

• Around Town. Being more active can also be a great way to meet friends. Join a local walking group. Always walk in safe places such as the mall, museum or a community center. Wear shoes that fit your feet and provide comfort and support.

• While Running Errands. Make getting active a part of your regular day. If it is safe, park the car farther away from stores or restaurants. If you take the bus or train-and the area is safe-get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

• With Your Family. Get your family involved to make being active more fun. Teach the younger people in your life the dances you enjoy. Plan a trip to the local pool and go for a swim together. Moving around in the water is gentle on your joints.

• Get Outside. When you can, get active outside. Take care of a garden or wash your car. Enjoy a brisk walk with friends or family around a park, museum or zoo.

For more tips to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, download or order the “It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes. Take Your First Step Today” tip sheet or “Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients” booklet from the National Diabetes Education Program at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337); TTY: 1-866-569-1162.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

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The Road To Enhancing Intimacy Begins With Emotional Connection

(NAPSI)—It may seem to defy popular belief, but the best place to touch someone to enhance pleasure is...the heart. According to a national study conducted by Durex via Crowdtap, relationships are at their best between people who trust each other. The survey is part of the brand’s new “Liberating Side of Being Together” campaign, which was unveiled at a star-studded event hosted by Jenny McCarthy in New York City.

Further Findings

• Strings attached are best for 96 percent of men and women who think that intimacy is more fulfilling when there is an emotional connection between partners.

• Eighty-seven percent of women reported that things are at their “hottest” when with a partner whom they trust and with whom they had a prior relationship.

• Eighty-three percent of respondents believe intimacy is key to maintaining a great relationship.

• Ninety-four percent of respondents say sex is better when your partner wants only you.

• Another benefit of being with someone special is that you can move to the next level and try new things together. In fact, 95 percent said being with someone who only wants them is what gives them the confidence to explore and try new things.

• People who do not see intimate relations as purely physical are more satisfied overall, more confident in their abilities, have a stronger libido and are more confident in discussing or suggesting new ideas with their partners.

The study was sponsored by Durex, a brand with more than 80 years of experience in the bedroom, inspiring couples to get closer and go further through its extensive collection of condoms, lubricants and personal massagers, as well as tips and advice for lovers to make their bedrooms hotter than ever. The company’s latest product, Massage & Play 2 in 1 massage gel and intimate lubricant, is designed for sensual pleasure from head to toe and everywhere in between. The new Performax Intense condoms are designed to speed her up and slow him down.

Learn More

For more information and sex tips, visit www.durexusa.com or the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/durexUSA.

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Gifts That Heal

(NAPSI)—You can show a woman you care by giving a gift that heals. Here’s how:

The Problem

Most women in the undeveloped world give birth at home without trained medical help. In many cases, this results in an obstetric fistula, an injury that renders her incontinent. Left untreated, a woman faces a life of isolation. Her husband often leaves and community shuns her. This disabling injury affects more than half a million women. It can only be treated through surgery.

A Solution

“It is the poorest women in the poorest places who suffer most,” said Kate Grant, CEO of The Fistula Foundation. “We are in business to change this heartbreaking reality, by funding surgeries that can completely transform a woman’s life for as little as $450,” she added.

How You Can Help

To honor someone with a gift that helps these women, you can:

• Make a tax-deductible donation to The Fistula Foundation in their honor.

• Send a necklace, scarf or card from the Foundation’s Dignity Gift catalog.

Learn More

Find out how at (866) 756-3700 and www.fistulafoundation.org.

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Most Consumers Take Supplements

(NAPSI)—Consumers continue to show that they have a healthy appetite for nutritional supplements. According to a recent study sponsored by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Equity Research Department, more than 76 percent of Americans regularly take a vitamin or supplement.

For some, it’s a way to complement inadequate diets, while others see it as a way to enhance their healthful lifestyle.

Given the popularity of supplements, the Natural Products Association says consumers may be pleased to learn supplements are often the first step that people take toward greater nutritional awareness and the adoption of other healthy choices.

While a good diet is the foundation for better health, research shows that most adults and children don’t eat the way they should. People can and do live healthier lives by supplementing their diets.

Many people may not know the National Institutes of Health maintains an Office of Dietary Supplements dedicated to conducting and coordinating scientific research on supplements within NIH. These scientific studies help serve to substantiate the fact that dietary supplements support health and wellness. Supplements also have an enviable safety record compared to other commonly consumed products.

To learn more, visit www.NPAinfo.org/consumers.

 

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Army Amputee Continues To Serve Through Adaptive Sports And Reconditioning

(NAPSI)—Seven months after joining the Army, Sgt. Ryan McIntosh stepped on an improvised explosive device during a routine orchard-clearing mission in Afghanistan . He came home with a deeper commitment to the uniform, despite losing his right leg below the knee.

Three years later, McIntosh continues to serve on active duty through a special program for soldiers found medically unfit for duty.

“I’m a right leg amputee but I still wear the uniform,” McIntosh said. “People have told me I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things but I didn’t limit myself.”

McIntosh made news last year when he served as a ballperson at the U.S. Open after winning four medals at the 2012 Warrior Games, including gold in wheelchair basketball. Now he leads the adaptive reconditioning program to enhance soldiers’ recovery and transition at the Brooke Army Medical Center Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) in San Antonio, TX. Here, soldiers like McIntosh focus on one mission: to heal and prepare for transition. In these programs at all 29 WTUs around the country, soldiers participate in a wide variety of sports, such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, archery and shooting, all customized to their physical abilities.

“I’m helping other soldiers with their physical therapy by finding sports for them to get back into,” he said. Adaptive reconditioning activities provide a wide variety of benefits, such as less stress, reduced dependency on pain medications and increased self-confidence.

“I have learned that I am a much stronger-willed person than I ever imagined,” said Army Capt. Lacey Hamilton, who sustained a traumatic brain injury and physical injuries during her own deployment to Afghanistan and who competed with McIntosh at the Warrior Games. Hamilton earned a bronze in 2012 and qualified for cycling and track in 2013. “I was determined to not let my injury get in the way of living life.”

In its fourth year, more than 200 athletes qualified to compete at the 2013 Warrior Games. Wounded, ill or injured service members representing all branches of the U.S. military and the United Kingdom Armed Forces will compete for gold in seven sports.

For more about the Warrior Games and wounded, ill or injured soldiers participating in adaptive sports, visit the Warrior Transition Command website: www.WTC.army.mil.

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