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Viewing posts from: March 2016

Body Mass Index (BMI): what is it and what it means to you.

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BMI With March being National Nutrition Month, it’s important to eat healthy to maximize nutrition. But, it’s also important to keep an eye on your Body Mass Index (BMI).     Your  BMI is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual. Because calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use for clinicians and for the general public. BMI can be used as a screening tool for body fatness but is not diagnostic.   A high BMI can be an indicator that you may be overweight. To determine if a high BMI is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments. These assessments might include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history, and other appropriate health screenings.   The correlation between the BMI and body fatness is fairly strong, but even if two people have the same BMI, their level of body fatness may differ. See examples below:

  • In general, at the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men.
  • In general, at the same BMI, older people, on average, tend to have more body fat than younger adults.
  • In general, at the same BMI, athletes have less body fat than do non-athletes.
The accuracy of BMI as an indicator of body fatness also appears to be higher in persons with higher levels of BMI and body fatness. While, a person with a very high BMI is very likely to have high body fat, a relatively high BMI can be the results of either high body fat or high lean body mass (muscle and bone).   Your doctor should perform appropriate health assessments in order to evaluate an individual's health status and risks. Talk to your doctor about your BMI and what your results mean to you.

Outdoor Recreation Injury Prevention and Preparedness

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mountain biking In Colorado, outdoor recreation is more common than not. Hiking, trekking, backpacking, camping, climbing, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, rafting, and skiing, are just a few of the outdoor activities that Coloradoans partake in regularly, but when you consider injuries for these sports, they are high. Always be prepared. Here is a list of injury prevention recommendations for outdoor sports, whether they be recreational or competitive:

  1. Be prepared. The Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts) have it right. There is no substitute for preparedness. Adherence to this basic rule will prevent or ease the majority of mishaps that occur in the wild. Proper education prior to situations of risk allows you to cope in a purposeful fashion, rather than in a state of fear and panic.
  1. Prior to starting your trip, find out how far from medical assistance you will be. In the case of a medical emergency, you always want to be prepared and close to medical assistance, if necessary.
  1. Use common sense. Many accidents occur because people ignore warning signs or don’t anticipate problems.
  1. Pay heed to rangers, posted warnings, weather reports, and the experience of seasoned guides. For instance, in hot and dry weather, know the specific fire risks, and take no chances.
  1. Prepare for situations of risk by developing your skills in less challenging conditions.
  1. Wear recommended personal safety equipment, such as a flotation jacket, safety harness, or climbing helmet.
  1. Do not tolerate horseplay in dangerous settings.
  1. Many health hazards of wilderness travel, such as falls, can be avoided by a reasonable degree of strength and endurance, which can only be acquired by conditioning.
  2. Other health hazards, such as temperature extremes and high-altitude disorders, can in certain circumstances be avoided by acclimatization to the environment. Acclimatization is a physiological adaptation that is often different from, and may be unrelated to, physical fitness.
  1. Be prepared for foul-weather conditions. Always assume that you will be forced to spend an unexpected night outdoors. Carry warm clothing and waterproof rain gear.
  1. Prepare a trip plan (itinerary) and record it in a location (trailhead, ranger station, marina, or the like) where someone will recognize when a person or party is overdue and potentially lost or in trouble.
  1. Make sure that children wear an item of bright clothing and carry a whistle that they know to blow if they are frightened or lost. If you carry a radio, know how to tune in to a weather information channel.
  1. All wilderness travelers should carry maps, be proficient with compass routing, understand how to signal for help, and know in advance where they intend to explore.
  1. People with specific medical disabilities, such as chronic severe lung disease, may be advised by a physician to avoid certain stressful environments, such as high altitude.
  1. Anyone who undertakes vigorous physical activity should consume adequate calories in a well-balanced diet.
  1. To avoid dehydration and exhaustion, take adequate time to eat, drink, and rest. Most adult males require 3,000 to 5,000 food calories each day in order to sustain heavy physical exertion. Women require 2,000 to 3,500 calories. A nutritious diet can easily be maintained with proper planning. Don’t plan to live off the land unless you are a survival expert.
  1. Fluid requirements have been well worked out for all levels of exercise. Most people underestimate their fluid requirements. Encourage frequent rest stops and water breaks. If natural sources of drinkable water (springs, wells, ice-melt runoff) will not be encountered, you should carry at least a 48-hour supply. Carry supplies for water disinfection.
  1. Use the buddy system. Don't enter a remote area without a companion, or better, a few companions.

Five Ways to Avoid Food Poisoning

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food poisoning Most of us have been there. The unfortunate feeling in your stomach making you run in search of the nearest bathroom. The cause was most likely a delicious meal the previous day, and now you are terribly regretting that meal as you are confined to your bathroom, sick as a dog. There are simple steps you can take to decrease your risk of getting food poisoning, including:

  1. Don't leave your food out Food left out at room temperature for hours at a time - be it at home, or a doggy bag from the restaurant you just left, a family cookout, or even a restaurant buffet -- room temperature food is a prime source of food poisoning. The spores and toxins released by bacteria commonly found on food can flourish at this temperature.
  2. Stay clear of raw poultry Four out of five cases of food poisoning come from contaminated poultry. The best way to avoid food poisoning from chicken is to make avoid raw chicken. Make sure all chicken is cooked thoroughly you have good kitchen practices when cooking and handling chicken at home.
  3. Cook all Ground Meat well, before eating. A steak is an intact piece of meat. Any contamination will be on the surface. Cooking a steak well on the outside therefore reduces your chances of infection, even if it remains rare inside. But ground meat is different. Ground meat, such as hamburger, ground turkey, etc. instead of the bacteria staying on the outside, harmful bacteria is mixed into the meat. This applies to any form of burger, be it gourmet slider, meat pie, or anything that uses ground meat. Make sure any ground meat is cooked thoroughly before eating and consider having your burgers always prepared in as well-done to avoid bacteria.
  4. Wash your fruit, veggies, and nuts! A 2013 study by the CDC found that 46% of foodborne illnesses in the U.S are caused by fruits, vegetables and nuts. Leafy vegetables were found to cause the most illness, accounting for 22% of all cases in the study -- aided by the fact that bacteria, like E. coli, can live within the leaf tissue itself. Always wash your fruit, veggies and nuts before eating.
  5. Reheat your leftovers properly Bacteria can be found in leftovers, and unless heating them so they are piping hot, you may be at risk. For example, rice. Rice contain bacteria that are found in the rice patty fields.  The bacteria are killed when the rice is cooked, but their spores stay alive and flourish if then left out at room temperature. If you eat rice without fully heating it, you could be at risk of that bacteria the second time around. Make sure to heat your leftovers until they steam.
More questions about food poisoning? Ask your doctor for advice on how to keep you and your family out of risk.  

Common Sleep Disorders

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sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Below are the different types of sleep disorders that you or your loved ones may be experiencing. Insomnia Insomnia is an inability to initiate or maintain sleep. You may encounter early morning awakening in which the individual awakens several hours early and is unable to resume sleeping. Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep may often encounter which can lead to impairment throughout the day. Your doctor can treat chronic insomnia with a combination of medications, along with behavioral techniques to promote regular sleep. Narcolepsy Excessive daytime sleepiness (including episodes of irresistible sleepiness) combined with sudden muscle weakness are all signs of narcolepsy. The sudden muscle weakness seen in narcolepsy may be elicited by strong emotion or surprise. Narcoleptic episodes have been described as “sleep attacks” and may occur in unusual circumstances, such as walking and other forms of physical activity. Your doctor may treat narcolepsy with stimulant medications combined with behavioral interventions, such as regularly scheduled naps, to minimize the potential disruptiveness of narcolepsy on the individual’s life. Restless Legs Syndrome Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an unpleasant “creeping” sensation, often feeling like it is tingling in the lower legs, but often associated with aches and pains throughout the legs. This often causes difficulty initiating sleep and is relieved by movement of the leg, such as walking or kicking. Your doctor will often solutions or medication to promote sleep continuity in the treatment of RLS. Sleep Apnea Excessive snoring, or sleep apnea,  may be more than just an annoying habit. Those with sleep apnea characteristically make gasping or “snorting” noises, during which their sleep is momentarily interrupted. Those with sleep apnea may also experience excessive daytime sleepiness, as their sleep is commonly interrupted and may not feel restorative. Talk to your doctor about what you can do if you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea. Not getting enough sleep? Consult with your physician. Whether it’s stress related or a sleep disorder, we can help you get on a path to a better night’s sleep.

The Facts About Lead Exposure

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lead poisoning With recent news headlines filled with information about lead tainted water in the midwest (specifically, Flint, Michigan), have you found yourself wondering about Lead Poisoning? What it is? What the affects are on you and your children? How can  you get it? If so, this post is for you. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Lead is everywhere and is hard to stay clear of. Sources of lead exposure can include all sorts of things such as paint, gasoline, solder, and consumer product such as candy, jewelry, toys and more. Kids are more often exposed to lead due to the sheer amount of items they use that contain lead. Lead can be carried into the system by numerous pathways, such as air, food, water, dust, and soil. Although, there are several exposure sources, lead-based paint is the most widespread and dangerous high-dose source of lead exposure for young children. Symptoms include developmental delays, abdominal pain, neurologic changes, and irritability. At very high levels, it can be fatal. More often than not, there are no symptoms at all. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. A blood lead test is the only way to find out if your child has a high lead level. Most children with high levels of lead in their blood have no symptoms. Your doctor can recommend treatment if you or your child has been exposed to lead or has lead poisoning. If you are worried about lead exposure or poisoning, please contact your doctor right away. We will help you determine if high levels of lead are in the body and can provide help.