Your knees are the largest joint in your body and often take the brunt of the heavy lifting. It heavily relies on ligaments to support it and undergoes a lot of strain to fulfill its range of motion through the course of normal activities. And because of that, people are more prone to knee injuries than other parts of your body. The following items are the most common ailments to the knee. ACL Tear The most common and dramatic knee injury is a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL is the central stability center for the knee as it bends. A fall or twist can predispose the ligament to tearing. ACL tears are the most common tears among athletes such as football players or downhill skiers and can also result from cycling, running, and more. Also, when your quadriceps are stronger than your hamstrings this can predispose you to this injury. When you injure your ACL you will more than likely know you’ve encountered a more serious injury. Generally patients have difficulty bearing weight and there is usually swelling in the joint. Surgery and physical therapy are the most common fixes for this injury. Meniscus Tear Meniscus tears are also very common knee injuries. The meniscus is the cartilage pads between the femur and tibia bones. It helps cushion and stabilize the knee joint. Meniscus tears generally happen during a deep-knee bend, twist or slip and fall. The does not heal easily and may need to be surgically trimmed or repaired. Those that injure their meniscus generally have difficulty bearing weight, swelling, and limited motion. Patients generally may even have problems fully bending or straightening their your knee. Injury Prevention The key to injury prevention and healing from a knee injury includes regular stretching and strengthening. Not only do you want to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee, but core strengthening is also very beneficial. Stretching with a normal range of motion, and gaining core strength and stability will help before the injury occur. Limber muscles are better able to respond to quick movements and allow the knee to maintain normal motion. Hip and core strength is especially important to knee stability, as weak hips and core can stress the knees. You should consider developing a strength training program that works for you. Physical therapists, athletic trainers, coaches, and other professionals should be able to help you build a program tailored to you. By stretching and strengthening approximately three times a week, you will significantly decrease your likelihood of a knee injury.
Flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the sun is staying up longer. And here in Colorado, depending on what part you’re in, we may still even be shoveling snow. It’s this time of year that runners ditch their treadmill for the trail, spring fruit and veggie recipes start to emerge and people are embracing this great transition into summer. It's time for a healthy spring. Here are four new ideas for embracing spring.
- Start cleaning - Spring cleaning! Not only is it a good idea to declutter and organize your house, but take the time to recharge your mind and evaluate your social and work schedule to make more time for yourself.
- Swap the winter soups with fresh salads. Get creative and swap out plain lettuce or romaine for arugula, spinach or kale. Also, try experimenting with new vegetables, like this Endive and Snap Peas Salad with a homemade dressing.
- Get active outdoors! Take a run through the park or grab a friend for a hike. It's nice to come out of hibernation and get a dose of fresh air and feel re-energized in your workout. Get outside and get some fresh air while you work out.
- Eat healthy and have a picnic. Pack a healthy lunch, grab your family, a blanket and head over to your favorite scenic spot. Not sure what to pack? Finger foods, like veggies or salsa are easy to pack and make for convenient snacking.
Mold Exposure and Your Health. Spring often brings wet crawl spaces, and flooded basements. Each of those problems can bring mold. But how does mold affect your health? Keep reading and find out. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold. In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In addition, in 2004 the IOM found sufficient evidence to link exposure to damp indoor environments in general to upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people and with asthma symptoms in people with asthma. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking exposure to damp indoor environments in general to shortness of breath, to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children and to potential development of asthma in susceptible individuals. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mold. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard. If you have mold in your home, or are exposed to it in other areas such as a compost pile, cut grass or wood piles, it’s important that you are avoid breathing in mold in these areas to help keep your lungs healthy. Still have questions about mold and your health? Ask your doctor.
Kids Health: Seasonal Allergies - Your kids are having sneezing fits, and cold-like systems —sneezing, congestion, and runny nose. Think it’s just a spring cold? It could actually be seasonal allergies. Colds and seasonal allergies have similar symptoms but generally happen at the same time every year. Often called "hay fever", otherwise known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that happen during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants. An immune system of one that is allergic to mold spores or pollen treat these particles (called allergens) are treated by the body as invaders, and your body feels the need to defend against them. It's the release of these invaders that causes allergy symptoms. Kids can be allergic to one or more types of pollen or mold. The type someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen. For example, in some states tree pollination is February through May, grass pollen runs from May through June, and weed pollen is from August through October. That said, some kids with these allergies are likely to have increased symptoms at those times. Even kids who have never had seasonal allergies in years past can develop them. Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, though they usually develop by the time a child is 10 years old and reach their peak in the early twenties, with symptoms often disappearing later in adulthood. Signs and Symptoms If your child develops a "cold" at the same time every year, seasonal allergies might be to blame. Allergy symptoms, which usually come on suddenly and last as long as a person is exposed to the allergen, can include:
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy nose and/or throat
- Clear, runny nose
- Itchy, watery and/or red eyes
Coloradans are known to love hiking, being outside and getting into the mountains. Colorado also has ticks, which can cause problems to our health, including Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in these regions, Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. You're more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease thrive. It's important to know the signs and symptoms and take common-sense precautions in tick-infested areas. According to the Mayo Clinic the following signs and symptoms are often common with Lyme disease.
Signs and Symptoms:Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary. They usually appear in stages, but the stages can overlap.
Stage 1: Early signs and symptomsA small, red bump, similar to the bump of a mosquito bite, often appears at the site of a tick bite, or often the actual tick will be in the place of the bite. A tick removal and red bum often resolves over a few days. This normal occurrence doesn't indicate Lyme disease. However, these signs and symptoms can occur within a month after you've been infected:
- Rash. From three to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bull's-eye pattern. The rash (Erythema migrans) expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches (30 centimeters) across. It's typically not itchy or painful but might feel warm to the touch.
- Erythema migrans is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease, although not everyone with Lyme disease develops the rash. Some people develop this rash at more than one place on their bodies.
- Other symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes can accompany the rash.
Stage 2: Later signs and symptomsIf you do have Lyme disease and it goes untreated untreated, new signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear in the following weeks to months. These include:
- Erythema migrans. The rash may appear on other areas of your body.
- Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
- Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell's palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
When to see your doctorIf you've been bitten by a tick and have symptoms Only a minority of tick bites leads to Lyme disease. The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of getting the disease. Lyme infection is unlikely if the tick is attached for less than 36 to 48 hours. If you think you've been bitten and have signs and symptoms of Lyme disease — particularly if you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent — contact your doctor. Treatment for Lyme disease is more effective if begun early. See your doctor even if symptoms disappear Consult your doctor even if signs and symptoms disappear — the absence of symptoms doesn't mean the disease is gone. Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of your body for several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems. Ticks can also transmit other illnesses, such as babesiosis and Colorado tick fever.
Serious Symptoms That Shouldn’t Be Ignored A serious health issue can strike at any time. Serious symptoms can occur. And in many cases, a fast reaction can make a big impact on outcomes. Whether it’s a heart attack, stroke, or other serious illness, the following symptoms are those you should never ignore. Pain in the chest Heavy, crushing pain in your mid-chest, especially accompanied by nausea, sweating or shortness of breath, you may be having a heart attack and should seek medical help immediately. Pain can take all different forms. It could be sharp, comes and goes, is steady, isn’t too severe but seems odd. If chest pain strikes in the middle of the night, don’t try to ride it out and don’t worry about inconveniencing anyone. You know your body, so any pain that seems unusual and severe deserves a trip to the emergency room. Difficulty breathing If you’re short of breath, drawing a breath without getting any benefit from the air, or having trouble breathing, seek medical attention. Asthma, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and chronic lung disease may all be at fault. Pain in the abdomen An unusual pain in the abdominal area, or anywhere below the ribs and above the hips, should be checked out. Of special concern are pains that are severe, new or accompanied by nausea, vomiting and fever. Because there are a number of organs in the abdomen, there are various causes of pain that could include kidney stones, gallstones, tumors, and/or complications of undiagnosed pregnancies. Stroke symptoms Stroke symptoms can come in many forms, but if you have a hard time talking, controlling or moving limbs, or experience face weakness or drooping, you may be having a stroke. Seek help immediately. The sooner doctors have a chance to diagnose and intervene, the better the outcome. Pain in the head If you have a serious, sudden headache, especially with fever, confusion, faintness or loss of consciousness, head for the emergency room. A stroke or very high blood pressure could be the culprit of these symptoms. With any medical concern, do not hesitate, see a doctor immediately. It’s better to overreact and over respond and be reassured, then to underreact and under-respond and miss the boat on a chance to intervene meaningfully.
What Moms-to-Be Should Know About Prenatal Genetic Testing When a woman finds out she is pregnant, doctors appointments and a barrage of information comes quickly. This includes early decisions about prenatal genetic testing. The optional tests, which can help detect the risk of abnormalities, can supply important information before a baby’s birth. Most genetic testing comes in the form of a simple blood draw which can provided a large amount of information about the baby. Although the results can help families make informed decisions, the tests aren’t perfect. Blood-based screening tests cannot always say with certainty that a baby is affected, a deficit that can be difficult to handle during pregnancy. This is why it is a good idea to talk about any type of genetic testing before a baby is conceived. Some of those discussions are easier to have outside the context of pregnancy. But a lot of couples should consider talking about what they would do if the results are positive. Screening Options There are two blood-based methods to screen for chromosome abnormalities in pregnancy. These options includes:
- First-trimester screening: This test has two parts: bloodwork looking at hormones in a mother’s blood and an ultrasound. The ultrasound is used to measure the back of the baby’s neck. extra fluid on the neck can be a sign of Down’s syndrome, heart defects or other complications. This information is used to provide an overall risk assessment. The test will detect about 93 percent of Down’s syndrome cases with a 5 percent false positive rate. It also screens for other chromosome abnormalities and can sometimes detect pregnancies at high risk for complications such as poor growth later in pregnancy.
- Cell-free DNA screening: DNA fragments from the placenta that are in a pregnant mother’s blood can be used to try to identify pregnancies at higher risk for chromosome abnormalities.
- Chorionic villus sampling: Placenta tissue is extracted via the cervix (a similar approach to a Pap smear) or by using a needle inserted through the mother’s abdomen into the uterus. It is performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. Parents who want a confirmation sooner often choose this option.
- Amniocentesis: In this test, a needle is inserted through the abdomen to extract fluid surrounding the baby (the needle doesn’t touch the baby). The amniotic fluid contains fetal cells that can be used for diagnostic testing. It is performed 15 weeks into the pregnancy or later.
Tips for keeping your student athlete injury free. Your student athlete's sports, are in full force and coaches are working to keep them safe. Whether you have a student-athlete on the basketball or the volleyball court or even cheerleading, safety during high school sports is an important topic. Here are some common injuries they treat, and ways to address similar injuries in your athlete should something happen away from school: Hydration-related injuries Dehydration is common health threats for athletes, especially if activities take place outside. Making sure your athlete stays properly hydrated throughout the entire day leading up to, during and after the practice or event. Dislocated joints Athletic trainers see dislocated fingers, shoulders, kneecaps and shoulder separations, among others. In these situations this injury is often splint the body part to stabilize it while calling the athlete’s parent or guardian to take them to the hospital for further X-rays and treatment. You probably won’t have a splint at home should your child injure a bone or joint, but try to have your child keep the injured location as immobile as possible until you can get them to the hospital. Concussions Concussions tend to be seen more in contact sports such as football, hockey and wrestling, but can also be seen in sports such as cheerleading, basketball and soccer. The evaluation process for concussions should be easy for certified athletic trainers, but sometimes it becomes difficult when injured athletes don’t want to admit their symptoms because they want to continue playing. If coaches suspect an individual is displaying concussion-like symptoms, you’ll want to make sure her or she receives a physician evaluation. Sprains, tears and contusions The most common injury in student-athletes is ankle sprains. Ligament sprains, muscle strains and bone contusions, or bruising of bones, are also seen in almost every sport. Parents should try to immobilize the injury as quickly as possible and can also put an ice pack on the injury to reduce swelling, pain and bruising. If there is an obvious bone deformity, get them to a hospital or physician that can evaluate the situation, and then make sure your athlete rests to let the injury properly heal. On or off the court, keep your student athlete healthy by knowing the signs and symptoms of each and if you have questions, call your doctor.
Do sleep disorders cause heartburn? Ever tried to going to sleep when you have heartburn? Or visa versa? Sometimes discomfort within the gut is what hurts our ability to get deep, restful sleep. Researchers are also learning that the process can occur in reverse and sleep disorders are believed to trigger the stomach, too. It’s hard to sleep when your heartburn is acting up. But, researchers have discovered that poor sleep quality also heightens the likelihood of gut issues. The discovery’s potential impact is significant. Sleep disorders affect an estimated 50 million to 70 million Americans, according to a 2006 federal report. And gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, impacts about 20 percent of the country’s population. Which is why researchers are studying these impacts. Neither sleep disorders nor GERD should be ignored. GERD, creates chronic acid injury to the esophagus. That may cause a change in the esophageal tissue, a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. A Barrett’s diagnosis means you could have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. Poor or insufficient sleep can negatively affect a person’s weight, heart health, mood and memory, among other things. For GERD, a combination of diet and lifestyle changes is typically the first order of business, followed by medication. Changing your routine also can help prompt better sleep. By studying this correlation, researchers are hoping to improve the lives of many and improve both their gut health and sleep habits.
Water. It’s vital to our existence. We all know it is important, and we all know we should be doing it. But do we know why? For starters, did you know water makes up 90 percent of brain weight? It also makes up 60 percent of your body weight. Adequate hydration is essential for your body to function. If that isn’t enough to convince you to drink more, here are five fantastic reasons water is important to your health:
- It helps weight loss. Water helps you feel full longer, without adding any additional calories. Drinking it or eating foods with a high water content can be a big help in managing your weight
- It aids in digestion. It aids in constipation and other abdominal issues, especially those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It helps to move the digestive process along and through the system.
- It boots energy. It delivers important nutrients to all of our cells, especially muscle cells, postponing muscle fatigue
- It hydrates skin. Forget expensive creams and cure-alls, water is the best defense against aging and wrinkles in the skin.
- It detoxifies. Moves toxins through your system faster, and optimizes kidney function. Inadequate hydration means inadequate kidney function.