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.
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.
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.
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.
What you need to know about treating cervical cancer. Now ranking 14th, cervical cancer was once one of the most common cancers affecting U.S. women. This rate has declined sharply with the introduction of the Pap test, a screening procedure that can find changes in the cervix before the cancer develops. The test can also help to find cervical cancer at an early stage. Several risk factors increase a woman’s chance of developing cervical cancer. The most important risk factor is infection caused by HPV, or human papillomavirus. Other risk factors include smoking, immunosuppression, chlamydia infection and being overweight. Treatment of cervical cancer depends on:
- Stage of the cancer
- Size and shape of the tumor
- A woman’s age and general health
- A woman’s desire to have children
Common Myths About Concussions A concussion is a traumatic brain injury characterized by the head and brain moving rapidly back and forth, striking the inside of the skull. Symptoms vary based on the individual and the severity of the impact. Signs of a concussion may include headache, sensitivity to light or sound, dizziness, sleep problems, nausea, changes in mood, confusion and memory problems. Common Concussion Myths (Items that are NOT true about Concussions) A concussion happens only with a blow to the head. Not all concussions are the result of a blow to the head. The cause could be an indirect blow somewhere else on the body that results in the head and brain moving rapidly back and forth. This causes a temporary change in the brain’s energy metabolism, resulting in concussion symptoms. A person with a concussion always loses consciousness. A concussion involves the loss of consciousness only about 10 percent of the time. And a person who loses consciousness as a result of some type of head trauma doesn’t necessarily have a concussion. Dilated pupils are a sign of concussion. Pupil dilation is not a reliable sign of concussion, particularly when both pupils are dilated equally. Our pupils can become dilated when the autonomic nervous systems sympathetic branch is stimulated and the fight or flight response is triggered. This can happen when the body is under stress due to excitement, nervousness or anxiety. However, when one pupil is more dilated than the other, it could be the sign of a structural brain injury that requires immediate emergency attention. Concussion patients should be awakened every few hours so they don’t lose consciousness. While checking on the individual within the first four hours of a concussion is important, the risk of a more serious brain injury typically passes after approximately four hours. After that, the individual should be allowed to rest, sleep and conserve energy for the next 48 to 72 hours. As a person further recovers from a concussion (following the 48- to 72-hour rest period), it’s also important for them to maintain their normal sleep patterns. Often, patients experience ongoing fatigue, causing them to sleep during the day and resulting in nighttime insomnia. We recommend melatonin for these patients, along with the standard sleep “hygiene”: no cellphones, tablets or TVs in the bedroom. Children who have suffered a concussion should avoid all screens and digital media. These activities may make symptoms worse, especially in the first few days after injury. If symptoms become worse, the activity should be avoided. Once individuals become less symptomatic, however, it is important to get back to normal activities that do not worsen symptoms, including screen time. If the child’s concussion is related to a sport or activity, he or she is now disconnected from teammates and friends. Taking away a child’s normal activities and social network — such as video games and cell phones — can be like taking away their identity, which can add to their sadness or anxiety. This can be harmful to the recovery process and could even prolong it. If you think you or a loved one has a concussion, you’ll want to be checked out by a doctor right away. Call us if you have questions on what to do if you do have a concussion.
Help your teen sleep better According to recent studies, forty-three percent of parents say their teens struggle to fall asleep — or wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Help your teen sleep better with the following tips: Maintain a regular sleep schedule Keeping a sleep schedule within an hour of what’s usual helps keep the circadian rhythm in check. Sleeping in hours later than normal on the weekends and during school breaks makes it even more difficult to switch back — and can lead to more tiredness and grogginess. “Catch-up” sleep is also unlikely to make up for the full amount of sleep debt accrued over a week, and we don’t believe it’s as restorative to the body. Discourage afternoon naps Even though they may provide more sleep short term, naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. They also break up sleep, which means lower quality of sleep and fewer benefits. If this is a habit, do everything you can to quit naps for a week to make it easier to not nap going forward. Ban electronics from the bedroom Not being able to stay off electronics — including social media and cell phones — was the top reason polled parents cited for their teens’ sleep troubles. Some research indicates that the light exposure from screens also disrupts traditional cues sent to the brain to wind down. That’s why I recommend physically removing the device. Charge phones elsewhere Make it a family rule to charge all devices in a parent’s bedroom or another isolated space to reduce temptation at bedtime. Many teens I’ve seen in my own practice actually describe a sense of relief when their parents limit phone use because it takes away some of that pressure to keep up with social news and what their peers are up to. Stick to sleep-friendly bedtime routines In addition to banning electronics, limit other distractions in the bedroom. All stimulation should be minimized. Keep lights low and active pets out of the bedroom. We discourage using music or sound machines to help with sleep because they may actually keep the brain stimulated. Realize sleep isn’t instant We don’t expect people to fall asleep right away. It can take half an hour for someone to truly fall asleep. Have your teen follow a routine that helps them de-stress and wind down to get their body into sleep mode and send the right signals to the brain that it’s time to snooze (e.g., bath, reading, bed). Consult a health provider Sometimes an underlying medical issue, such as depression or sleep apnea, may be causing sleep trouble. If a teen continues to have problems falling asleep or is waking up multiple times at night despite healthy sleep hygiene habits, speak to a sleep specialist. Call us if you have additional information. We can help.
Tips to Prepare for Traveling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome Traveling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make even a simple trip worrisome. The syndrome, which causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and cramps, can often be unpredictable. Planning ahead can help you avoid common problems. Talk to your doctor before you go: Call your doctor and make sure she or he has any tips or medications covered while you are traveling. Make sure to stock up before your trip if you need a prescription refill or and talk to your doctor about tips to keep your symptoms at bay before starting your trip. Stockpile supplies: Always take enough medicine for your entire trip and a few days extra and put it in your carry-on bag — not in your checked bag, in case it gets lost. Consider packing flushable wipes and a change of clothes as a precaution. Keep your normal habits while on your trip: Always follow the same eating habits they keep at home, with one exception: Drink only sanitized or bottled water when abroad. Even when brushing your teeth, make sure you’re brushing with bottled water to avoid the risk of using un-sanitized water. Know the landscape: Simple preventive research helps lessen anxiety when traveling with IBS. Find out the bathroom location before arriving at each destination. You can also ease your journey by making sure your seat on the plane, train or bus carrier is near the restroom. If taking a road trip, log the rest stop locations along the way. Have a great trip, don’t worry, and be prepared!
Measles Outbreak: The importance of getting vaccinated Vaccinations are important. On Jan. 16 health officials in Denver alerted the public of a measles exposure in Colorado. Denver Public Health officials believe the person was traveling internationally when they were exposed to measles. What are the measles? Measles, or rubeola, is a viral infection of the respiratory system. It is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. An infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours. As the infected particles enter the air and settle on surfaces, anyone within close proximity can become infected. Symptoms generally appear within 14 days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms include:
- red eyes
- light sensitivity
- muscle aches
- runny nose
- sore throat
- white spots inside the mouth