HOW MANY STEPS did you get in last month? Did you know that the average person walks between 5,000 to 7,000 steps per day? Rain, snow or shine, people walk, job, race along without thinking about how it affects their feet. They bear our weight every day and even endure more stress when we run, jog or jump. We shove them into shoes that may be too tight or too worn out, with heels that are too high. Feet are marvelous miracles of engineering. They have 33 joints, 19 muscles, 107 ligaments and 26 bones – fully one-quarter of the total bones in the body. Good foot care is essential to keeping our feet healthy and active. To celebrate April as Foot Health Awareness Month, and to keep your feet in good running condition, here are some tips to keep those feet healthy:
- Keep them clean. Wash feet in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Keep them moisturized. Apply a rich foot cream or lotion to keep skin smooth and supple. Avoid the areas between the toes.
- Keep them dry to help avoid fungal infections. Always put on clean socks and change them during the day if they become damp. Alternate your shoes to air them out. Choose breathable materials like leather and canvas.
- Check daily. Inspect your feet. Look for any changes like a blister, bruise, cut, nail problem, crack or sore. Be alert to red, sensitive pressure points that may indicate poorly-fitting shoes. Those with diabetes must be extra-cautious in their daily foot examination.
- Trim your nails carefully. Always use a toenail clipper and cut straight across – don’t round the corners – to avoid an ingrown toenail.
- Smooth calluses and corns. Use a pumice stone to smooth out these areas. If you have diabetes, please come see us for this type of foot care.
- Assess your footwear. Are your shoes or boots tight? Is there ample room in the toe box so that you can wiggle your toes? Is the tread on the bottom wearing evenly? This could cause balance issues. If you see any problems, it’s time to go shoe shopping.
- Just like your muscles need a rest day in your workout routine, so do your feet. If you’ve been walking, running or even just standing more, your feet can get sore. Make sure you take the time to put your feet up and relax when you need to. You can simply prop your feet up on a cushion, or you can go a little more lux and pamper yourself with a foot soak.
THERE COMES A time during the day when eyes begin to droop, and behavior shifts from uplifting to downright tantrums. Children and adults vary on how much sleep is needed to function. For example, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the amount of sleep a child needs varies at different ages. While different kids of the same age may require different amounts, there are science-based guidelines of suggested sleep amounts for each age, the academy reported. Here are the guidelines:
- Infants: (4 to 12 months): 12 to 16 hours per day/night.
- Toddlers: (1 to 2 years) 11 to 14 hours.
- Preschoolers: (3 to 5 years) 10 to 13 hours.
- Grade schoolers: (6 to 12 years): 9 to 12 hours.
- Teens: (13 to 18 years): 8 to 12 hours.
Recognize Signs of Sleep Deficiency You probably have sleep deficiency if you don't get enough sleep in general, you sleep at the wrong time of day or you don't fall asleep normally or stay asleep, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reported. The agency says you may be sleep deficient if you often doze off while:
- Reading or watching TV.
- Sitting in a public place, such as a movie theater, meeting or classroom.
- Riding in a car.
- Talking to someone.
- Sitting quietly after eating.
Regular checkups are important. You aren’t feeling sick, your energy levels are up, you’re diet is great. You feel you don’t need for a regular checkup. If that’s your thought process, you may be wrong. Regular checkups are extremely important to everyone’s health. You provider will do screenings and exams that you need and when you need them. You may not even consider some of the screenings they do that can help avoid future illness or injury. Below are resources to help you and your health care provider determine what health services and screenings are best for you. Why Get Regular checkups? By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare. Start with your UFMC doctor. The best place to go for health services is your regular health care provider. We are here to help you stay healthy and strong. Your doctor is a great sounding board whether you have illness or not, make sure to use them as your best resource. Encourage others to get a checkup. You may also want to start a campaign in your community to encourage others to make an appointment for a check-up or health screening. It’s important that everyone gets a checkup to make sure they are on track to great health. Make an appointment for your checkup today!
Your Family Health History Have you ever thought about your family health history? It’s something that doctors generally ask about, but have you ever thought about what it can result in for you? What is your family health history? You and your family members share genes. You may also have behaviors in common, such as exercise habits and what you like to eat. You may live in the same area and come into contact with similar things in the environment. Family history includes all of these factors, any of which can affect your health. Why is knowing family health history good for your health? Most people have a family member that has a health history of at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself, especially if more than one close relative has (or had) the disease or a family member got the disease at a younger age than usual. Collect your family health history information before visiting the doctor, and take it with you. Even if you don’t know all of your family health history information, share what you do know. Family health history information, even if incomplete, can help your doctor decide which screening tests you need and when those tests should start. How can I improve my health using our family health history? You can’t change your genes, but you can change unhealthy behaviors. Be active, improve your eating habits, stop smoking. You may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests. Worried about your family health history? Make an appointment and discuss it with your doctor.
With every new year comes new year’s resolutions. And to help you and your family stay on track with your resolution we’d like to announce January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month. A recent report from the Surgeon General states that between 15 and 25 percent of school children in the United States is overweight, placing them at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Only about half of all Americans aged 12 to 21 exercises regularly. With January being National Family Fit Lifestyle month, what a better time than now to get the entire family to begin establishing healthy lifestyle habits? Although January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month, becoming health conscious should be a yearlong and lifelong commitment. The best role models to teach children about living healthy are the adults in their lives. Choosing nutritious foods and engaging in active indoor and outdoor activities is a great way for spending time with the whole family while promoting the importance of a healthier lifestyle. A family that gets fit together becomes a much stronger and healthier unit. Here are a few fit lifestyle tips:
- Go food shopping together and choose nutritious foods. Discuss the differences and the benefits of eating healthier.
- Make regular physical fitness activity a part of your family's daily routine.
- Limit the time spent in front of the television.
- Also visit The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to learn more on how to help your family become fit!
Is the winter chill may be leaving your joints a bit achy? Does your arthritis feel like it’s worse than ever? Whether this joint pain/weather connection is scientifically true or not, you can still use these arthritis pain-relief tips when your aching joints act up in winter. Dress Warm! If it’s cold outside, keep aching hands warm with gloves, and add extra layers over knees and legs. Layer. Layer. Layer. It's important to wear several layers to enable you to control your comfort level when temperatures shift dramatically during the day. Consider wearing a few pairs of gloves that you can peel them off, one by one, as needed. Hydrate Drinking more water. Even mild dehydration might make you more sensitive to pain, so hydration and activity is key! Lose Weight Not only will weight off your joints help, but the physical activity with losing weight has shown successful results in reducing inflammation in joints. Additionally, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, studies have shown significant improvement people with knee arthritis can get from weight loss, from diet, and exercise. Exercise Inside While it's understandable to want to avoid winter chill, people with joint pain should still stay active. The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function. Come up with an indoor exercise plan such as treadmill or elliptical work or consider something like walking at the mall. Let Warm Water Comfort You Swimming in a heated pool is both great exercise and soothing to joints. You can also get relief from warm baths, just don’t go right out into the cold after your soak. Let your body temperature normalize a bit first. Supplement Vitamin D Studies report that low levels of vitamin D have been shown to play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain. Being deficient in vitamin D also raises the risk for osteoporosis. You're less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, so talk to your doctor about your need for supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods. Get a Massage Yes, you a great reason to indulge yourself and get a massage. Pain often emanates from the joint and some from the muscles around the joint. Getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks was shown to reduce pain. Talk to your doctor about additional ways you can ease your joint pain this cold winter season.
Kidney stones are common, but the more you know about these painful little kidney block, the better prepared you will be if you ever get one. What is a kidney stone? A kidney stone is a solid formation that forms in a kidney when there are high levels of certain substances in the urine. These substances are normally found in the urine and do not cause problems at lower levels. A stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract. Kidney stones vary in size. A small stone may pass on its own, causing little or no pain. A larger stone may get stuck along the urinary tract. A stone that gets stuck can block the flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding. You may have a kidney stone if you:
- have pain while urinating
- see blood in your urine
- feel a sharp pain in your back or lower abdomen
- a condition that affects levels of substances in your urine that can cause stones to form
- a family history of kidney stones
- repeating, or recurrent, urinary tract infections
- blockage of your urinary tract
- digestive problems
- Always have an adult supervise firework activities to ensure your children’s safety. Many parents don’t realize that young children can even suffer injuries from sparklers since they burn at temperatures of about 2,00o degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always have a bucket of water or a water hose ready just in case there is a fire.
- Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured. Also, animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed by the fireworks.
- Never relight a malfunctioning or “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
- If you have any fireworks left, store them in a cool, dry area.
- Only use legal fireworks which are clearly labeled with instructions.
Your vision is one of the most important things you can “keep your eye on” (yes, pun intended) regarding your health. Cataracts can cause you to lose your eyesight and are important to have under control. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend's face. Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure. If you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while and think you are at risk, ask your doctor for more information.