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HEALTH & FITNESS
2 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Doctor: Vaccines pose few risks, great benefits Home staff writer
“We expect all vaccines to be lifelong immunity,” Sawyer said. “Some of the newer ones, we don’t have studies far enough out to know how long they last, so when its been 10 years since we’ve started giving the human papillomavirus, then we’ll start seeing how long. But for the ones we’ve had around for a long time, we do believe there is lifelong immunity.” Sawyer said the meningococcal booster given at 11 and 16 years of age will likely be recommended to give to babies in the near future to protect them at an earlier age. The HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer and genital warts, was initially recommended for girls and young women only, but has since been determined beneficial for boys and young men also. Medicaid covers the injections for both sexes, while most insurance companies only cover it for women and girls, Sawyer said. Two newer vaccines for varicella and Tdap are examples of ones that changed from one dose to two after an initial research period determined the immunity was not lasting. People who were older when these immunizations were created and did not
should have a Tdap. And of course, chicken pox is much worse in adults than children, so you need to have that vaccine if you are an adult who has never had it,” Sawyer said. Not required for school but highly recommended for everyone 6 months and older is an annual flu shot. Sawyer’s office typically offers them through October to February or March. Though health risks, specifically autism, have been linked to vaccines in recent years, Sawyer said that theory has been debunked. “We have no evidence that says it causes autism, so we firmly believe that it does not cause it,” she said. “Autism symptoms
Emily Adams/The Daily Home
Megan Epperson, a registered nurse at Coosa Valley Pediatrics, administers a varicella, or chicken pox, vaccine. In roughly the last decade, chicken pox has gone from common to extremely rare because of this medical advancement.
receive a second shot are encouraged to follow up, regardless of age, Sawyer said. “We just started doing 11-year-old Tdap for sixth-
graders a few years so, and you want to get that before you have kids, because pertussis can be really bad for babies, so anybody that’s around a newborn
become most noticeable about the time that you get that (Measles/Mumps/ Rubella vaccine) at 12 months, and that’s why it was linked with that.”
The only real risks in receiving a vaccine are potentially redness and swelling of the injection site, a fever, febrile seizures caused by high fever and, depending on one’s fear of needles, passing out. “With the 11-year-old round of shots, sometimes people will pass out, but that’s more from the needle than the injection,” Sawyer said. “Teenagers can get really nervous. I’ve had maybe two pass out over the years.”
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Required and recommended childhood vaccines offer great benefits with only minor risks, according to Dr. Leslie Sawyer of Coosa Valley Pediatrics in Sylacauga. Seven vaccines, each administered in a series of two to five shots at certain ages, are currently required to attend school in Alabama. At least five additional immunizations are recommended by pediatricians, she said. “The benefit to the person and the community is not having these diseases rampant like they were at one time,” Sawyer said. “The incidence of these diseases has gone from common to extremely rare. In our lifetime, for example, we’ve seen chicken pox going from what everybody had to being an extremely rare occurrence. Even in the last five to 10 years, the rotavirus, I saw it all the time when I was in residency — we almost never see it now.” Required vaccines typically given at 2, 4, 6 and 15 months old and 4 years old are: diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, commonly known as DTaP; Hib, or Haemophilus influenza, a bacteria that can cause various bacterial infections; and Pneumococcal conjugate, which can cause pneumonia, meningitis and other invasive diseases. Required at 2, 4 and 6 months at 4 years is the inactivated polio vaccine, and required at 1 and 4 years old are the measles/mumps/rubella and varicella, or chicken pox, vaccines. At 11 or 12 years old, a booster dose of tetanus and diphtheria
toxoids vaccine, Tdap is required as well. Recommended vaccines are: Hepatitis B, given at birth, 2 months and 5 months old: rotavirus, which is a severe stomach virus, given at 2 and 4 months old; Hepatitis A, given at 12 and 18 months; human papillomavirus, or HPV, given in three doses over six months; and 11and 16-year-old meningococcal boosters.
By EMILY ADAMS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 3
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HEALTH & FITNESS
4 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Understanding your risk for sleep apnea Sleep apnea is a debilitating and life-shortening ailment that affects millions of people across the globe, many of whom do not know they have this potentially dangerous condition. Understanding sleep apnea and its symptoms and risk factors is imperative for men and women who feel they have or may someday have sleep apnea. What is sleep apnea? The word “apnea” is Greek and means “without breath.” Sleep apnea occurs involuntarily and unexpectedly while a person is asleep. It causes a person to stop breathing
repeatedly while sleeping — sometimes hundreds of times a night — estimates the American Sleep Apnea Association. These moments of breathlessness can last a minute or longer and may not trigger a full awakening in a person. There are different types of sleep apnea. The main types are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive apnea is more common and occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep and inhibit air flow. With central sleep apnea, a person’s brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Mixed
sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. During an episode of sleep apnea, the body may rouse itself partially to resume breathing but not enough to fully awaken the person. As a result, sleep may be very fragmented and sufferers could feel extremely tired during the day and not understand why. Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Individuals who may be experiencing sleep apnea may have the following symptoms, according to The Mayo Clinic: • excessive daytime
sleepiness • loud snoring • awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat • headaches in the morning • problems paying attention • difficulty staying asleep Others may notice a spouse or family member has sleep apnea by recognizing abrupt awakenings from shortness of breath or intermittent pauses in his or her breathing during sleep. Also, it is important to note that snoring may not be a sign of sleep apnea, but very often loud snoring punctuated by periods of silence is a
pretty good indicator of apnea. Risk Factors Many people experience sleep apnea, though it may be more pronounced in certain groups of people. Those who are overweight may have obstructions to breathing. People with a thick neck also may have a narrower airway. Genetics also may play a role in a narrow airway in the throat or enlarged adenoids or tonsils that contribute to airway obstruction. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women, and men who are older than age 60 have an increased risk over younger
men. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea over people who have never smoked. That’s because, according to the Mayo Clinic, inflammation and mucus retention may occur in the upper airway. People who naturally have difficulty breathing through the nose may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
Treatments After being tested for sleep apnea, which usually involves some sort of sleep test, whether at home or See Sleep, Page 6
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The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 â€“ 5
HEALTH & FITNESS
6 â€“ The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
3 Pell City men have been walking, working out together for decades
From Page 4
a nocturnal polysonmography that measures heart, lung and brain activity is conducted at a sleep center, a doctor may refer patients to an ear, nose and throat doctor if there is a physical obstruction causing the apnea. Recommendations may include losing weight, quitting smoking and other lifestyle changes if these are thought to be the primary causes behind the apnea. Therapies for obstructive sleep apnea can include continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which uses a machine to deliver continuous air pressure into the nose and mouth to keep air passages open. There are other air pressure devices as well. Surgery, including implants or creating a new air passageway via a tracheostomy, may be necessary in severe cases that donâ€™t respond to other treatments.
By GARY HANNER Home staff writer
See Exercise, Page 7
Gary Hanner/The Daily Home
Itâ€™s 5 in the morning, and these men are out walking at Lakeside Park four mornings a week. From the left are Terry Young, Pete Rich and Rickey Adams, all from Pell City.
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It is 4 a.m. While many are still snuggled in bed at that time of day, there are some who are up, getting ready for work or preparing to get their kids ready for a day of school. But there are at least three men in Pell City getting ready to work out and go for a walk. And it is something the three guys have been doing for more than two decades. Former Pell City head football coach Larry â€œPeteâ€? Rich and two of his former players have a routine four to five days a week that many men cannot touch. This routine has helped the three stay in shape and stay in pretty decent health. Richâ€™s two former players are Terry Young and Rickey Adams. Rich wakes up every morning at 4. A little building behind his house is his weight room. By 4:10, the three are pumping the weights. â€œWe work out every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday,â€? Rich said. â€œWe then go walk. We meet at the tennis courts at the Civic Center, and then walk Lakeside Park for about 50 minutes to an hour.â€? Rich said the walking and lifting weights is important, and it is something he has been doing
HEALTH & FITNESS
From Page 6
since he was a coach at Pell City High in the 1970s. “Personally, it is something I enjoy doing,” Rich said. “If you don’t do something like that, you will get to the point where you can’t do anything.” Rich called it a habit … a good habit. “I started walking early when I started coaching,” he said. “Being a coach, I was getting home late, so I decided to start working out and walking early in the mornings.” Rich admits there are some mornings he just don’t feel like doing it, but he keeps on because “if you don’t feel like doing it and don’t do it, you will then get to the point where you will not do it and just get out of the habit.” Rich is 78 years old, and says there are several middle-aged to older people up walking at Lakeside Park at that time every morning. “There’s about 10 to 12 of us out there walking,” he said. “I feel good, and I do believe it has helped me by doing it all these years. My blood pressure is good, and I don’t take any medicine. All I take is my vitamins.” Rich said he appreciates the friendship he has been able to maintain through the years with Adams and Young. “They both played for me when I first started coaching at Pell City,” he said. “They are both fine men.” Adams, 60, said he is thankful for the friendship with Rich, and knows they have gotten closer in these latter years. “He is one of the best friends I have,” Adams
said. “I love being around him because I respect him so much. He was working out at his house, he and Terry, so I started going down there with them at least the past 20 years or so. We just have a lot of fun.” Adams said hopefully this has helped him stay in shape. “That’s what you hope for,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is in the shape they want to be. But if I had not been doing this, there is no telling where I’d be. I was having trouble with my back, and I started working out. And it has helped.” Young will turn 60 in a few months, and just recently had knee replacement surgery. “Walking helps you physically and mentally,” Young said. “To me, it has been so very important to stay in some sort of physical shape. Coach Rich is probably in better shape than Rickey and I put together. The idea of getting out and working out is something I look forward to. I never thought I would have been the type person to be a morning person, but I found out it is just the best time to get up and do it.” Young said he has been walking with his former coach for at least 30 years. “I started because of a knee surgery way back then,” he said. “Here I am 30 years later, having knee surgery again. Things have a tendency to stiffen up, and you don’t want that to happen.” Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes. com
Can diet soda cause weight gain? For decades, people have turned to diet soft drinks as a healthier alternative to regular soft drinks. However, consuming diet soda on a regular basis may have some serious health ramifications, including weight gain. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that diet sodas may be causing people to gain weight, particularly because these sodas are commonly consumed by people who are trying to lose weight. However, artificial sweeteners found in some diet sodas may increase the risk of obesity. It’s not entirely what you are eating that can cause weight gain but what the body thinks it is eating (or drinking) that plays a role. There are two factors at play with regard to the artificial sweetener conundrum. First, The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio has researched the potential link between obesity and artificial sweet-
eners. Researchers have found that something in the chemical structure of these sweeteners alters the way the brain processes the neurotransmitter serotonin. In addition to helping with sleep, mood and other functions in the body, serotonin helps tell the body when it is full. When natural foods and sugars are consumed, serotonin signals to the brain to turn off your body’s appetite. However, artificial sweeteners may prolong the release of serotonin, and your appetite remains in full force long after it should have abated. Another component of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, is these chemicals can trick the body into thinking it has consumed sugar. That triggers the pancreas to produce the insulin needed to regulate blood-glucose levels. It also causes the body to store the glucose as fat. This can lead to low blood sugar, which may cause
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better alternative. It can contribute to weight gain and cardiovascular issues as well as an increased risk for diabetes. A 2011 review published in the journal Circulation stated a positive association has been shown between sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption and weight gain in both children and adults. Nutritionists and doctors have advised that instead of adding artificial sweeteners to water and other beverages, flavor them with lemon or lime juice. Instead of drinking diet soda, opt for unsweetened tea or plain water. Although diet soda may seem a likely option to help curb calories and prevent weight gain, such beverages may be having an adverse effect on a person’s weight.
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you to eat a sugary treat in response. Having diet soda or eating a sugarless item once in a while won’t create long-term effects. But repeatedly relying on artificial sweeteners could affect appetite and change blood sugar levels for good. These aren’t the only consequences to diet soda and other beverages. Drinking diet soda regularly may affect cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference found people who drink diet soda every day have a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda consumption. Regular soda isn’t a
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The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 7
HEALTH & FITNESS
8 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Howell works ‘from the ankle down’
By BILL KIMBER Home staff writer
Howell is accredited by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics and the Alabama Board of Prosthetists and Orthotists. His clinic is also accredited. In addition to Howell, his staff also includes marketing manager Lisa London. ”She had done some diabetic glucose monitoring, and noted that the Sylacauga area has a need for diabetic shoes and therapeutic supplies,” Howell said. Howell’s mother, Linda Howell, serves as office manager. Howell said diabetic shoes differ from standard shoes because they’re extra deep in the bottom, creating space for cushioned inserts or custom devices. They’re thickly padded See Howell, Page 9 Bill Kimber/The Daily Home
Stewart Howell, C. Ped., shows off one of the many styles of corrective shoes available at Pedorthic Services in Sylacauga.
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Proper foot care is essential for people with diabetes. The disease can limit blood circulation to the extremities, causing patients to experience neuropathy — numbness, burning, tingling and loss of sensation. With reduced sensation the patient may not be aware of sores or cuts, and the loss of circulation can also make the diabetic patient prone to ulcers of the feet. And with reduced blood flow, healing can also be slow or non-existent. “If you can’t feel your feet, you should check them carefully every day — between the toes and all,” said Stewart Howell, owner of Pedorthic Services, which opened in Sylacauga in January. “Neuropathy can lead to problems that turn to gangrene and lead to amputation.” Howell is a certified pedorthist, specializing in providing shoes for diabetics and for people with a variety of other foot problems. “I work from the ankle down with a doctor’s prescription, providing whatever the patient needs,” Howell said. “Whether they’re missing a toe or have fallen arches, bunion deformities, calluses, anything like that, we have footwear to accommodate.” He is equipped to provide shoes for people with club toe, hammer toe or leg-length discrepancies. For diabetics, Howell recommends always wearing socks and shoes — even around the house
— to protect the feet, and avoiding using excessive lotion, which can thwart healing. Howell said he’s flatfooted, and he remembers not liking the style of corrective shoes that were available to him as a child. His father went to work in pedorthics and orthotics, and as a teen he learned to craft his own orthotic devices so he could wear more stylish shoes while also correcting his gait. That’s why he is pleased to offer an array of shoe styles and sizes to meet just about any taste, lifestyle or task. His store display of Dr. Comfort brand shoes includes everything from house slippers to hiking boots, with work shoes, athletic shoes, dress shoes and everything in between. Howell graduated from Briarwood Christian School and attended Foot Solutions Pedorthic Education Center in Atlanta, and previously worked with his father at Pro-Fit pedorthics in Birmingham. Having completed his training and apprenticeship under a certified pedorthist,
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HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 9
Howell From Page 8
Peggy Rousseau said her daughter, Vicki, got a custom pair of shoes with a buildup to accommodate for a hip problem, and they’re pleased with the outcome. “They were nice and courteous. I’ll go back and get her some more. She likes her shoes,” she said. In the future, Howell plans to add braces and other off-the-shelf supplies doctors may order for their patients. Contact Bill Kimber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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and made to be lightweight. People can buy the shoes outright, but most clients don’t have to pay. Their shoes are covered by insurance or Medicare. “Before the patient comes here, they get a prescription from their doctor. We need their diabetic certification filled out, and their doctor’s patient notes.” Howell said that under the therapeutic shoe bill, Medicare provides one pair of diabetic shoes and three pair of heat-molded inserts. Most patients don’t have a copay. “I’d say 90 percent of people who come in here don’t have to pay,” he said. Howell said when he meets a new client, he typically asks how their feet are feeling and reviews their injuries, the history of their foot issues, and what may be causing the problems they face. As he takes molds of their feet, he takes each problem into account so he can create an accommodative insert or a functional insert. He explained that accommodative inserts are usually for older patients or people with diabetic neuropathy. The goal is to keep the feet as healthy, protected and comfortable as possible. Younger people — particularly those whose feet are still growing — get functional inserts to correct them to a proper gait with a goal of reducing the long-term severity of foot problems. Custom work, such as doing a buildup for leglength discrepancy or a soft gel patch for an ulcer, is done in the in-house lab. He reviews the expect-
ed outcome with each patient, and follows up to make sure the shoes are performing as needed. “They get real excited about how their new shoes look, but mostly it’s about the feel and the fit. We see people who haven’t had a new pair of shoes in four years. They put on those new shoes and they look great and they feel the comfort. “It’s incredible to be able to help people improve their lives by helping them to walk better.” Sylacauga resident
HEALTH & FITNESS
10 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Orthodontists keep kids smiling Home staff writer
Children should see an orthodontist at an early age to avoid lingering problems that can worsen. “The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by age 7,” said Jeanine Hanson, practice manager for PT Orthodontics. PT Orthodontics serves six locations, including Pell City. Dr. Mark Todd and Dr. Jim Phillips see patients at PT Orthodontics in Pell City every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Hanson said while most 7-year-olds do not need braces, an orthodontist can spot subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth, even while some baby teeth are still present. “A check-up can reveal any current needs for treatment, inform parents that treatment should be considered when the child is older, or provide the good news that treatment may
not be needed,” Hanson said. “We encourage parents to take the time to obtain this exam for their children so that if treatment is needed, their child can receive the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time.” She said PT Orthodontics doctors will give a thorough examination and discuss potential treatment options to new patients. Hanson said there are some common signs that children may need braces, like upper front teeth protrusion. “The appearance and function of your teeth are impacted by this type of bite,” she said. “It is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.” She said an overbite is another sign for a need of braces. An overbite is when the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth. Hanson said a crossbite,
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Dr. Jim Phillips exams the teeth of a patient at PT Orthodontics in Pell City.
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another sign that braces are needed, is when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which may cause tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth. She said when a child has an open bite, proper chewing is impacted. An open bite is when the upper and lower front teeth do not overlaps. “Open bite may cause a number of unwanted habits, such as tongue thrusting,” she said. Other problems found with some patients include crowding, when the teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gum. “Crowding can often be corrected by expansion, and many times, tooth removal can be avoided,”
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HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 11
How to get going with grazing it a shot, consider the following advice. • Choose healthy foods. Grazing can only be effective if you choose healthy foods. Snacking on foods like chocolate or potato chips every three to four hours is a recipe for disaster regardless of portion size. When grazing, choose foods that are low in fat and high in nutrients. Avoid sugary foods as well as those that are high in sodium. Foods that are strong sources of protein and complex carbohydrates, including chicken breasts, fish, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, will help you feel full and keep you feeling that way until the next time to eat rolls around. • Don’t skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast is an essential element of successful grazing. If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to overeat, which could establish a domino effect of poor eating as the day goes on. A simple break-
From Page 10
Hanson said. She said spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth or they may only be a cosmetic or aesthetic issue. She said another problem that is sometimes found by orthodontists is when the dental midlines do not match.
fast, such as a bowl of cereal with fat-free or lowfat milk or some oatmeal with berries mixed in, is all it takes to start the day off on the right foot. • Stick to a schedule. When grazing, meals should be eaten every three to four hours. If you stray from that schedule, you could wind up eating larger portions or more meals than you should be consuming. Stick to your schedule and remember the portions are supposed to be smaller, so you should not feel skittish about pulling a snack out at a meeting in the office or if you have company over at your house. • Prepare meals in advance. A problem many people encounter when they first begin to graze is the lack of availability of smaller-portioned meals and snacks. Large portions and snacks with no nutritional value are the norm, so finding smaller meals
Hanson said there are benefits of early treatment for children. She said early treatment can improve appearance and a child’s self-esteem, or correct a harmful oral habit, such as thumb sucking. Hanson said early treatment can lower the risk of trauma to teeth that are protruded, or sticking out, and treatment can actually improve speech problems for some children. Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome. com.
See Grazing, Page 12
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A healthy breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit is a good breakfast for men and women adopting grazing as their approach to diet. Eating healthy is a goal for many people. For some, altering what they eat is all it takes to shed those extra pounds and improve their overall health, while others find changing what they eat isn’t helping them reach their goals. One option that has its share of supporters and detractors is grazing, which involves eating five or six smaller portions throughout the day instead of the more widely accepted diet of eating three square meals per day. Those who stand by grazing claim it keeps a person’s metabolism going all day, helping to burn more calories while encouraging men and women to eat smaller portions. Those who question grazing point to studies questioning its efficacy, namely that it does not have the calorie-burning effects its supporters suggest. In fact, researchers in the United Kingdom have said eating throughout the day (a standard grazing diet has men and women eating five to six meals per day, with three to four hour intervals between meals) undermines the body’s ability to burn fat. The debate over grazing does not figure to go away anytime soon, as many people have found it a successful way to lose weight and get healthier while many others have found it ineffective. For those who want to give
HEALTH & FITNESS
12 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Grazing From Page 11
and healthy snacks when you’re away from home will be difficult. The best way to counter that problem is to prepare meals in advance and take them with you. Cook enough food for the week over the weekend and store it in easily transportable containers. In addition, bring snacks with you to the office so you aren’t forced to eat unhealthy fare between meals. • Recognize results aren’t immediate. No effective weight loss plan produces results over-
night, and grazing is no exception. You will not drop 10 pounds in the first week, but you might notice heightened energy levels throughout the day shortly after you begin to graze, especially if you choose the right foods. Give grazing enough time to get going before judging if it’s the right approach for you. The topic of grazing is one that continues to inspire debate, but men and women who want to lose weight and keep the weight off should consider grazing as a healthy and potentially effective option.
Vitamins and cancer prevention People take daily vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons. Many believe that vitamins will serve as an insurance policy of sorts should they not be consuming the necessary vitamins and minerals through their diets. Others believe that vitamin supplements will ease certain ailments or help prevent diseases, such as cancer. Beliefs such as these have helped the dietary supplements business become a billion-dollar industry. There have been many clinical studies conducted to look into the correlation between vitamin supplements and the prevention of certain types of cancer. Understanding the results
can be confusing. There is no magic formula for consuming a broad-spectrum vitamin supplement to serve as a blanket remedy for preventing cancer. However, there have been some studies that show certain vitamins may help lower risk for specific cancers. For example, a study published in 2010 found women who had high levels of vitamin A and C in their bodies, whether from diet or supplement use, had fewer cases of cervical cancer compared to women with lower levels of these vitamins. Vitamin B6 has been known to have various benefits, including reducing a person’s risk of developing lung, breast and
colon cancer. Those with high blood levels of B6 have a lower risk, but there is no proof that taking B6 supplements will have the same benefits. Some studies indicate that vitamin E supplements may reducemen’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Studies in the 1970s suggested that high doses of vitamin C could be an alternative cancer treatment, says The Mayo Clinic. These findings were debunked when it was discovered the research methods used to reach the conclusions were flawed. Subsequent studies did not corroborate the 1970s results. However, more attention is now being paid to administering vitamin
C intravenously, which has different effects than when the vitamin is taken orally. Until clinical trials are completed, researchers cannot say for sure if intravenous vitamin C will be the new all-natural cancer cure.
It is important to note that taking vitamin supplements at the suggested levels recommended should be relatively safe for most people. Individuals should not super-dose vitamins in an effort to achieve better health results. Also, people should discuss any vitamin supplement use with doctors, as some supplements may cause potentially harmful interactions with certain medications.
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 13
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14 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Mammograms are now more comfortable, effective By EMILY ADAMS Home staff writer
Overall, a mammogram procedure takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, and could be a lifesaving procedure if cancer is found at an early stage for intervention. Between the technology and comfort advancements, there is no excuse for a woman to avoid a mammogram any longer, Holmes said. “People hear horrible stories, and they are usually shocked when they come and it’s so much easier than they anticipated,” she said.
Emily Adams/The Daily Home
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It’s something every woman needs at a certain age, and also something many women dread — an annual mammogram. In the past, these routine examinations, which are recommended to begin around age 40, could be painful and uncomfortable, but technological improvements have made for a better experience in recent years, according to Pam Holmes, manager of imaging services at Coosa Valley Medical Center in Sylacauga. “It’s quick and a whole lot easier on the patient now than when you talk to ladies who had them years ago,” she said. Mammography machines are now digital, rather than film, lessening the time spent in the machine and speeding up results. Flex-paddles on the machine at CVMC are wider, and more flexible, for a more pleasant patient experience as well. During a typical mammogram at CVMC, four pictures are taken of the breasts to check for abnormalities that may be cancerous. The machine automatically releases the breast when the exposure is made, and photos are reviewed by a doctor. If necessary, a patient can schedule the appropriate follow-up appointment, whether it is next year’s screening, additional breast photos, an ultrasound or
other options. “There are different guidelines the doctor or radiologists look at,” Holmes said. “There are masses, calcifications; any little change in the mammogram is what they’re searching for.” Of about 2,500 mammograms at year at the hospital, 30 percent of mammograms are positive for some sort of abnormality. Eighty percent of biopsies are negative, or not cancer. Holmes said mammograms are not the only exam women need to maintain their breast health. Selfexams and doctor-administered exams are important also. “There are so many things you cannot feel in your breasts that could be there and will only show on mammography,” she said. “There are 10 percent of cancers that do not show on mammograms, and that is why you should also have a breast exam with your doctor.”
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HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 15
There are no miracle cures in ‘Battle of the Bulge’ By SHANE DUNAWAY Home staff writer
By DAVID ATCHISON Home staff writer
See Mind, Page 16
loss and nutrition. “Here’s something a lot of people don’t know,” Lessa said. “Suppose I tell a bunch of people that I’m going to feed them cheesecake, Oreo cookies and milk tomorrow. Would they gain or lose weight if I gave them 1,200 calories worth? Most people would say, ‘Oh you’re going to gain weight.’ But in fact, you would lose weight because you’re taking in below your energy need. “On the other hand, if I give a female 2,200 calories worth of corn, peas and carrots, even though See Diets, Page 16
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Most people have heard the term “use it or loss it,” and one local doctor said it is important to keep the mind active in an effort to avoid cognitive impairment or dementia. Dr. Fazal Rahim, who is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine, said there are varying levels of cognitive impairment, from mild cognitive impairment or dementia to Alzheimer’s disease, one of the more common memory impairments. Rahim, who works at St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital Sleep Center in
Pell City and at Tri-City Neurology in Talladega, said signs of dementia can start when someone reaches their late 50’s or 60’s but in most cases, dementia generally begins when in the 70’s and 80’s. “It progresses slowly,” he said. He said studies indicate that signs of dementia are delayed in people with more formal education, providing more cognitive reserve. Rahim said it is important to keep the mind active as we grow older. He said people who delay retirement help delay
energy balance,” Lessa said. “We all have a certain energy need, or metabolic need. If you take in the amount of energy you need that day, you’re balanced. You don’t gain weight and you don’t lose weight.” According to Lessa, the average female needs 1,700 calories a day and males need a slightly higher caloric intake. If they’re maintaining an exercise regimen, Lessa said they need more calories. When explaining the balance, Lessa referenced an example highlighting the amount of misinformation flowing about weight
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Bob Crisp/The Daily Home
With a multitude of get-fit-quick diet programs, dietary supplements and high-intensity workout programs promoted daily on television and in magazines, the topic of weight loss and nutrition appears to have become unavoidable as individuals embroiled in their own “Battle of the Bulge” seek out the next miracle cure diet or hop aboard the bandwagon of the latest and greatest fitness craze. “There are no miracle cures,” Dr. Anthony Lessa said. “Knowledge is power and it’s the basis of anything I do, whether it’s in general medicine, pain medicine, weight loss or men’s health, the knowl-
edge always comes first. Physiologically, there’s a reason that God designed our bodies to put on fat.” Lessa, who specializes in nutrition and pain management, likened the body’s process of storing fat to the way a car holds gas in a tank. “Our bodies were designed by the great engineer, the Lord,” Lessa said. “He designed our bodies to be able to store energy. How do we store energy? As fat.” To indicate the delicate balancing act between the amount of energy needed versus food intake, Lessa drew a see-saw diagram and explained how calories, a unit of measurement for determining the amount of energy in foods, factor into the weight-loss and nutrition equation. “This is what I call an
HEALTH & FITNESS
16 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Mind From Page 15
dementia, because they are forced to keep the mind active with certain jobs. Rahim said it is important for people to stimulate their minds, like reading books or filling out crossword puzzles. “The more active you are, the better,” he said. Rahim said the “ultimate body building” exercise for the brain is learning a different language. “You really want to keep the mind active,” he said. Rahim said there are no clear clinical tests to predict the onset of dementia. He said family history may indicate a person’s chance of developing dementia or some sort of cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s. Rahim said if someone had a parent with dementia, and possibly a sibling, the risks for that individual in developing dementia
could be high. He said even though there is no mainstream test to predict the onset of dementia, there is research that could lead to possible screenings or testing to help predict if a person has early symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. “We are headed that way,” Rahim said, pointing to Parkinson’s disease. He said doctors can now tell if tremors are signs of Parkinson’s or something else through tests, when only a few years ago there were not tests. Rahim said researchers are a long way off from testing people with no signs of dementia and predicting whether they could develop some sort of cognitive impairment or dementia as they age. For now, he said, people should keep mentally active, providing food for the brain, which helps delay or prevent dementia.
Dr. Caceres says vaccine is the best way to prevent HPV By CHRIS NORWOOD Home staff writer
The race to defeat cancer continues across many fronts, but in one case, the finish line may be much closer. Unlike most cancers, whose causes are complex and often poorly understood, cervical cancer is caused primarily by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. And there is now a safe, effective vaccine for HPV. According to Dr. Hector Caceres of Talladega OBGYN, the stated goal is to get the vaccine into all girls 9 years old or older. “Since the virus is the main reason for the disease, the vaccine is the best way to prevent it,” he said. “It won’t prevent all cases, but we recommend that most patients get the vaccine
from their pediatricians.” The vaccine is most effective in girls and young women who are less than 26 years old, Caceres said. After that age, most have already been exposed. “Cervical cancer has changed a great deal over the last few years,” he said. “The risk of dying from it is very low, so we’re starting to focus on other things now. Things like obesity and drug use are effecting a lot more people now than HPV.” Even with the vaccine, Caceres still recommends regular pap smears. All women over the age of 21 should have one every one to three years if their results are normal. After 30, tests should be done every three to five years, depending on the woman’s HPV status.
Diets those things are healthy, she will gain weight because she’s above her energy balance,” Lessa said. For people to come in below the energy balance and lose weight, Lessa stated they must eliminate 500 calories a day from their diet through exercise and portion control. A pound of fat equals approximately 3,500 calories, he added. Lessa’s office, located in the same building as Professional Apothecary, provides a bounty of information for those interested in losing weight. One of the resources provided is an exchange list featuring milk, veg-
etable, fruit, breads and starches, meat and fats in a recommended serving size that gives the same benefits listed in terms of carbohydrates, protein and fat. The exchange list also showcases a section for free foods, defined as any food or drink that contains less than 20 calories per serving. Examples of free foods include various salad greens, raw vegetables, sugar-free beverages or bouillon. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 256-362-0066. Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome. com.
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Women over 65 should also regular bone density scans and women over 55 should get regular colonoscopies. Post-menopausal women should get their thyroid levels checked every five years. “If you’re obese or diabetic or at some cardiovascular risk, you might want to start doing these things sooner,” he added.
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“The concern is that people will miss their regular pap smears,” he said. “They are still important, you don’t need to stop.” But that said, he and his colleagues are starting to look more toward preventing other problems in young women, particularly those related to obesity, smoking, alcohol and drugs. Caceres said he also recommends regular mammograms for patients over 40, although there is admittedly some controversy surrounding this point of view. “The American College of Obstetricians and the
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HEALTH & FITNESS
18 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Stock your pantry with healthy staples • Lean protein sources: Fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat are often the basis for meals. They can be kept and enjoyed in moderation. Rich cuts of pork and beef may be flavorful but are high in saturated fats. • Lemons or lemon juice: Rather than seasoning foods with salt and butter, lemon juice is a tasty flavoring that lends itself well to many types of foods. Lemons and limes contain limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin C, all of which help reduce your risk of cancer. • Cranberry juice: In addition to being an antioxidant, 100 percent cranberry juice helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria
from growing. The juice can be consumed on its own or diluted to add a splash of flavor to water. • Figs: Many people underestimate the nutritional value of figs. Figs can be eaten fresh off of the tree. Think about adding mashed figs to batters for healthier breads or even desserts. A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which produces mood-boosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol and preventing water retention. There are many healthy and versatile foods that can be stored in the pantry without spoiling. They make for quick snacks and help keep you feeling fuller, longer.
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a nutritional pick-me-up. Although they tend to be high in fat, much of the fat content is unsaturated fat that is rich in omega acids necessary for cardiovascular and neurological health. Nuts can be sprinkled on salads or served with cheeses to make meals more satisfying. • Canned or dried fruits: Fruits that are packed in natural fruit juices are just as healthy as fresh produce. However, they can be stored for longer periods of time without spoiling. Many people do not consume the recommended servings of fruit, and having canned or individually packaged fruit cups available makes it easy to include fruit in your diet. Fruits are full of required vitamins and are a natural fiber source to keep digestion in check. Dried fruits can be added to nuts to make a healthy trail mix. Raisins, for example, are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen. • Beans and legumes: These foods are high in protein as well as fiber, generally in a low-calorie package. Beans and legumes can replace meats as a protein source in many meals when the goal is to reduce caloric and fat intake. Beans can be used to thicken sauces or make foods more hearty, helping to stretch them further. • Vegetables: Whether fresh or frozen, vegetables are a must-have staple. Vegetables are ripe with vitamins and minerals, and pack a lot of punch with very low calories and fat. People need not worry about filling up on vegetables, and they’re one of the snacks that can be eaten in abundance without worry of racking up a lot of calo-
When hunger pangs arrive and you head to the kitchen to prepare a meal or a snack, it helps to have healthy foods on hand so that you can fill up without filling out your clothes. Sugary or fattening foods may be popular snacks, but consuming too many of these items can cause health implications, including weight gain, that could last for years. Although health experts tout certain “super foods” that are essential for the body, there are runof-the-mill foods that are far less glamorous but pack their own healthy punch and are much more readily available. When making your next shopping list, be sure to add these items. • Rice: Starchy rice is a versatile food that can accompany many meals. Whether served as a side dish or on its own or with some broth in a soup, rice can help satisfy hunger and keep the stomach feeling full. Brown rice is a healthier option than processed white rice. Rice is also gentle on the stomach for people who need to consume bland diets due to any gastrointestinal ailments. Another advantage to rice is that it stores well and will not go bad, so you can stock up. • Low-fat yogurt: Yogurt can be enjoyed as a snack any time of the day. Rich in calcium and healthy probiotics, yogurt can even replace certain ingredients in recipes, including creams and sour cream. As a dessert, yogurt is a better option than more fattening puddings or ice cream. Thicker varieties of yogurt can help you feel fuller, longer. • Unsalted nuts: An excellent protein-rich snack, nuts can be the goto food when you need
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Yogurt a healthy choice The popularity of yogurt is on the rise. According to Innoval Market Insights, launches of Greek yogurt products have increased by 29 percent in the United States. People are drawn to the health benefits of yogurt, but there are lesserknown benefits to yogurt as well. Yogurt’s creamy texture is a byproduct of the lactic acid present when milk ferments. According to the yogurt company Dannon(R), between 20 and 30 percent of milk’s lactose is converted to lactic acid during the fermentation process. One of the advantages to eating yogurt concerns digestion. The naturally occurring bacteria present in yogurt helps promote a healthy environment in the stomach and digestive system, enabling the body to more ably break down food. Due to the thickness of yogurt, it takes longer to move through the digestive system. This, in turn, helps the body break down lactose more efficiently. As a result, people who have lactose intolerance may be more comfortable eating yogurt than other dairy products. The proteins in yogurt are complete and fully absorbed by the body. These proteins also contain essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Greekstyle yogurts contain more protein than other varieties, and yogurt may have anywhere from 7 percent to 50 percent of a person’s recommended daily intake of protein. This will help a person to feel fuller, longer.
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 19
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HEALTH & FITNESS
Dental health has effect on rest of body By WILL HEATH Home staff writer
Scott Koplon says he hears the words every day. “Dr. Koplon, it’s just a tooth.” As one of two dentists at Koplon Family Dentistry in Leeds, Koplon says he is in a position to say that the issue is deeper, and potentially much more vital. “What happens is, if you went to a nursing home and looked at people who were healthy — people that stayed healthy and live longer, are the ones who have maintained their teeth,” he said. “I think it helps their self-esteem,
their appearance and, overall, people live a lot longer if they have teeth.” Koplon and fellow dentist Sarah Flanagan recently sat down to discuss the effects of dental health on the rest of the body. Specifically, Flanagan mentioned a study released in April 2013 by the American Heart Association, which initially reported no link between gum disease and heart disease. Flanagan said the findings were revised in May. “It’s kind of a chicken and the egg thing,” she said. “We don’t know which one comes first. They know there’s a link,
but they’re still doing a lot of studies on that. “The big thing is, it is a bacterial infection. It’s a chronic infection, and that’s not something you want to have perpetuating in your body.” Koplon said the first reports suggesting a correlation are now almost 15 years old. “The same bacteria that gather … that cause gum See Koplon, Page 22 Scott Koplon and fellow dentist Sarah Flanagan are at Koplon Family Dentistry in Leeds.
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The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 â€“ 21
HEALTH & FITNESS
22 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Koplon From Page 20
disease, are the same bacteria that cause heart disease, that cause the plaque in the heart,” he said. “We’ve only known that for like 15 years.” Regardless, Koplon said the importance of regular dentist visits can be a boost for a person’s overall health. “My dad recently had chemotherapy and radiation,” he said. “The first thing you want to do is make sure there’s no source of infection. “Let’s say somebody had an abscessed tooth in their mouth – that’s a source of bacteria that could affect the rest of the body, because his immune system is going to be weaker because of the chemotherapy. So you don’t want to have any source of infection; the source could be an abscessed tooth, a gum infection. There are lots of places in the mouth.” Flanagan said dentists can find abnormalities as part of a dental checkup. “Tooth problems are kind of like heart disease,” she said. “Heart disease doesn’t hurt, and a lot of tooth problems don’t hurt, until they’ve gotten to the point where you need a root canal or an extraction. A small cavity isn’t going to hurt, but left untreated, it will progress into a bigger problem that will end up as a root canal. It is important to catch things while they’re small, before they snowball into a bigger problem.” For Koplon and Flanagan, technology that they possess at their office helps them talk to patients about some of the problems they find during examinations. “There might be 0.5 percent of the dentists in
this state who have a CAT scan,” Koplon said. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ll be looking at somebody’s tooth on the CAT scanner, and we’ll see a polyp on their sinus, or a huge sinus abscess, maybe not even related to the teeth. “We’ve had a few patients where we’ve actually seen mouth cancers. Luckily, they came in, because it’s been caught early enough where it can be treated.” Even so, Koplon said, trust between the staff and the patients remains their largest resource. “That’s so important,” he said. “You do develop relationships over a long time, and that is the most important thing. “I hear that at least once a day: ‘Dr. Koplon, I trust you.’ I don’t take that for granted.” And while some potential patients might be hesitant to spend the money necessary for dental visits, Koplon said the investment is worth it. “ I wish there wasn’t a money factor,” he said. “I wish there wasn’t a money factor, because there’s the ideal way to treat something. So many times, somebody will come in and say, ‘Just take it out.’ But we can save this tooth; it can last your life. “Everybody’s so conscious now about how much we spend. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make. Because what I say every day is, you can maintain. If you buy a new car and you can maintain it, it will last a lot longer. The small amount of money to get their teeth cleaned and checked is so much better.” Contact Will Heath at wheath@thestclairtimes. com.
Healthy ways to banish belly fat Belly fat is often considered more of a cosmetic issue than a health issue. But few outside of the medical or fitness communities may know that belly fat is not only unsightly but unhealthy. Excessive belly fat can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers. So while many people may want to reduce their belly fat for cosmetic purposes, they can also use improving their overall health as a motivating factor when attempting to trim their waistlines. The following are a few healthy ways to reduce belly fat. • Adopt a healthy diet. Belly fat is often the first victim when men and women adopt a healthy diet and begin to lose weight. Researcher Kristen Hairston, MD, an assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine, found that people who ate
10 grams of soluble fiber per day but made no other changes to their diet built up less fat over time than others. In addition to fiber, you should include fruits, vegetables and lean proteins in your diet. These foods will help you feel more full, which will curb your hunger and, as a result, reduce your caloric intake. • Get some rest. A good night’s sleep, which is at least 7 hours of sleep each night, has been shown to reduce fat over an extended period of time. Though the exact relationship between sleep and belly fat is unknown, a lack of sleep can force men and women to look to sugary beverages or snacks to provide a boost during the day, which can cause weight gain, especially among those who routinely don’t get a good night’s sleep. • Get off the couch and exercise, another effective way to reduce belly fat. Studies have shown the positive effect daily, vigorous
exercise can have on overall health. For example, a study conducted by researchers at Duke University found that 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, jogging or working out on a cardiovascular machine, such as an elliptical or a treadmill, four times per week can reduce fat and slow down the buildup of fat over time. Those who
want to reduce belly fat will likely need to emphasize vigorous exercise. While those hoping to prevent the buildup of belly fat should know that studies have shown, when coupled with a healthy diet, moderate activity, which includes anything that raises your heart rate, three times per week may be enough to slow down fat buildup.
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The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 23
Area pharmacies offer flu, shingles, pneumonia vaccinations BY SHANE DUNAWAY Home staff writer
As the weather begins to cool, local pharmacies are launching their seasonal flu vaccination programs. Below is a list of pharmacies where individuals may receive vaccinations for flu, shingles and pneumonia: Lincoln Fred’s Pharmacy 47950 U.S 78 205-763-1047 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed on Sundays Flu shots and pneumonia shots become available Monday on a first-come, first-serve basis. Shingles shots become available at the end of September or early October and are offered year-round. Walkins for all shots are accepted. Pell City CVS Pharmacy 118 Comer Ave. 205-338-2628 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays,10 a.m.-6 p.m. Flu shots are currently available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Shingles shots and pneumonia shots are available year-round. Walk-ins for all shots are welcome. Kmart 803 Martin St. S 205-884-2703 Pharmacy
Weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The pharmacy is closed for lunch from 1:30-2 p.m. daily. Standard flu shots and high-dose flu shots are available on a firstcome, first-serve basis. Vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia are available year-round, but require a prescription. Walk-ins for all shots welcome. Pell City Pharmacy 107 Highway 234 205-338-6080 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.,; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed on Sundays Flu shots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Vaccinations for shingle and pneumonia may be obtained yearround. Walk-ins for all shots are accepted.
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Flu shots made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Shingles shots and pneumonia shots are available year-round. Walk-ins for all shots are accepted. Talladega Professional Apothecary 210 N. St. W. 256-362-8328 Pharmacy hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 8 am.-6 p.m.; Wednesdays, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Closed Sundays Flu shots are available
on a first-come, firstserve basis. Vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia made available yearround. Walk-ins welcome for flu and shingles shots. Individuals requesting pneumonia shots must schedule an appointment. Rite Aid 101 Asbury St. 256-362-9540 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays, noon-6 p.m. Vaccinations for flu shots available on a firstcome, first-serve basis. Shingles shots and pneuSee Shots, Page 24
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Walgreens 1649 Martin St N. 205-338-2319 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays,10 a.m.-6 p.m. Standard flu shots and high-dose flu shots are available on a firstcome, first-serve basis. Vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia are available year-round, but require a prescription. Walk-ins for all shots are welcome. Winn Dixie Pharmacy 1009 Martin St. S 205-884-1115 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.;
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HEALTH & FITNESS
24 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Shots From Page 23
monia shots available yearround. Walk-ins for all shots are accepted. Walgreen’s 503 E Battle St. 256-315-1659 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.,; Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Standard flu shots and high-dose flu shots
are available on a firstcome, first-serve basis. Vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia are available year-round, but require a prescription. Walk-ins for all shots are welcome. Sylacauga Rite Aid 1 N Broadway Ave. 256-245-7474 Pharmacy hours:
Weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays,10 a.m.-6 p.m. Flu shots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Shingles shots and pneumonia shots are available year-round. Walk-ins for all shots are accepted. Walgreen’s 100 W Fort Williams St. 256-249-8646 Pharmacy hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.;
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays,10 a.m.-6 p.m. Standard flu shots and high-dose flu shots are available on a firstcome, first-serve basis. Vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia are available year-round, but require a prescription. Walk-ins for all shots are welcome. Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome. com.
Exploring natural remedies for common illnesses Eventually, Jobs had surgery, but some experts feel he waited too long. Although conventional care is often an effective means to treating illnesses and other conditions, there are many doctors who agree that implementing natural remedies at times can be safe and effective. Furthermore, not all natural remedies are without merit, and some traditional medicines are actually derived from natural, plant-based ingredients themselves. According to surgeon and author, Dr. Walter C. Thompson, “Herbal medicine is safe because it’s natural. After researching the
literature, one can truly say that, at the very least, herbal medicine is safer than conventional drugs.” Those thinking about incorporating natural remedies into their health regimen can consider the following options. • Nervousness and anxiety: Try lettuce, chamomile, valerian, and rose petals. • Pain relief:Use omega3 fatty acids, green tea, ginger root, and tumeric.
• Itchiness: Witch hazel, jewelweed and aloe vera are effective. • Feminine issues: Parsley, basil and goldenseal can alleviate symptoms associated with menstruation. • Antibiotics: Oregano and garlic are purported to have antibiotic qualities and can fend off harmful bacteria. • Infections: Honey has long been used to heal and
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as an antibacterial and antifungal remedy. Many natural foods are effective in preventing and fighting cancer as well. Although natural remedies can be effective, it’s
important for pregnant women to avoid herbs and plant supplements until discussing the risks/benefits with their doctors. Some natural remedies can interact with prescription drugs or increase their potency.
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As prevalent as prescription medications are, all-natural remedies for common illnesses and conditions are still a viable alternative to prescription medications for many. But are these options safe? In 2011, Apple founder Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Reports indicate that Jobs, a devout Buddhist, delayed surgery and other traditional treatments for almost a year while he participated in holistic treatments for the cancer. Some of these included juice fasts, bowel cleansings, acupuncture, herbal supplements, and even a vegan diet.
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HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 25
Dietary contributors to heart disease Red meats, hydrogenized oils — these are the foods we associate with heart disease and high cholesterol. But a few other things many people eat rather frequently could be contributing to future heart problems. White pasta and breads
Researchers have found that eating a diet high in refined grains, including those in most storebought pastas and white breads, can double the risk of heart disease. These foods are those that have a high glycemic index, or GI. Foods with a high GI quickly release sugar into the bloodstream. Doctors have found a correlation between high GI and heart disease, mainly in women, according to research at the University of Milan. The study questioned 32,578 women and 15,171 men. Those who consumed the largest concentration of high GI foods were 2.24 times more likely to develop heart disease than those with the lowest. Nutritionists advise that, when choosing grain products, it is important to select those made from whole grains. Not only do these products provide the nutritional benefits of whole grains, including fiber, they also help reduce cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.
While many people
associate sugary snacks, beverages and sugar itself with dental decay or unnecessary calories, these items also impact cholesterol levels.
The average American eats the equivalent of 21 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which is two to three times the amount they should, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that individuals who consumed the most sugary products had the lowest HDL, or good cholesterol, and the highest blood triglyceride levels. Eating large amounts of sugar can then be a major risk factor for high cholesterol and heart disease. In its 2010 guidelines, the American Heart Association recommended limiting added sugar in the diet to no more than 100 calories a day for most women and 150 calories for most men. That’s 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men. To put those guidelines in perspective, consider that a 12-ounce
can of soda has between 8 and 10 teaspoons. In addition, many processed foods contain sugar even if sugar’s inclusion seems foolish. Some restaurants and food manufacturers have admitted to adding sugar to foods — especially those geared to children — to make them taste better and be more appealing. Therefore, sauces, ready-made dinners and other items may have sugar, and the consumer may not know it without reading the nutrition label. Also, it’s important to note that beverages are the leading supplier of added sugar for many people. Simply reducing the amount of juices, sports drinks and sodas in your diet can greatly reduce sugar consumption.
most popular resolution, there are a host of other health-related resolutions individuals can make to improve their lives over the next 365 days. Resolve to reduce stress Stress is a major part of most adults’ lives, and that’s especially so after the hectic holiday season when men and women are pulled in so many different directions. Work is a common cause of stress, but family and personal finances, especially nowadays, are big sources of stress as well. This year, resolve to reduce stress in all aspects of life. At the office, analyze ways
in which you can manage time more effectively, including how to best prioritize work projects so you don’t always feel as if you’re up against a wall. Outside the office, recognize the importance of maintaining a personal life and its relation to reducing stress. Spending time with friends and family can relax you and provide a welcome respite from the stress of the office. Resolve to eat better Losing weight and adopting a healthier diet are not necessarily the See Healthier, Page 26
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As the calendar turns to a new year, the focus of men and women often shifts as well. After the hectic holiday season has come and gone, many people re-dedicate themselves to their personal health and well-being. That renewed dedication might be thanks to all those big holiday meals or it might just be a result of the new calendar year being symbolic of a fresh start. Regardless of the reasons behind this renewed vigor, the opportunities to make the next 12 months a healthier 12 months abound. While losing weight might the
Healthy resolutions for the year ahead
HEALTH & FITNESS
26 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
From Page 25
same thing. While a healthier diet might help you lose weight, the goal of adopting a healthier diet is to improve overall health. A healthy diet can strengthen the body’s immune system, making it easier to fight cold, flu and other ailments. A healthy diet can also help in the battle against any preexisting conditions. For example, replacing salt with healthier and flavorful herbs can help reduce high blood pressure, and many people cannot even taste the difference once they start eating. Resolve to exercise more Much like changing a diet, exercising more is often seen as a means to weight loss. While that’s a positive side effect of daily exercise, the goal should not be to lose weight. Instead, the goal of daily exercise is to get healthier. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise helps lower the risk of heart disease and hypertension by 40 percent while lowering the risk of depression by 30 percent. In addition, men and women with a family history of diabetes should know that regular exercise lowers their risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. So while exercise is a great means to losing weight, it’s even better at helping reduce the risk for serious disease.
Resolve to quit smoking To nonsmokers, keep up the good work. For smokers, perhaps some statistics are enough to get you on the path toward quitting smoking: * More than 150,000 Americans were projected to succumb to lung cancer in 2011, according to the National Cancer Institute. * The Canadian Cancer Society estimated that 20,000 Canadians would lose their lives to lung cancer in 2011. * More than 6 percent of all deaths in the United Kingdom in 2011 were related to lung cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. If those statistics aren’t enough to get men and women serious about quitting smoking, consider the negative effect secondhand smoke has on your loved ones. The American Cancer Society notes that roughly 3,000 nonsmoking adults experience lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke in the U.S. each year. When making a resolution this year, smokers’ top priority should be to quit smoking. When making resolutions at the start of a new year, men and women often focus on healthy resolutions. But healthy resolutions go beyond losing a few extra pounds, and many involve dedication throughout the year to improve overall health this year and for years to come.
Vitamin D might help fight symptoms of depression People experiencing the blues, feelings of depression and other mood disorders might be able to use vitamin D to alleviate symptoms of depression. New studies point to low blood levels of vitamin D as a culprit in depression. Increasing these levels offers marked improvement. A study conducted by VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found that low levels of vitamin D may be linked to depression and other psychiatric illnesses. The Amsterdam research, which tracked over 1,200 people aged 65 to 95, showed that blood vitamin D levels were 14 percent lower in individuals with major and minor depression compared with non-depressed participants. A study in the United States indicated that vitamin D deficiency occurred more often in certain people, including AfricanAmericans, city dwellers, the obese, and those suffering from depression. People with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL had an 85 percent increased risk
of depression compared to those with vitamin D levels greater than 30 ng/mL. Vitamin D has long been recognized as a nutrient essential to the development and maintenance of strong bones. It has also recently been discovered to be of crucial importance to several aspects of overall health. Being deficient in vitamin D has been linked to a number of disorders, and now depression. Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is one of the few vitamins the body can produce. The body can get all the vitamin D it needs simply by being out in the sun with ample skin showing to absorb the rays. However, increased awareness about skin cancer, the importance of sunblock and wearing clothes that protect skin from harmful UV rays has decreased many people’s production of vitamin D considerably. In the United States, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that nearly three-quarters of Americans
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are deficient in vitamin D. Although there are some food sources of vitamin D (salmon, tuna, mackerel and vitamin D-fortified dairy products, such as milk), the best way to get the vitamin is through moderate sun exposure. According to an article in U.S News and World Report, it’s impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun during the winter if you live north of Atlanta because the sun never gets high enough in
the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere. But during the summer, when UV-B rays hit the skin, a reaction takes place that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D. If you’re fair skinned, experts say going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 I.U. Darker-skinned individuals may need a little more time.
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When incorporating exercise into a daily routine, start slowly and gradually work your way up to more vigorous exercise regimens. Going full speed from the outset is
a great way to increase risk of injury, which could actually restrict your ability to exercise for some time.
HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 27
What you should do when beginning an exercise regimen Sylacauga Get your news from The Daily Home
* Visit your physician. It’s best to get a full physical before beginning an exercise regimen. A full physical can reveal if you have any health problems that might limit what you should and shouldn’t be doing at the gym. If anything turns up, your physician can develop a plan of attack for you to address the issue. If nothing turns up, then your doctor will probably give you the green light to go forward with few, if any, limitations. * Conduct a self-assessment. Once you’ve visited the doctor and received the go-ahead to start working out, do an honest self-assessment to see where you are in terms of fitness. Walk a mile and time yourself. Do as many push-ups and sit-ups as possible, but be careful to stretch and not push yourself. This self-assessment should not be demanding. Instead, the goal is
to gauge where you are and how your body feels when doing some simple exercises.
* Establish your goals. The goal of most people beginning a new exercise regimen is to lose weight. However, there are other incentives as well. For example, some people might be starting to train for a marathon or another sporting event. Whatever the reason, know why you’re getting started, as such goals can help you monitor your progress as the year goes on.
aches and pains, if not nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath. If any of these symptoms appear, take a break. This could be your body telling you that you’re asking too much and you need to take your foot off the gas pedal for a little while.
* Consider hiring a personal trainer. Many people are overwhelmed when entering a gym after a long time away. If you find yourself intimidated or simply don’t know where to begin, hire a per-
sonal trainer. Many charge by-the-session, so you can learn which machines to use and how to use them after a session or two and then continue working out on your own. If joining a gym as a new member, the gym might offer a couple of complementary personal training sessions. If so, take full advantage of this offer. When beginning a new exercise regimen, don’t forget to let caution reign until your body has adjusted to this healthy lifestyle.
* Start slowly. Caution should reign supreme when beginning an exercise regimen. Diving into the deep end at the onset increases the risk of injury, which could limit activity for months to come. First get your body acclimated to exercise, then gradually challenge yourself as you see fit. * Leave time to recover. Though it might feel rejuvenating to get back to exercising, it’s important for everyone, but especially those who are just starting, to allow themselves some time to recover. Allow your muscles and joints to recover between workout sessions. Frequency of sessions can increase as your body gets acclimated, but at first allow a day or two between sessions so your body can recover. * Listen to your body. Exercising after a long hiatus from routine exercise won’t be easy, and your body is likely going to tell you that through certain
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At the dawn of a new calendar year, many people decide it’s time to turn over a new leaf and shed those extra pounds that accumulated over the previous 12 months. The resolve to lose weight is perhaps never stronger than at the beginning of a calendar year, when the holiday season has passed but those added inches on the waistline remain. Though it’s noble to want to lose weight and improve health, regardless of what time of year it is, there are precautions men and women should take before beginning a new exercise regimen.
HEALTH & FITNESS
28 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
My pills are expired. Now what? It happens every day. You have a headache or another ailment and go to the medicine cabinet to find relief. After shaking a few pills out of the bottle, you happen to glance at the expiration date stamped on the side and realize those pain-relief pills have expired. You wonder if you will get sick if you swallow them or if you can get away with it this time. Who isn’t trying to stretch a dollar a little further these days? And with prescription drug costs rising and some companies cutting back on health insurance coverage, there are thousands of people who may be between plans and cannot afford to continually restock their medicine cabinets with new drugs. Is it safe to take that anti-anxiety medication even if its expiration date has come and gone? Will those acid reducers make you even more sick? These are viable questions. For the most part, medical experts say that expired drugs are reasonably safe to take. According to information published in Pharmacology Today, the expiration date stamped on over-the-counter medication is a date at which the drug manufacturer can still guarantee full potency of the drug. The expiration date on your prescription medicine bottle may be the date that the prescription -not the medicine -- expires, generally a year after the medication was filled. A law was passed in 1979 that required drug manufacturers to issue the expiration date as a means to giving consumers what they paid for, and likely to avoid litigation over drugs that are no longer effective. Medical authorities say the majority of expired drugs
are safe to take — even medications that expired years ago. However, their potency may be reduced. Liquid medications, such as oral antibiotics, may lose their potency faster than pills. Tetracycline, a broadspectrum antibiotic, is one that causes some controversy regarding safety after expiration. So it’s best to discard them once they have expired. Others say nitroglycerine and hydrocodone (Vicodin) may present dangers after expiration, but this has not been proven. If you need some more reassurance that those expired pills are fine to take, consider a study conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration at the request of the US military. The military was considering disposing of and replacing its drug store every few years because of expiration dates, which would have come at a considerable cost. After a lengthy analysis, the FDA determined that 90 percent of the more than 100 drugs they tested — both prescription and OTC — were still potent even 15 years after the expiration date. That doesn’t mean it is always safe or effective to take an expired pill, especially if you are self-diagnosing a medical condition and subsequently self-medicating. Medications should always be used under the guidance of a doctor who can monitor dosing and progress. Also, medications should never be shared among different members of the family for whom they were not prescribed. Individuals who stockpile medications also run the risk of some other dangers. There’s the chance of grabbing the wrong bottle and taking a medication
that is not needed, a problem common with the elderly that can result in illness. With narcotic and
prescription drug abuse a rising epidemic among young people, having a cabinet full of drugs could
prove tempting to adolescents thinking about getting high from drugs readily available in their own
When Should You Have Your Next Eye Examination?
Complete Eyecare is More than Just a Vision Exam
our eye examination consists of various procedures to evaluate the health of your eyes and determine the prescription lenses needed for your best possible vision. It is an interesting and totally comfortable experience. We want you to know that our office will refer any patient to the appropriate specialist if we detect or suspect any problems not treated by us.
homes. The best advice regarding expired drugs is when in doubt, throw them out.
he refraction is a series of lens tests to determine the proper prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Your special needs and preferences must be taken into consideration before the
any people equate the need for an eye examination with replacing their eyeglasses. While it’s certainly important to see well, undesirable changes in your eyes can occur which do not adversely affect vision in their early stages. Unlike the rest of your body, your eyes rarely hurt when something is wrong. Do not rely on changes in your vision or broken glasses to remind you of your next appointment. Follow the advice of experts; have your eyes examined on a regular basis.
strive for the utmost in accuracy and precision.
e use the most advanced state of the art equipment to diagnose and evaluate the health of your eyes. This includes the Autorefractor, Keratometer, Slit lamp, Ophthalmoscopes, Visual Field, Ultrasound, Optos Retinal Camera, IOL Master and OCT machines. We also use different laser machines to treat glaucoma, after cataracts, diabetic retinopathy in the office as an outpatient procedure.
Lens Prescriptions Eyeglasses
s part of our eyeglass service, a complete selection of high quality eyewear is offered through Dawson’s Vision Center located at 600 Leighton Ave., Anniston. Their professional staff is trained to help you select and are compatible with your lens prescription. We want you to have glasses you are proud of and enjoy wearing.
ontact lenses are available in prescriptions for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and some bifocal corrections. We provide complete professional care from the initial examination to follow-up visits after you receive your lenses. As a prospective patient, you will be carefully evaluated to determine if you are a good candidate before fitting.
Talladega Ophthalmology Clinic Khalid L. Khan M.D.
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Open Monday-Friday 8 am-5pm at 3 Convenient Locations: ★ 216A East Battle St., Talladega • 256-362-1590 or 1-800-362-4140 ★ BHC Lincoln, 47795 US Hwy. 78 • 362-362-1590 ★ Physicians Plaza at St. Vincents St. Clair, 7063 Veterans Pkwy., Suite 110, Pell City • 205-338-3301 We Accept: Medicare, Medicaid, BCBS & Most Major Insurance Plans
HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 29
Popular health myths debunked Well-meaning parents or grandparents often tell children not to do something with the warning that a serious health implication could result. Kids often take their elders at their word. But some of these warnings bear more truth than others. Here’s the scoop on some of the more common misconceptions. Myth: Swallowed chewing gum stays in the stomach for seven years. While chewing gum cannot be digested and is meant to be chewed and
not swallowed, accidentally swallowing a piece here and there won’t cause major issues. That’s because the gum will simply pass through the digestive system whole and come out with stool. If a large amount of gum is swallowed in a short period of time, then there could be issues, including constipation and intestinal blockage in children. Myth: If you keep your eyes crossed too long, they will get stuck that way. The muscles in the eye are just like any muscles
elsewhere in the body. Although they may tire and get sore, they are relatively resilient and can take a lot of wear and tear. Crossing your eyes may tax these muscles, but you won’t do any permanent harm. Rest assured that crossing the eyes will not leave them stuck that way. Myth: Going outside with wet hair will make you sick. Although you will feel colder stepping outside with a part of your body wet, it won’t make you See Myths, Page 30
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HEALTH & FITNESS
30 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
From Page 29
more susceptible to catching a cold. Researchers at the Common Cold Research Unit in England once tested a group of volunteers who were given the cold virus. One half of the group stayed in a warm room, while the others took a bath and stood wet in a hallway for a half hour. The wet group didn’t catch more colds than the dry. Myth: Covering your head is most important because you lose 75 percent of your body heat through it. This calculation is more for an infant whose head makes up a greater percentage of his or her body. In an adult, the figure is closer to 10 percent. Heat can escape from any exposed area of the body. Therefore, it is helpful to bundle up all areas of the body when spending time outdoors in the cold weather. Myth: Don’t swim right after eating. The basis of this mantra is that when digesting food, the digestive system pulls blood away from the muscles and the idea is that you could cramp up and drown. While you may have less energy to swim vigorously, chances are you won’t be so weak as to drown. Although many health myths prevail, knowing the truth can help parents educate their children better about which behaviors are safe and which are risky.
Stay healthy when the sick season of sneezes and sniffles arrives
The cold weather brings with it a season of smiles, the first snowfalls and, unfortunately, cold and flu outbreaks. While everyone else is suffering, there are ways you can make it through the season unscathed. It is estimated that a billion people across North America will succumb to the cold virus this year, says Medline. Considering there is no cure for cold and flu viruses, prevention remains a person’s best option at fending off cold and flu. There are different precautions to take that can help protect you against getting sick or at least reduce the frequency and severity with which cold and flu strikes. Although there is no magic pill to take that will prevent you from catching a cold or the flu, there are ways to improve your odds. * Wash your hands the right way. Washing your hands frequently remains the single-best way to
Did you know?
There are a host of ways fitness-minded folks can burn a few extra calories, even if they don’t know they’re doing it. For instance, those who can’t sit still and tend to have a nervous personality may burn more calories than a person who is calm. That’s because fidgeting can burn up to 350 calories a day. Laughing more can also burn extra calories. Scientists estimate that laughing 100 times is equivalent to a 10-minute workout on a rowing machine. Remember to
keep viruses and bacteria that can make you sick from infiltrating the body. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds can effectively remove any dirt, grime and invisible invaders.
* Skip antibacterial products. Because colds and the flu are the result of viruses, which are different in behavior and structure from bacteria, they will not be killed off with the use of antibacterial products. What you may succeed in doing is killing off any beneficial bacteria on your hands as well as creating resistant bacteria that form with over-use of antibiotics and antibacterial products. * Get the flu shot. There is no vaccination to prevent the common cold, but there are immunizations that can help reduce your risk of getting the flu or help minimize its severity. Doctors’ offices, clinics and even pharmacies all offer annual flu shots. get some shut-eye as well. Research has found that dieters who get adequate sleep can more easily shed weight.
* Use sanitizer on items around the house. Surfaces that are frequently touched by all members of the household should be wiped down with a disinfectant product. A bleachand-water solution is an effective sanitizer. Surfaces to sanitize include phones, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, computer keyboards, faucets, toys, and countertops.
* Avoid sick people. KidsHealth.org states that flu viruses and colds can travel up to 12 feet (from a sneeze or cough). Steer clear of anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially someone who is frequently sneezing or coughing. Parents should keep children home from school if they are sick. Do so until symptoms subside so as not to infect others. * Use a sanitizer product. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that when hand-washing is not readily available, a good For those who are feeling amorous, engaging in intimate behavior can burn up to 360 calories an hour.
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way to kill germs is to use an alcohol-based sanitizer lotion. While not as effective as washing hands in warm, soapy water, sanitizing products can be used in a pinch while you’re on the go.
* Cough into your sleeve. Rather than coughing or sneezing into your hands, do so into the crook of your elbow since this area rarely touches anything else.
* Skip the buffet lunch. Buffet-style offerings are convenient and offer variety, but they are also a breeding ground for illnesses. These foods may have been sneezed or coughed on. Also, the serving spoons have been touched by dozens of people. There are many different ways to avoid getting a cold or the flu this season. Diligence is one of the keys to staying germ-free.
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HEALTH & FITNESS
The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 31
Make your favorite recipes healthier A healthy diet plays a significant role in a person’s overall health. Without a healthy diet, men and women are more susceptible to disease and other potentially harmful ailments. But when many people think of a healthy diet, a lack of flavor is often one of the first things to come to mind. That’s a common misconception, as a diet that’s healthy and full of nutrients can simultaneously be flavorful. In fact, it’s easy to enjoy many of your favorite dishes in a way that makes them healthier. Often, a few alterations to a recipe is all it takes to turn the dish from high-risk to healthy. • Trim the fat. No one wants to eat fat, but fat isn’t entirely bad for you. Fat can help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, and replacing fat with something like car-
bohydrates decreases how much these valuable vitamins are absorbed. In addition, dietary fat releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel full, reducing the likelihood that you will overeat. Those are just a few of the benefits of dietary fat, which is an essential element of a healthy diet. But overconsumption of dietary fat can be dangerous, and many people simply need to trim some fat from their diets. One way to do that is to reduce how much butter, shortening or oil you use when cooking. For some recipes, you may be able to cut suggested portions of such ingredients by half without replacing them; however, for others, especially those for baked goods, these items may have to be replaced. In the case of the latter, find a suggested alternative to high-fat items, and only
use half of the high-fat item listed in the original recipe. Chances are you won’t taste the difference, but your body will be better for it. • Substitute healthier fare. Substituting items is another way to turn a favorite dish into a healthier dish without altering the flavor dramatically, if at all. For example, instead of cooking with enriched pasta, purchase wholewheat or whole-grain pastas, which are higher in fiber and lower in calories. If a recipe calls for using milk, choose fat-free milk instead of whole milk. Doing so reduces your fat intake by nearly 8 grams per cup. Recipes can even be made healthier by simply cutting back on the main dish and adding more vegetables. Instead of using the recommended amount of meat or chicken, scale
back and make up for it with additional vegetables, which reduces your caloric and fat intake while adding more vitamins and minerals to your diet. • Change your methods. Certain cooking techniques are healthier than others. Frying foods or cooking with fat, oil or salt is not the healthiest way to prepare a meal. Some of your favorite dishes that call for frying or cooking in oil can be just as flavorful if you opt for healthier methods like braising, broiling, grilling, or steaming. When recipes call for basting foods in oil or drippings, forgo these unhealthy options and baste foods in vegetable juice or fat-free broth instead. What you use to cook can also be healthy or unhealthy. Nonstick cookware won’t require you to use oil or butter to keep
Desiccant is not so dangerous densation buildup, which can damage the products. Silica products also may be used to dry out closets or wet areas of the home, such as basements. Containers full of silica gel are used to absorb moisture from the air. Silica gel is also used at some industrial factories or other businesses to help with spill clean-up. The pellets are tossed onto a spill, which then absorb the moisture and make for an easier job of cleaning. Individuals may have noticed that silica gel packets have the warning “do not eat” printed right on the packaging. They tend to resemble the individual packets of sugar found at restaurants, so it may be easy for children and adults to mistake them for something edible. What
if a packet of silica gel did end up in the mouth? What would be the ramifications? Although the experience
Men and women who enjoy food and cooking their own meals can take steps to make them healthier without sacrificing flavor.
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may be uncomfortable, silica is not very harmful. It would suck out all of the moisture from the mouth, making it extremely dry.
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Parents fret over many of the items kids come into contact with, particularly small objects that can present choking hazards or items that may be poisonous. One common thing that often turns up in a home are packets of silica gel. Silica gel is a desiccant, which means it is designed to draw moisture out of something to keep it fresh. Silica packets are often found tucked into new shoes or handbags, and small pouches of silica gel may be in the vitamin bottles in the medicine cabinet. Silica gel can absorb up to 40 percent of its weight in moisture. It is used to protect items where extreme temperature changes may cause moisture or con-
foods from sticking to the pan. This reduces the amount of fat and calories you will consume, and you likely won’t notice a difference with regards to flavor.
32 – The Daily Home, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
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