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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Health & Wellness

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MEDICAL INSIGHT

Alaska feels effects of aging population By DOROTHY CHOMICZ dchomicz@newsminer.com Some call it “the graying of America.” The U.S., once a nation of the young, is increasingly becoming a nation of the elderly as advances in medicine help people live longer. The first of the 75 million strong baby boom generation — those born between 1946 and 1964 — turned 65 last year, and the ranks of seniors will increase 2.8 percent yearly until 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The aging-population trend is felt sharply in Alaska. According to U.S. Census figures, seniors 60 years old and older comprised 12.8 percent — or 90,876 — of Alaska’s 2010 population of 710,231. While California has the highest number of seniors and Florida the highest percentage, Alaska has the fastest growth in senior population in the U.S. per capita, with a whopping 71.4 percent growth in seniors 60-plus years old over the last decade.

Submitted by Contributing Community Author

J. Timothy Foote, MD Pediatrics – Allergy and Asthma Tanana Valley Clinic 1001 Noble Street, Fairbanks (907) 459-3500

ALASKA SENIOR STATISTICS* 60 years old and over Total Alaska population 2010

710,231

Total senior population 2010 Age 60-64 Age 65-74 Age 75-84 Age 85+ Total Interior seniors 2010

90,876 35,938 35,350 14,877 4,711 13,179

Childhood Food Allergies

Avg. Monthly Social Security payment $1,188 Increase in amount of seniors receiving food stamps Nov. 2010 - Nov. 2011 19 perceny Total seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia 6,067 Average yearly nursing home cost — private room $247,470 *Taken from Alaska Commission on Aging “Senior Snapshot — Older Alaskans in 2011”

Experts believe this gain is attributable to the aging of those who came to the state as young people in the

1970s and early 1980s to take advantage of the pipePlease see SENIORS, Page 5

1901 Airport Way, Suite 101 Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone (907) 374-3063 Fax (907) 374-8872

Sleep Disorders Evaluation and Treatment Wilber

Medical Center Alaska Sleep Clinic

Wendys

The majority of Fairbanks households contend with food allergies to some degree. The problem may be mild and annoying, like an itchy mouth after eating a raw apple. At the other end of the spectrum is allergy to peanuts or tree nuts. Small amounts, even residual peanut dust that contaminates other foods or packaging, may result in a rapid and serious reaction. The most common allergic foods for children are peanuts, egg, cow milk, wheat, and soy. As children reach age school age, allergy to tree nuts such as walnut, cashew, or almond, along with fish and shellfish becomes more common. Symptoms almost always occur within 30 minutes of ingestion. The typical symptoms are vomiting and hives, but may also include itchy, watery eyes; nasal symptoms; swollen lips/tongue/palate/ airway; cough; wheezing; abdominal pain; diarrhea; dizziness; or loss of consciousness. It is not possible to predict the severity of a food allergy reaction based on a previous reaction. At present, there is no cure for food allergies; strict avoidance is the prevailing theme. Parents should be dedicated food label readers. The offending food may not only hide in other foods, but it may also cross-react with foods that share similar proteins. In most busy households, the food should be completely banned from the home. Anyone providing food to the child -restaurant workers, daycare workers, grandparents, church nurseries - should be made aware of the food allergy. Many studies show that there is a 50% chance that a child will eventually be accidentally fed the allergic food. For that reason, there should be a written food allergy plan, and epinephrine should always be available. Family members and other caregivers should be trained in its use, and above all, be willing to administer it in a moment’s notice. The delay in giving epinephrine is a prevailing theme in food allergy fatalities. There is encouraging news for families with a food allergic child. Cow milk, egg and soy allergies are usually outgrown by the time a child starts elementary school. As a physician, it is a gratifying day when a food can be safely reintroduced into the diet of a child who has avoided that food for many years. However, this process should only be undertaken after blood or skin testing, careful consideration, and completing a food challenge in a medical setting. Our thanks to Dr. Timothy Foote for contributing this column. The article is intended to be strictly informational

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ResMed • Respironics • Fisher-Paykel

Airport Way Super 8

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Wide variety of CPAP Equipment and supplies available on site and through our new mail out program.

Member of American Academy of Pediatrics, Scientific Membership with American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; Allied Health Membership with American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  
Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  

A guide to staying healthy in Interior Alaska, geared toward Alaska's growing elderly population.