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FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018
VOL. 5, ISSUE 7
SAFETY AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF HIKING PG. 5
INSIDE Beat the summer heat PG. 3 | How to treat a sunburn PG. 7 Learn about meningitis PG. 8
James Gilham, DO
Richard Hanley, MD
Lindsay Meredith, MD
Leslie Gibson, FNPBC, CNM
Derick Fenton, MD
Debra Chapman, RN, MSN, CNM
To Your Newest With nine months of anticipation, this special time calls for the expert care available at MMH. With advanced technology and passionate providers close to home, let our Friends & Family introduce you to your family’s newest joy.
800 South Third Street, Montrose, CO 81401
Friends & Family
VALLEY HEALTH a publication of the
Think safe this summer!
Montrose Daily Press
Aaahhhhh, school is out and summer is in full swing. People are active and busy and, unfortunately, so is our emergency department. The summer months Leann Tobin always result in an increased Montrose number of Memorial Hospital visits to the ER. Here are a few reminders to help keep you safe and hopefully out of the hospital. Always wear a helmet when riding your bike. Kids and parents too. It is great to see a family out on a summer evening bike ride with the kids wearing their helmets. It is disheartening to see the same family with mom and dad without helmets. It is important to be a role model for the kids. Your safety is just as important and your kids need you around! One of our friends had a serious bicycle crash last week and was pretty banged up. Even though he has a few broken ribs and some road rash, his helmet prevented him from being more seriously injured. He brought his helmet in, with a big chunk out of it, to show the others and to remind all of us to wear our helmets! The skate park at Baldridge Park is an incredible asset for our community. Please remember to wear the proper protective equipment when rollerblading or roller skating.
Publisher Tonya Maddox News Editor Monica Garcia Design Editor Shaun Gibson For advertising information, call 970-252-7099 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Valley Health is a publication of the Montrose Daily Press. It publishes monthly on the first Friday. If you have a health-related news tip, contact Monica Garcia, news editor, at email@example.com.
TAKE CHARGE OF
This includes a helmet, wrist guards, elbow and kneepads. We have had several “weekend athletes” in the ER with broken wrists from not wearing the proper equipment. Water safety is another area of concern. When boating, kayaking and paddle boarding, make sure you all wear life jackets! Have enough life jackets, in the proper sizes, on your boat, for everyone on your boat. Teach your children how to be safe around water and make sure you all wear plenty of sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you avoid deliberate sunbathing, wear a widebrimmed hat, sunglasses and protective clothing. If you are in the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before going outdoors as this gives your skin time to soak in the sunscreen. All types of sunscreens, even water-resistant sunscreens, are most effective if reapplied often. If you use the spray sunscreen, make sure to rub it in so it reaches all parts of your exposed skin. Above all, use common sense and be aware of your surroundings. We wish you a safe and fun summer season! We hope you won’t need the services of our skilled emergency department, but if you do, know that we are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week!l Leann Tobin is Montrose Memorial Hospital’s community engagement director. Reach her at 970-240-7344.
I bet I can make you yawn 57218
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Last week I forced myself to stay up two nights in a row to work. I certainly had lots to do, but I also wanted to see what happened to my brain if I induced sleep deprivation. The following morning, I was yawning quite a bit while sharing the story with Sam. He jokingly snapped, “Hey, stop that! You’re making me yawn!” I thought that was hilarious and kept my eye on him for a couple of minutes, and sure enough, when I yawned, he yawned. Twice! Yawns are known to be “contagious,” especially if you are emotionally connected with the person yawning. It is also said that empathetic people are more apt to “catch” a yawn. This little quirk of “catching” a yawn isn’t totally based on empathy though, at least according to a PLOS One article. Sometimes saying the word out loud or reading the word “yawn” triggers a yawn. Yawns are usually satisfying in nature, and if they’re not, one theory is that the subconscious mind is unable to let go. One yawn lasts about 6 seconds and during that time, your heart probably beats faster. Did I get you to yawn just yet? Well, it’s not for lack of trying! I had to peruse about 27 journal articles to write this blog and the monotony of that (as well as reading the word “yawn” a million times) made me yawn so much I almost fell asleep! Keep reading because the rest of my article is sure to bore you… *wink* A yawn does not really happen just because you’re bored or tired. I mean it could, but it doesn’t have to. For decades, doctors said it was your brain’s attempt to pull more oxygen in for the tissues. Research on animals published in The International Journal of Applied Basic Medical Research in June 2017 points to yawning as a way to drain lymph from around the brain. That’s interesting because we are only now realizing the brain actually has a lymphatic system. In humans, yawning is not typically considered a Mr. Tough Guy move. Whereas in the animal kingdom, it’s often a sign of aggression. Picture a baboon baring its teeth – yikes! – or one of those beautiful but aggressive Siamese fighting fish posturing against a male in the tank next door. We, meaning humans, yawn in the womb, and and from around 11 to 20 weeks post-conception, it can even be seen on ultrasound. (Yes, it’s boring in there for sure.) Another interesting fact about yawning is that medications can cause it. For example, one of the biggest offenders is the category of antidepressants, especially the SSRIs and SNRIs like Prozac and Cymbalta respectively. There are many others in that category not listed here. Benzodiazepines (clonazepam, alprazolam) and opiate analgesics (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine) will often trigger yawning attacks – it’s a well-documented side effect during normal treatment. It’s apt to happen more frequently during ‘interdose withdrawal’ (the hours in-between your scheduled doses of the day), or more likely when you quit taking these drugs (which requires a long taper-
ing process). Yawning attacks induced from antidepressants, benzos and opiates are almost always annoying and uncomfortable. Anesthetics used to sedate you before surgery can cause yawning. And a big yawn-inducing category are the dopaminergics used in Parkinson’s such as L-dopa or Levodopa (Sinemet contains that) or Apokyn (Apomorphine). Yawning becomes more frequent when you take these meds because of their impact on neurotransmitters and hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and acetylcholine. When those substances tilt in your brain, yawning begins. Certain diseases impact your ability to yawn. Did you know that the complete disappearance of yawns could indicate damage to your hypothalamus? It’s specifically damage to the dopaminergic (dopamine-producing) neurons. When that happens, you have less dopamine production and receptor sensitivity in the body. This is why Parkinson’s patients yawn rather infrequently, even if you yawn in front of them or try to get them to yawn. It’s because that part of their brain is under siege and damaged. Likewise, the effectiveness of Parkinson’s drug therapy can actually be gauged if the patient begins to yawn again. Another possible association with easy yawning is depression. While it’s not yet proven, there is data that suggests you’re more depressed if you yawn a lot. Untangling this is difficult in my opinion because people with depression often have insomnia so they are going to naturally be more fatigued during the day, and probably yawn more too. Also, there is the factor of age, it’s assumed that as you age, you’re more likely to be depressed. Think about that, as you age, you also have more damage to your brain and the neurons in the hypothalamus (see above), so is it dopaminergic loss or depression? This is why I’m not convinced that the study linking depression to yawning is scientifically sound. It’s just a theory. Yawning is a common sign of anxiety too. Even dogs yawn when they’re nervous. If you are nervous or worried about an activity, you might find yourself yawning a little more than you should. This is embarrassing if it’s happening at a big board meeting or when you’re about to speak in front of the PTA. Regardless, take a deep breath and just start talking. When you talk, the frequency of yawning goes down. As with so many things associated with our bodies, it’s strange, but true. Suzy Cohen has been a licensed pharmacist for 25 years and is a functional medicine practitioner for the last 15. She devotes time to educating people about the benefits of natural vitamins, herbs and minerals. In addition to writing a syndicated health column, “Dear Pharmacist,” Suzy Cohen is the author of many different books on natural health.
Outdoors health tips from the Posse:
If I were forced to pick a favorite season in Colorado, I would have to pick summer. I can go outside without having to wear six layers of clothes, hunting season and fall is just over the horizon, and slippery roads is a distant memory in Mark Rackay the rearview mirror. Tips from the Posse My old friend Murph, of Murphy’s Law fame, follows me around in the summer months. I guess it is because I am outside more in the summer and it gives him more opportunity to wreak his special breed of havoc. One area of our life that requires special consideration during the summer is our workout routine. This would include all our activities that are physical in nature, like hiking, backpacking, kayaking, exercising and many others. Whenever you exercise in hot weather, you put extra stress on your body and run the risk of serious illness. As the air temperature and humidity rise when you exercise, your body’s core temperature can soar. Blood circulating through your skin is what warms you in cold and cools you in the heat. As you heat up, more blood circulates, leaving less blood for your muscles, which thereby increases your heart rate. If the humidity is high, the sweat does not evaporate as quickly, and your temperature soars even higher. It is all a domino effect and Murph is at the controls, waiting to shut you down with a heat related sickness. The illness can start out as heat cramps or muscle cramps. These are painful contractions that occur with exercise. You may also feel muscle spasms or firmness in the affected muscle. Another illness is called heat syncope, which is a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness occurring after standing for a long period of time. It can also strike from standing too quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Someone who is a jogger or runner can experience exercise –associated collapse. This malady can cause fainting and lightheadedness immediately after exercising. It can occur immediately after you stop running or exercising. While none of these are any fun, it only gets
Using one of these regularly is the best way to prevent heat related illnesses. (Special to the Montrose Daily Press/Mark Rackay)
worse from here with heat exhaustion. Your body temperature can rise to 104 degrees and you can have nausea, vomiting, headache and fainting, sweating and cold, clammy skin. If you don’t treat it immediately, it will lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is a full-blown, three-alarm emergency because it can lead to brain damage, organ failure and even death in a short period of time. The temperature of your body will exceed 104 degrees and the skin will be dry from lack of sweating. You can develop confusion, heart rhythm problems, fainting, nausea, vomiting, visual problems and fatigue. Immediately contact 911 if you suspect these symptoms in someone. The secret to all these heat related illnesses is to prevent them. Start by allowing your body some time to acclimate from the heat. It is similar to my Florida friends who show up here during the hunting seasons and complain how cold it is. They need sometime to acclimate. It can take seven to 10 days of workout for your body to get used to the heat. Ex-
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perts say we should try and keep our body temperature at or below 101 degrees. I have not figured out how to exercise and take my temperature, so I just guess on that one. Sixty minutes is that maximum amount of time you want any strenuous activity in the heat. Hikers and backpackers should slow their pace and keep that core temperature down. I know that we discuss fluid intake to the point we tire of hearing about it. I fight the fluids all year long, so summer heat is no exception. I can drink a gallon an hour and my doctor will still tell me I am dehydrated. I know that if you wait until you are thirsty, you’ve waited too long. If you are running, packing, biking or hiking in the heat, hit the water bottle 16 to 24 ounces a couple hours before you start the excursion. While out, have 6 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes, throughout the activity. If your activity is going to be for a longer period of time you are going to want to add some electrolytes and some
carbohydrates to your body. For me, that is a Gatorade and a Clif Bar and it is easily packed along on the trip. One of the smartest things a jogger or power walker can do is make your jaunt when it is cooler out. Most often, that is in the early morning hours. I know it sounds crazy, but I really like going for a run at 5 a.m., when it is cool out and the sun has not come up yet. In my neighborhood, the only person out at 5 a.m. is the carrier for the Montrose Daily Press, which really makes for a nice and peaceful start of the day. Besides, Murphy likes to sleep in during the summer, so he is not out yet at that hour.l Mark Rackay is a columnist for the Montrose Daily Press and an avid hunter who travels all across North America in search of adventure, and serves as a director and public information officer for the Montrose County Sheriff ’s Posse. For information about the Posse call 970-252-4033 (leave a message) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Get in the water!
I have some advice for everyone enjoying the most amazing local, public space; specifically for my new favorite place — our local water park. If you haven’t been down to the park you really should get down there. I am very nervous about water, but we have had the most fun enjoying the water park this year. With this ridiculously hot summer the water has been OUTSIDE refreshing and the waves are big THE BOX enough to give your heart a few TWYLA RIGHTER palpitations! I love seeing all the local people: cool river people down from Telluride and Crested Butte bringing some tourism dollars and fancy shmancy gear, and moms with toddlers carefully wading in the little eddie. A local guy with a cigarette and an innertube rolling
through will be followed by a family decked out in safety gear and helmets and emergency whistles; a 20 year old kayaker with awesome skills surfing a wave will dodge a redneck on a plastic swan who may or may not actually be able to swim. It’s such a sweet beautiful slice of America! It’s so quintessentially Montrose! I do need to add one caveat — (the advice I’d like to share) don’t blare your music. Just don’t. No one shares your taste and you immediately grate on the nerves of everyone forced to listen to your particular brand. Me? I do NOT like hearing M-f ’er and abusing women music. I’m at a park with my kids … and while I like young men, there are a substantial number of them that like this music that I do not. Don’t blare music that disrespects me or my daughters — (or really all of humanity) around me. And while I do not like that music — I do like other music that many other people wound not enjoy. I could listen to old Cat Steven’s or current Walk off the Earth and most folks do not share my fondness. I hate techno — I mean: it makes my back hurt and my teeth ache. I get
physically ill listening to it and people love that stuff! Country is a hit with at least half of our population, but the other half are so burned out on the country half that it becomes a point of contention. My husband and I hear 90s music and get a small swish of nostalgia … my kids point out it’s all angsty and bitter. So please — when you are in a public place … act like it’s public and keep your personal party … well … personal. Keep your tunes in some earbud … or just go without tunes and actually chit-chat with your family and friends and strangers. Montrose is full of amazing, different, fun people. We are a wacky mess of different folks. Let’s get to know each other — and let’s be considerate enough not to foist our tunes on one another. l Twyla Righter is a native of Western Colorado. She is the mother of three children bent on world domination (they have pie charts) and a proud CASA advocate. She writes two columns for The Press as well authoring the definitive guide to a horrible pregnancy: “About That Pregnancy Glow.” Righter’s “Outside the box” column appears every other Friday in the Montrose Daily Press.
5 fun ways to get fit Exercise benefits both the mind and body. Study after study indicates how physical activity can reduce the propensity for illness, boost mood, lower stress levels, and much more. Still, certain people find it difficult to muster the motivation to get up and move. In 2013, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from more than 450,000 American adults ages 18 and older who were randomly polled across the 50 states. Participants were asked about aerobic physical activity outside of their jobs. The findings were eye-opening. Estimates indicated nearly 80 percent of American adults do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week. People most likely to exercise, according to the CDC study, were between the ages of 18 and 24. Lack of time and inspiration may be to blame for disinterest in exercise. Boredom with routine and being unaware of alternative fitness regimens also may be contributing factors. Increasing the fun associated with workouts could lead to greater success in or outside of the gym. 1. Do what you enjoy. Wasting time on activities that you don’t enjoy may cause you to throw in the towel prematurely. Don’t base fitness choices around what worked for others; find things that work for you. Exercise physiologists at John Hopkins Weight Management Center say to start with an activity that you already
enjoy, even if it’s aligned with the trend of the moment. Chances are you can find a class or make up a routine that works for you. 2. Tweak your playlist. Music can improve performance during a workout and may actually take your mind off of strenuous or repetitive activity. Tunes also can be coordinated to the workout. Songs that feature lyrics such as run, punch, push, or groove can reinforce movements in the routine, offers the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Also, tailor songs to coordinate to the beats per minute of different activities. Strength activities and endurance activities can feature songs with higher BPMs. 3. Exercise with friends or a group. Having other people around can make workouts more enjoyable, and that interaction may spur competition that can make you more inclined to stay the course. People who were in the competitive groups in a study of 800 graduate and professional students at the University of Pennsylvania went to 90 percent more classes than those who exercised independently or were not competitive. The results were published in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports. Competition can be a driving factor in efforts to exercise. 4. Head outdoors. You may be more inclined to workout if
you do so outside. Activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, swimming, and cycling on natural courses can be inspiring and burn calories. 5. Try sports or another activity. Exercise regimens do not have to include running on a treadmill or lifting weights. All types of activities can work, and some may
be more enjoyable to you than traditional exercises. Everything from martial arts to dance classes to volleyball can offer cardiovascular and muscle-building benefits in a fun atmosphere. Making exercise fun motivates many people to embrace fitness and stick with their workout regimens.l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
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Safety an important component of hiking Hiking is a popular and accessible outdoor activity. According to the American Hiking Society, since the National Trail System was established under President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, the mileage of trails on federal lands has increased almost three-fold, from 88,000 to more than 193,000 in 2015. During that same time period, mileage of trails on state lands has increased from 15,000 to 42,500. And all those trails aren’t going to waste, as the Outdoor Industry Association notes that more than 34 million people went hiking in 2013. Hiking is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, but veteran and novice hikers must emphasize safety when traversing the trails. • Bring adequate supplies. Even hikers going on relatively brief hikes should pack supplies so they’re safe. Pack supplies such as a compass, a map of the trails you’ll be traversing, some basic first aid materials (band-aids, gauze, an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin®, etc.), extra water, and extra food. Such supplies may be precautionary, but they’re potentially invaluable if hikers get lost or suffer an injury during their hikes. • Hike only in daylight hours. Hiking during the day allows hikers to take in nature at its sun-soaked best while reducing their risk of getting lost. In addition, park rangers and employees may not be working or accessible overnight. And depending on where hikers are hiking, trails may be home to nocturnal animals that may
be startled by and aggressive toward men, women and children walking through their domains. When hiking, be sure to turn back at a time of day that ensures you can return to your vehicle in daylight. • Let loved ones know your plans. All hikers, but especially those hiking alone, should let loved ones know they’re going hiking and exactly where they plan to hike. This can make it easier for park rangers or rescue teams to find you if you get lost. In addition to letting others know your plans, leave a note in the glove compartment of your vehicle explaining where you plan to hike. • Know the forecast. Weather can change at the drop of a hat, so before heading out, hikers should check the local forecast and make any necessary adjustments to stay safe. Be sure to include a rain jacket, sunscreen, ballcap, and warm clothing among your supplies to account for unexpected inclement weather. Shorten hiking excursions if storms are in the forecast. • Stay within your abilities. Some people may consider hiking a leisure activity, but many trails can be physically challenging. Hikers should stay within their capabilities and steer clear of trails they do not feel like they can traverse safely. Stop by the park’s visitor’s center prior to beginning a hike so you can get a list of trails and identify which ones are best suited to your abilities. l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
Metal detecting tips for beginners Some people can scour the seaside for hours looking for shells and other treasures of the sea. But much more than horseshoe crabs, jellyfish and oysters wash up on the shoreline. The ocean can provide a host of manmade treasures as well — some of which may have considerable financial value. Metal detecting is an exciting hobby that also can be lucrative. Stumbling across pirate treasure may be rare, but many a metal detecting enthusiast has left the beach with coins, trinkets and even jewelry. The rush of discovery drives scores of treasureseeking enthusiasts to invest their time and effort into digging through sand, silt and more for what’s buried beneath.
The metal detectors used today actually have a long history that dates back to the 1800s. The first historical reference to metal detecting involves a gunshot wound to President James Garfield, who was shot on July 2, 1881. The bullet was lodged in his body, and Alexander Graham Bell built a metal detector to try to find the bullet and alleviate Garfield’s pain. Bell’s metal detector has served as the prototype for metal detectors ever since. Metal detectors were used to detect landmines and unexploded bombs during World Wars I and II. Gerhard Fischer was granted a patent on the first portable metal detector in 1931. Fischer’s invention eventually made recreational treasure hunting possible.
About metal detecting Metal detecting can be a worthwhile hobby because it appeals to one’s sense of adventure while also serving as a form of exercise. In addition, metal detecting gets people outdoors, helps them learn about the environment and can serve as a lesson in history if artifacts are found.
Getting started Beginners are encouraged to purchase entry-level metal detectors, which may cost $150 and up. Prices vary depending on the additional features and technologies metal detecting enthusiasts prefer. According to the detecting experts at SmarterHobby.com, some of the best places to
detect include places where people frequent. These include public parks, beaches, woods, public school grounds, and hiking trails. Just be sure that metal detecting is permitted before starting. Looking at old maps of a town can provide ideas on where to hunt. One-time forts, marinas and trade routes make great place to start. Patience is key when metal detecting. Much of what beginners find is junk, but the more time people spend searching, the more likely they might find something amazing. Experienced detectors advise hunting after the rain when wet ground is better suited for conductivity, making treasures buried deep beneath the surface easier to find. Plan to search in early morning or late evening to avoid crowds. Slowing down and checking each signal can increase the chances of finding something. Keep records of places you have searched, maintaining a log of sites that yield the best results. Metal detecting is an interesting hobby that can make for exciting summer days.l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
Does gluten-free benefit everyone? If the number of gluten-free products stocking store shelves and appearing on restaurant menus are any indication, then the general public has embraced gluten-free living. Many people eat gluten-free diets despite not having Celiac disease, which is a condition that requires people to avoid gluten. However, a voluntary gluten censorship may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Less than 1 percent of Americans are glutenintolerant or afflicted with Celiac disease. Despite this, the popularity of gluten-free diets tripled between 2013 and 2014, according to reports from The Kitchn. Although people who are sensitive to gluten may feel better avoiding it, Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, director of clinical research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, has said others will derive no significant benefit from gluten avoidance and will simply waste money buying the more expensive gluten-free alternatives. People with perceived gluten sensitives may not have aversions to gluten at all. According to a study conducted by Monash University and published in 2013, people with self-reported non-celiac gluten
sensitivity, gluten only caused negative symptoms when subjects knew they were eating it. When they believe the food to be something else, participants experienced no symptoms. Other medical experts say that gluten may not be to blame for sensitivity, which may be a result of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs), like grains, beans, dairy, and some fruits. By removing the grain (gluten included), affected individuals feel better, thinking gluten is to blame. Those with no reason to avoid gluten could be putting their health at risk by skipping wheat and other grains. A recent study from Harvard Medical School says those who avoid gluten may be harming their heart health. The study, which tracked the eating habits of 64,714 women and 45,303 men over a period of 26 years, found that long-term avoidance of gluten in adults sometimes caused the reduced consumption of heart-healthy whole grains that affect cardiovascular risk. Study leader Andrew Chan said that individuals who consumed the lowest levels of dietary gluten had a 15 percent higher risk of heart disease. The study concluded that the
promotion of gluten-free diets among people for whom it is deemed medically unnecessary to avoid gluten should not be encouraged. There may be other reasons to continue to eat gluten. A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, titled, “Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult human subjects,” found a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut flora and immune function. This potentially puts people at risk for an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestinal biome. Another study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that gluten may boost immune function. After roughly a week on added gluten protein, subjects experienced increased natural killer cell activity, which could be helpful in improving the body’s ability to fight viral infections and cancer. A gluten-free diet isn’t necessarily a healthy one. While such a diet may be necessary for those with Celiac disease, unless a doctor has determined a person needs to avoid gluten, it is wise to include whole grains in a balanced diet.l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
A realistic guide to organic food In a perfect world, chemicals would not be needed to produce any foods, all of which would be made in sustainable conditions and from all-natural ingredients. But even the most ecoconscious foodie routinely faces difficult decisions at the grocery store. The Organic Trade Association says organic food is the fastest-growing sector of the American food industry, and organic food now accounts for more than 5 percent of total food sales. While many people understand the benefits to consuming organic produce, such foods tend to cost more, compromising shoppers’ budgets as a result. Making smart choices and getting the facts about organic food can help consumers make informed decisions. Smarter organic choices According to the food and health resource the Environmental Working Group, certain fruits and vegetables are more likely to feature residual pesticides than others. They dub these foods the “Dirty Dozen,” which include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers. Shoppers who cannot afford strictly organic foods can opt for nonorganic items that are less likely to contain residual pesticides. Fearing antibiotics Many people are concerned about milk, meat and poultry treated with antibiotics. Organic foods are antibiotic-free. The Food and Drug Administration
has strict guidelines in place to phase out the use of antibiotics in food animals to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency. They’re also requiring farmers to select strains of microbials that are less medically important to humans who would need them to treat disease. This means that conventional milk, meat and poultry may contain less antibiotics than consumers know. Also, according to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, poultry are not given growth hormones, so there’s little need to pay more for hormone-free. Organic and pesticides To be “organic,” foods produced and sold in the United States and Canada must be shown to conserve natural resources and be devoid of GMOs, among other requirements. However, USDA organic certification allows for natural substances, such as pheromones, vaccines for animals and a limited number of natural pesticides. Also, a 2011 survey by the USDA showed 39 percent of 571 organic samples were found to have pesticide residues, but well below tolerance levels set by the EPA. Therefore, pesticidefree and organic are not exclusive. Organic foods are seen as a healthy alternative to foods that do not fall into this category. While there are many positive reasons to go organic, including convential foods in one’s diet is not necessarily unhealthy. l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
What to do after suffering a sunburn Summer fun routinely involves days spent soaking up some of the sun’s rays. Relaxing days at the beach, barbecues in the backyard or picnics at the park can make for fun summer activities that create lasting memories. While spending time in the great outdoors is a great way to take advantage of summer weather, it’s important that revelers take steps to prevent sunburn when spending days beneath the hot summer sun. Sunburns may seem temporary, but the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that sunburn can cause long-lasting skin damage. In addition, the SCF notes that a person’s risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns. It can take several hours to notice the full damage of a sunburn, though some people may notice mild symptoms of sunburn more quickly than that. The SCF recommends that people get out of the sun at the first sign of sunburn, and then take the following steps to treat their skin. • Cool the skin down quickly. People sitting near cool water, whether it’s the ocean or a backyard pool, should take a quick dip to cool their skin. Make this dip quick so your skin is not further exposed to the sun. After taking a dip, cover up your skin and get out of the sun, continuing to cool the skin with a cold compress. Do not apply ice directly to sunburned skin. Some people may want to take a cool shower or bath after suffering a sunburn. While that’s alright, the SCF recommends keeping the bath or shower short, as long baths or showers can dry the skin, and avoiding harsh soap that can be irritating. • Moisturize skin while it’s still damp. Apply a gentle moisturizing lotion while the skin is still damp, and continue doing so to affected areas for a few days. Avoid petroleum- or oil-based ointments, as they can trap the heat and make burns worse. • Decrease inflammation. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen can help sunburned men and women manage the pain and discomfort associated with their sunburns. Symptoms such as redness and swelling may be mitigated with a 1 percent over-thecounter cortisone cream applied as directed for a few days. • Wear the right clothing. Tight clothing can rub up against sunburned skin and irritate it even further. Until sunburned skin returns to normal, wear loose, soft and breathable clothing to keep irritation to a minimum. • Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated. Sunburns draw fluid to the surface of skin, taking it away from the rest of the body. So it’s important that men and women who have suffered a sunburn make a conscious effort to drink more fluids until their skin heals so they can avoid becoming dehydrated. • Report severe sunburns to a physician. Symptoms of severe sunburn include blistering of the skin, fever, chills, wooziness, and/or feelings of
confusion. Report such symptoms to a physician immediately, and avoid popping blisters, as doing so can lead to infection. Sunburns can always be avoided. Men, women and children planning to spend time in the sun should take every measure to avoid sunburn, which can produce long-lasting damage to the skin. l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
The risk factors for melanoma A form of cancer that develops in the pigment-making cells of the skin known as the melanocytes, melanoma is a relatively rare form of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is more dangerous than basal and squamous cell skin cancers, which are the most common types of the disease, because it is likely to metastasize if not detected early. No one is invulnerable to the potential threat posed by melanoma, though some people are at greater risk of the disease than others. The following are some of the risk factors for melanoma, courtesy of the Skin Cancer Foundation.
bleed, crust, ooze, swell, or are elevated from the skin might be in particular danger of becoming melanomas. Atypical moles that are bluish-black in color or become persisting open sores are also at greater risk of becoming melanomas.
Sun exposure Exposure to the sun can increase a person’s risk factor for various forms of skin cancer, including melanoma. The SCF notes that blistering sunburns suffered in early childhood especially increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma, though sunburns later in life also can increase that risk. In addition, people who live in places that get substantial sunlight, such as Florida and Hawaii, tend to develop more skin cancers than people who live in areas with less sunlight. Tanning booths and beds also increase exposure to ultraviolet rays, which increase one’s melanoma risk.
Weakened immune system People whose immune systems have been compromised are at greater risk of developing melanoma than those whose immune systems are working at full strength. Chemotherapy, organ transplant surgery, excessive exposure to the sun, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS can weaken the immune system.
Moles The more moles a person has on his or her skin, the greater his or her risk for melanoma. There are two types of moles: normal moles and atypical moles. Normal moles are small, brown blemishes or beauty marks that appear in the first few decades of life. Many people develop such moles. Atypical moles known as “dysplastic nevi” can be precursors to melanoma, and people with such moles are at greater risk of developing the disease. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal and atypical moles, though the SCF notes that atypical moles that itch,
Skin type People with fair skin are at greater risk of various types of skin cancers, including melanomas. Such is also the case for people with light-colored hair and eyes.
Family history The SCF notes that roughly 10 percent of people diagnosed with melanoma have a family member who also has been diagnosed. People whose mother, father, siblings or children have developed melanoma are considered to be in families that are prone to melanoma. In fact, each person with a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with melanoma has a 50 percent greater chance of developing the disease than someone with no such family connection. Melanoma is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. People with a family history of the disease or those who spend substantial time in the sun should be especially vigilant about protecting their skin. l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
Learn about meningitis and how to stay safe
Meningitis and meningococcal disease are serious and potentially deadly diseases that can affect people of various ages, notably children under age five and adults over age 55. However, college-aged men and women are often affected as well. That makes it key for incoming students who will be living in dormitories or residence halls to get the facts to keep themselves safe. Meningococcal disease is any illness caused by a type of bacteria called “Neisseria meningitis,” which causes meningitis and bloodstream infections known as septicemia. Meningitis can be caused by parasites, fungi, amebic sources, viruses, and bacteria, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While each case of meningitis is significant, those caused by bacteria are often the most serious and can be deadly. Such cases of meningitis require immediate medical attention. Bacterial meningitis can result from various bacteria entering the body. These include pneumococcus, meningococcus and listeria. In young children, a bacteria called “Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)” was a common cause until the Hib vaccine became available, states WebMD. The bacteria that cause meningitis can spread when people who are infected cough or sneeze. That’s what makes it especially contagious in places where close contact is common, such as college dorms and even military barracks. Meningitis also causes an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. The Mayo Clinic says, if left untreated, meningitis complications can be
severe and include permanent neurological damage. Some complications can include gait problems, hearing loss, difficulty with memory, brain damage, seizures, and kidney failure. Meningitis often peaks in winter into early spring, right during the time influenza occurs. Many symptoms of both conditions overlap, including fever, neck stiffness, lethargy, nausea, unrelenting headache, and confusion. Because
meningitis may be mistaken for flu, this can delay the onset of treatment. While a regimen of antibiotics can help treat meningitis and meningococcal disease, the best defense is to mount a successful offense through vaccination. The CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American College Health Association recommend meningitis vaccines. Vaccination produces immunity within seven to 10 days and remains
effective for approximately three to five years. Two vaccines protect against four types of meningococcal disease. An additional type of vaccine protects against serotype B, which also causes meningitis. Preteens are often given the vaccinations, with a booster dose at age 16. Meningitis is a serious illness, but one that can be prevented or managed. l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
The warning signs of a heart attack An umbrella term that encompasses various conditions, cardiovascular disease, or CVD, is a formidable foe. According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of 17.7 million people across the globe every year, accounting for 31 percent of all deaths worldwide. If CVD statistics are alarming, then it’s important to note that many premature deaths related to CVD can be prevented. While the WHO notes that four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, men and women who learn to recognize the warning signs of heart attack may be able to get help before things escalate. In fact, the American Heart Association notes that many heart attacks begin slowly with mild pain or discomfort. By paying attention to their bodies and learning to recognize these warning signs, men and women may be able to get help before heart attacks claim their lives. • Chest discomfort: Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back is a telltale sign of heart attack. The discomfort may feel like pressure in the chest, squeezing, fullness, or pain. • Discomfort in the upper body: Discomfort in areas of the upper body that are not the chest also may be a warning sign of heart attack. The AHA notes that such discomfort or pain may occur in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. • Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath may be an early warning sign of heart problems. The AHA notes that this may or may not be accompanied by discomfort in the chest. • Additional signs: The AHA notes that some people suffering from a heart attack may break out in a cold sweat, experience nausea or begin to feel lightheaded. Are symptoms different for men and women? Symptoms of heart attack tend to be different for men and women. While the most common symptom for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort, women are more likely than men to experience additional symptoms. According to the AHA, women are more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and pain in their backs or jaws. The AHA urges fast action by anyone who suspects they or a loved one are suffering a heart attack. Acting quickly can save lives and help men and women avoid joining the nearly 18 million people who succumb to cardiovascular disease each year. l Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection.
Montrose Valley Health July 2018