WHERE ARE THE DOCS?
GOOD FOR YOU
If you are in need of a specialist locally, you may find yourself traveling to Grand Junction. But Montrose Memorial Hospital is looking to change that. Page 6
Blueberries, salmon, whole grains and more are key to keeping your brain running at full capacity. Page 3
VOL. 1, ISSUE 3
FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014
VALLEY HEALTH MONTROSE PRESS
WITH A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE, YOUR LUNGS CAN
EASY HOME INVASION
RADON IS A SILENT KILLER THAT CREEPS INTO YOUR HOME
David S. Lee, M.D.
Interventional Cardiologist Board Certified
Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH
MMH Cardiology Services 17 North Mesa, Montrose, CO 81401 970.252.1020
Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA
friends & family caring for friends and family
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KNOWING THE SKINNY ON SHINGLES COULD SAVE YOU SOME PAIN
VALLEY HEALTH A PUBLICATION OF THE
r. David Lee started damage, you will still be transportseeing patients the first ed to a different hospital for that part of April and Dr. Ri- procedure. ley Foreman will begin Dr. David Lee attended the FeinApril 29. They are both berg School of Medicine at Northinterventional cardiwestern University in ologists who will see Chicago and completed patients at Montrose his internship and Memorial Hospital Carresidency at Stanford diology Clinic as well University Medical as caring for patients in Center in California. the Cardiac CatheterHe then finished a ization Lab at MMH. In five-year fellowship at addition, Dr. Bradley the Cleveland Clinic Huhta will continue in Ohio. He comes to caring for patients unMontrose from Porttil his retirement at the land, Ore., where he end of this year. was on the faculty at Interventional cardithe Oregon Health and Leann Tobin ology is a specialty of Science University. Montrose Memorial cardiology that refers Dr. Riley Foreman Hospital to various non-surgical received his medical procedures for treating school training at the heart disease. PrimarUniversity of Health ily they diagnose and treat narSciences College of Osteopathic rowed arteries and weakened heart Medicine in Kansas City, Mo. valves which are often caused by and completed his internship at coronary artery disease, heart Charles E. Still Memorial Hospital valve disease, or peripheral vasin Jefferson City, Mo. After servcular disease. Probably the proceing in the US Navy, he finished his dure you are most familiar with is Residency at the Naval Hospital in the angioplasty, which is the gold Oakland, Calif. He then completed standard of care for a heart attack. his training with a fellowship It involves the treatment of blood in cardiovascular disease at the clots or blocked arteries and placNaval Medical Center in San Diego ing stents and balloons through and an interventional cardiology a small hole made in the arteries fellowship at the University of from the femoral or radial access California in San Diego. sites. MMH has been working hard Interventional cardiologists have to recruit cardiologists to our additional specialized training to community to help continue and use catheters — thin, flexible tubes expand the excellent care already to get inside blood vessels for diagavailable. Hopefully you won’t nostic tests or to open blocked and need our cardiology services, but narrowed vessels or other heart if you do, you can stay home for structures which often help avoid your heart care. the need for open heart surgery. If Leann Tobin is the marketing and a patient’s individual case requires public relations coordinator for open heart surgery to repair the Montrose Memorial Hospital. l
Publisher Francis Wick General Manager Tisha McCombs Managing Editor Justin Joiner Advertising director Dennis Anderson For advertising information, contact Dennis Anderson at 252-7022 or via email at email@example.com Valley Health is a publication of the Montrose Press. It publishes monthly on the first Friday. If you have a health-related news tip, contact Justin Joiner, managing editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Q: I take Synthroid for my thyroid condition and also Wellbutrin for depression. I am in pretty good health other than my hair still coming out, and I have cold hands and feet, but I feel better overall. What else can I take or do to help myself ? –R.P., Boston, Massachusetts
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A: It sounds like your getting somewhere but not fast enough. The symptoms you describe are commonly associated with low thyroid. I suggest you ask your doctor for added support. By that, I mean a slight dosage increase, or a different medication altogether and/or supplements. Let’s talk about this more. Synthroid contains synthetic thyroxine (T4). It’s pure T4 and it’s a bio-identical match to our own natural thyroid hormone. Some people can easily convert that drug to it’s active form called T3, but not everyone. The problem is that in people with depression, they have a very hard time converting T4 to active T3 which is what your cells are starving for. It sounds like this could be happening to you. It’s what I call being “thyroid sick” as opposed to “hypothyroidism” which is where your gland fails you. There are ways to overcome this. One way is to switch to a “natural dessicated thyroid” (NDT) drug such as Armour Thyroid, NatureThroid or WP Thyroid (very clean ingredients). Since NDT drugs are combinations of T4 and T3, you’ll probably get better results. Another way is to take a T3 drug with your Synthroid each morning (two pills). This offers the active T3 to your body which could ease your depression and other symptoms. T3 drugs are compounded at special pharmacies and you can buy a
ready-made brand called Cytomel at any pharmacy. Yet another way to help improve T4 to T3 conversion is to take natural herbs and vitamins that help your body activate the Synthroid. I’m thinking of a high quality trace mineral formula that contains zinc, magnesium and so forth. Selenium is particularly important because it improves T3 activation while reducing antibodies that would otherwise destroy your thyroid gland. Here are tips for everyone: Thyroid Healthy Tip #1: Wear a “thyroid collar” whenever you get a chest X ray, or any X ray where your thyroid gland is exposed to the radiation. Your thyroid is extremely sensitive to radiation so do whatever you can to protect it. Thyroid Healthy Tip #2: Before you become pregnant, have your thyroid checked properly. Hypothyroidism is a risk factor for infertility, premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage and poor fetal neurological development. Thyroid Healthy Tip #3: I often hear a person describe obvious symptoms of hypothyroidism several weeks or months after surgery. This is termed non-thyroidal illness and it happens after surgery. It’s detrimental to not treat this condition. Your cells could be starving (what I call “thyroid sick”) even though your TSH test is normal so if you feel hypothyroid despite a normal lab test, ask for a trial course of medicine and see how you respond. Suzy Cohen, RPh, has been a pharmacist 23 years, is passionate about natural medicine, and is the author of “Drug Muggers.” This column is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose you. Read more of her columns at www.dearpharmacist. com. l
Understanding, preventing and treating hair loss BY DAVE SEGAL Humans are hairy creatures. Our skin is a garden of hair, which grows everywhere except the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet. Of course, many of our hairs are very fine, and practically invisible. Others have receded into mere memories, and have become literally invisible. So what drives the mysterious coming and going of our hair? Well, hair is composed of a protein called keratin, which comes from hair follicles in our skin. New hair cells form in the follicles, and shove old ones out through the skin at a rate of about six inches per year, according to the website WebMD. Ironically, the hair that you comb, curl, and cut is nothing more than strings of dead keratin cells (a fact that may give you some small comfort if you are losing yours). If you’re an average adult, you probably have between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on your head. It’s normal for up to 100 a day to fall out, so don’t hit the panic button if you find a few on your pillow in the morning. WebMD reports that up to 90 percent of the hair on your scalp is growing
MEDICAL TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF HAIR LOSS, INCLUDING MALE PATTERN BALDNESS. HOWEVER, WEBMD WARNS THAT SOME ADVERTISED CLINICS MAY BE OUT TO SCALP YOU FINANCIALLY BY RECOMMENDING AN EXPENSIVE HAIR ANALYSIS, OR EVEN A BIOPSY. at any given time. Every follicle goes through a life cycle that can be affected by many things, including age, disease, and stress. The older you get, the slower your hair grows. And, you may get alopecia — a fancy word for hair loss. There are several types, and causes, of alopecia. For example: • Involutional alopecia is thinning hair that comes with age • Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that causes pattern baldness in men and women • Alopecia universalis is a rare condition that causes all of your body hair to fall out, even including your eyebrows and eyelashes While there is no way to turn back natural balding, you can protect your hair from things that can cause thin-
ning. For example, dyes, dryers, hot curlers and some cosmetics can leave your hair brittle and thin. Brush it properly, and don’t brush it at all when it’s wet; use a comb instead. Your brush should have moderately stiff, natural bristles. And, make sure your shampoo is right for your type of hair. Medical treatments are available for certain types of hair loss, including male pattern baldness. However, WebMD warns that some advertised clinics may be out to scalp you financially by recommending an expensive hair analysis, or even a biopsy. The website says “You should avoid these clinics and seek the advice of a boardcertified dermatologist who can properly examine you and help you treat your hair loss.”
Eating smarter can help you be smart COMPILED BY ELLEN SUSSMAN Medical science calls them “superfoods” — the chow that will increase the likelihood of maintaining a healthy brain.Here is a crash-course in why these specific have brain-healthy value. • Blueberries: Besides being packed with Vitamin C, E, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium and potassium fresh, frozen or freeze-dried blueberries are also a rich source of proanthocyanidins that have the ability to protect parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins. Research shows eating blueberries regularly reduces inflammation. • Wild salmon: These deep-water ﬁsh are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential component for brain function and also an anti-inflammatory. Other oily fishes with omega-3 benefits are sardines and herring. • Nuts and seeds: Contain high levels of Vitamin E, which is said to correspond to less cognitive decline in aging. An ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, Brazil nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds is suggested. • Whole grains: Oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain breads get a lot of favorable publicity because they promote cardiovascular health and can help reduce the risk for heart disease. • Avocados: Are a close second to blueberries in brain health and are said to contribute to healthy blood flow,
which is essential for a healthy brain. Avocados help lower blood pressure, and lower blood pressure should help promote brain health. • Beans: Provide energy and though all beans are helpful in stabilizing blood sugar levels, lentils and black beans are favored. A half cup of beans a day is the recommended amount. • Fresh-brewed tea: Hot or iced, tea contains a moderate amount of caffeine and can help boost brain power by improving memory, focus and mood. When ordering tea in restaurants ask if tea is fresh-brewed; powdered and bottled teas don’t provide the health benefits of fresh-brewed tea. • Pomegranate juice: May be more convenient than picking at pomegranate seeds but the juice contains added sugar. Either way, it’s a powerful source of anti-oxidants to help protect the brain from damage of free radicals. • Dark chocolate: it’s good and it’s good for you, in moderation however. Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants and natural stimulants that can improve concentration and mood. A suggested amount is one-half to one ounce a day. Source: WebMD
Keeping your lungs healthy requires effort and awareness.
Healthy respiratory system depends on awareness BY DREW SETTERHOLM The respiratory system, and primarily the lungs, are essential to life and to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Keeping the respiratory system in good shape requires effort, like any system of the body, but also awareness — awareness of the environment a person is in, the people they interact with and the quality of the air they breathe. For respiratory therapists at Montrose Memorial Hospital’s Respiratory Care Department, the majority of complications in the respiratory system arise from smoking. “The big one is smoking, trying to get people into smoking cessation and getting them to stop smoking,” Duke Richardson, director of the Respiratory Care Department, said. “It’s like anything else in health. You might feel OK while you’re smoking, you might feel OK five or 10 years down the road while you’re still smoking — it’s one of those things that will creep up on you later in life.” Richardson said the malevolent effects of smoking may come on slowly, but are life changing when they set in. Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are two of the most serious risks smokers face. As a respiratory therapist, Richardson said he and the staff at the Respiratory Care Department are identifiers and educators; they identify the signs of a disease process, and educate patients with hard data on the damage they might be doing to themselves. Some populations of non-smokers are also at a higher risk for respiratory complications. They include miners and workers in the agriculture industry who are regularly exposed to chemicals, herbicides or pesticides. Prolonged and regular inhalations of
chemicals or fine particulate matter can lead to complications including cancers or idiopathic problems, Richardson said. Outside of occupational hazards, other at-risk populations for respiratory concerns include those with compromised immune systems, including cancer patients or people with other conditions resulting in immunodeficiency. Senior populations may also fall into this category, as the immune system declines in vigor. “It doesn’t take much for someone who’s got cancer or who is older to get a really good pneumonia and die from that,” Richardson warned. Being aware of one’s environment is a key step in protecting respiratory health. “It’s just being cognizant of what you’re being exposed to,” Richardson said. Preventative measure for respiratory health include checking homes for carbon monoxide, radon or other risks. Montrose County is in a high radon exposure area, and checking new homes for radon is recommended. Proper air filtration systems can also make a difference in indoor air quality, particularly for those with existing respiratory conditions. “We’ve found out through the last 10-15 years that it’s worth spending $50-80 for a good, cleanable filter,” Richardson said. Exposure to pollutants and fine particle matter should be monitored in outdoor environments. That can include checking carbon monoxide levels, which are typically higher in winter months, and ground-level ozone, which is typically higher in summer months, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Local contributors to air quality, such as open burns, can aggravate existing respiratory health conditions including asthma flare-ups and increased breathing difficulty
for COPD sufferers. “When we get into that burning season ... that can cause a lot of problems in people,” Richardson said. Sound health practices will keep the respiratory system in good health. Exercise and diet are key components, as with other major body systems. “If we keep our heart healthy, then we’re probably keeping our lungs healthy — and that’s just part of that general health,” Richardson said. “Whatever we’re doing for heart health, we’re probably doing the same things for lung health, because those two systems work side by side.” For those already experiencing respiratory complications, Colorado’s high elevation must be taken into account in managing respiratory health. “When we come down with respiratory issues and we’re already living at elevation, that’s kind of counterproductive to our respiratory (system),” Richardson said. High elevation makes absorption of oxygen into the blood stream more difficult; with an added respiratory condition, the effect can be extreme. The Respiratory Care Department at Montrose Memorial Hospital offers a full range of care, from screenings for basic respiratory health check ups to diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions. “There’s prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, and we offer pretty much the full gamut of everything here,” Richardson said. More information on respiratory health, air quality and environmental factors can be found online at www.colorado.gov/airquality or via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov. Contact information for the Montrose Memorial Respiratory Care Department can be found at www.montrosehospital.com. l
Which one? Tips to pick the right vitamins, nutrients
(StatePoint) If you eat a healthful diet, you may think you’re in the clear when it comes to supplying your body with vital nutrients. But some experts say that even the most well-rounded meal plans fall short. “To get the amount of nutrients you need to thrive, you can’t rely on food alone. You really have to turn to dietary supplements,” says Michael A. Smith M.D., host of “Healthy Talk” on RadioMD.com and senior health scientist with Life Extension in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If you’ve ever walked through the supplement section of a natural foods store or done a quick search online, you know it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the choices. Making matters more confusing, everyone has different nutritional needs. “With the exception of a few foundational nutrients, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all supplement regimen,” says Smith, whose new book and educational tool, “The Supplement Pyramid,” seeks to help readers design a nutritional regimen that meets their unique needs. “Like food, it’s helpful to think of your supplement needs in a tiered pyramid structure: the foundational supplements we all need, personalized supplements based on your needs and optimal supplements for living healthier, longer.” Smith is offering guidelines for getting started: • Bootleg products on the market can do more harm than good. Invest in high-quality nutritional supplements. Stick with a company that has an established track record of using only pure, potent raw materials. • There are essential foundational supplements that should build the base of most people’s plans, no matter what their unique needs are, Smith says. These include an ideally dosed multivitamin/mineral, omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10 (as ubiquinol) and probiotics. Check with your doctor before starting a supplement regimen. • Everybody has their own personal medical history and health needs. With do-it-yourself detective work, you can arm yourself with the facts you need to personalize your supplement plan for disease prevention. Beyond taking a personal and family medical inventory, certain laboratory tests can help you discover out what’s going on inside your body. Additionally, “The Supplement Pyramid” contains a series of medical quizzes based on clinical risk assessments in different areas including heart health, cognitive function and immune strength. • After providing your body with core, foundational nutrients for survival and custom-tailored supplements to help prevent disease, consider optimizing your supplemental regimen with “anti-aging supplements” such as antioxidants, proteins and amino acids. These supplements form the top of your pyramid, and if you need to cut back on expenses, should be the first to go. Getting started is simple. And the sooner you do, the faster you can begin properly nourishing and protecting your body from health risks. For free tools to build your personal supplement regimen and for more information about Smith’s new book, visit www.MySupplementPyramid.com or call 1-855-870-0687. Even if you juice every morning and hit the salad bar at lunch every afternoon, don’t be lulled into nutritional complacency. By learning more about your body’s needs, you can live a longer, healthier, happier life. l
Too much stress can lead to extra pounds (StatePoint) Overeating is all too easy. But there’s more at play when it comes to packing on pounds. Another factor you may not even be aware of is stress. Here are some important things to know about your body’s response to stress: Stress Hormones We all have a built-in stress response. It’s a complicated set of physiological reactions that help keep you alive during dangerous situations. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: You experience an acute stressor. Thousands of years ago, this could have been a tiger trying to eat you. Today, it could be the in-laws coming to stay with you. In response, adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol into your bloodstream, initiating an increase in blood sugar used for immediate energy to fight, run or slam on your car brakes. Once the stressor is dealt with, the cortisol leaves your system and things return to their normal metabolic state. But unfortunately today, many of us are constantly stressed, causing significant metabolic imbalances. Chronic Stress From when we wake up to when we go to bed, the average person deals with hundreds of low-grade stressful events, like rush hour traffic, projects with impossible deadlines, troubles with kids, spouses or pets. According to Michael
Staving off stress can help your waistline.
A. Smith, M.D. host of “Healthy Talk” on RadioMD.com and senior health scientist with the
Life Extension Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this state of affairs is chronically elevating cor-
tisol levels, which means blood sugar is constantly being mobilized for energy. “And when you don’t
burn the sugar, it gets stored as body fat,” says Dr. Smith. “This is just one of the metabolic imbalances caused by too much cortisol. There are many other problems caused by chronic stress that can pack on the fat.” For example, too much cortisol, which results in a drop in serotonin, can drive sugar cravings and significantly increase appetite. Solutions New research shows that white kidney beans can suppress appetite. So if you’re craving a snack, have a serving of kidney beans instead of reaching for last night’s pizza or a bag of potato chips. Feeling tense? Try some stress reduction activities, like jogging, meditation or breathing exercises. Also, consider adaptogenic herbs, which have long been used for their mood balancing and stress reducing effects. For example, a number of clinical trials demonstrate that repeated administration of rhodiola extract exerts energizing effects that increase mental focus. For more information about reducing stress and suppressing appetite, visit www.LEF.org/appetite or call the toll-free number 1-855-840-4615. You may not be able to stop your in-laws from visiting, but understanding how stress affects your body can help you prevent weight gain. l
ALL THE DOCS? BY DAVE SEGAL
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FOOD BY DAVE SEGAL
“Eat your vegetables, so you’ll grow up big and strong!” You probably heard that often as a kid, because it’s true. But, it’s also true that there’s a difference between the veggies you buy at the supermarket and those that you grow yourself. Those that come from your backyard garden could be healthier for you, according to experts.
The Harvard School for Public Health recommends people eat about 4.5 cups of fruit and veggies daily.
eresa TomasiMaloney is a registered dietician, who directs the nutrition and diabetes services at Montrose Memorial Hospital. Professionally and personally, she is a big fan of home-grown veggies (especially those that come from her sisterin-law’s garden). “The very first thing is that it tastes better. “It’s going to have more nutrients because you’re picking it when it’s fresh and right off the vine, versus being shipped across the country to a store.” Tomasi-Maloney also pointed out that there is a connection between the origin and quantity of vegetables consumed. “We find that people eat more when it comes out of their garden, so they start to meet their needs for fibers and vegetables per day.” According to research done at the Harvard School for Public Health, we should all eat about 4 ½ cups of fruit and veggies daily. Various government agencies work to ensure that store-bought produce is safe. However, “There are some safety issues; when
it’s harvested and shipped across the country, there’s a lot more handling, and a lot more food safety issues,” according to the dietician. The idea of eating fruit and vegetables treated with pesticides makes some people uncomfortable. TomasiMaloney said that eating home-grown produce gives them a choice. “I can reduce my exposure to pesticides. I don’t know when it comes from Texas what pesticide was used on it, but when I grow it myself I can control that and do it organically, or not—whatever my choice is.” Of course, there are organic pest control methods that don’t require the use of toxic chemicals. Genetically modified organisms, including seeds, are also an issue for some people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require special labeling for foods created using GMOs. However, some consumers are leery of eating genetically engineered veggies, so growing their own provides the option of using unmodified seeds. The dietician said that eating organic, garden-grown food is helpful to people with certain illnesses. “It gets back to eating more
fruits and vegetables if they grow them themselves; if they have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, that’s going to help. “As for food allergies, you certainly control what’s being grown, so you can pick the foods you aren’t allergic to, and you don’t have them brushing up against foods you are allergic to.” There are also some non-nutritional benefits to gardening, according to Tomasi-Maloney. “Obvi-
ously, you’re exercising, and you’re reducing your stress. You get satisfaction that you’ve grown it, and you’re reconnecting to the earth.” Despite the advantages of growing your own produce, there are some potential problems that you also need to consider—especially if you’re a beginner. For example, if you use pesticides or fertilizers improperly, you can accidentally create health and environmental hazards. Then there is the cost of creating your own vegetable garden. Theoretically, growing your own should be cheaper than buying at the store. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. Novices often discover that the initial cost of equipment and supplies can be pretty steep. It may take awhile for your gardening to pay off financially. There is also the ever-present risk of losing your crops to weather, wildlife, plant diseases, and bugs. You might have to invest a significant amount of time and labor, and receive just a modest return at first; gardening does take patience. Then again, patience is also healthy for your body and soul. l
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When you use the Nebulizer Therapy Program, APS professionals will provide these helpful services for you;
• Nebulizer home delivery and one-on-one instruction in your home • Nebulizer delivery device for your respiratory treatments, including stationary or portable compressor models • Medicare and other payors billed direct • Monthly follow-up and monitoring Our expert service representatives and clinical staff are always available when you need them. For more information, please call your local APS center. 296 Stafford Lane • Suite B • Delta, CO 81416 Delta 970-874-4427 • Montrose & Ridgway 970-252-0440
Product and service availability may vary by location. Call your local center to find out which service is available in your area.
“ Each new day gives you an opportunity to create a new way of being.... What would you like to change?” XNLV153357
Radon is an invisible, tasteless and odorless radioactive gas that’s found in each of Colorado’s 64 counties. This kit helps detect its presence.
Radon BY DAVE SEGAL
“Radon” would be a great name for a cartoon villain, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s the real name of a real danger, and is a major cause of lung cancer in the U.S., second only to smoking. It’s believed to be responsible for about 21, 000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Radon is an invisible, tasteless and odorless radioactive gas that’s found in each of Colorado’s 64 counties. The gas is produced by the natural decay of uranium and radium, elements that are especially common on the Western Slope. It’s not too dangerous out in the open air because it dissipates in the atmosphere.
INVADING HOMES IN COLORADO EVERY DAY
Radon that seeps into homes and other buildings is another matter. It can build up over time and seriously increase your risk of becoming a lung cancer victim, says the American Lung Association. The indoor radon levels measured in Montrose County by the EPA are definitely on the high side, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Radon is measured in units called “picocuries per liter”, or “pCi/L” for short. You can have your home tested, and if the measurement is 4 pCi/L or lower, you’re okay. In Montrose County, the average indoor reading is 8.4 pCi/L, according to the CDPHE—definitely not okay. To discover your home’s indoor radon
level, you must have some testing done. In fact, the ALA, the EPA, and the Surgeon General recommend that every home be tested. “Testing for radon is simple and relatively inexpensive,” according to the ALA. If your home gets a high score, there are ways to mitigate your indoor radon and bring the numbers down. You can hire a professional radon mitigation company, or go the do-it-yourself route with a commercially available kit. For more information, please contact State Radon Officer Chrystine Kelley at 800-846-3986, 303-692-3442 or by writing to Colorado Department of Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver CO, 80246. l
Exploring the surprising health benefits of reading It can be hard for some people to pick up a book when there are so many distractions at the ready. But while books might not be as flashy as the latest must-have gadget, they can provide benefits that might surprise even the most avid readers. In addition to the intellectual benefits of reading, indulging in a good book can also boost physical health. According to Ken Pugh, PhD, president and director of research at Haskins Laboratories, which is devoted to the science of language, when a person is reading “parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging.” Just like muscles in the body, the brain benefits when it is pushed beyond its normal abilities, and reading is a great way to push those limits. But the benefits of reading do not stop there. Reading can help reduce stress, benefitting the body in numerous ways. A 2009 University of Sussex study found that turning to a good book can be an effective relaxation strategy when things become too stressful. Reading fiction can stimulate the imagination and distract a person from the stressors in everyday life. Choosing a humorous or uplifting story can boost mood and help people relax, particularly when reading before bedtime. Reading also can help men and women get a better night’s rest. People who are accustomed to reading books before going to bed actually train their mind
A 2009 University of Sussex study found that turning to a good book can be an effective relaxation strategy when things become too stressful.
and body for relaxation. Picking up a book can send signals that it is time to settle down and get ready for sleep. Health experts often recommend developing a sleep routine to people who struggle to fall asleep at night, and reading for 30 minutes before bed each night can be an integral part of such routines. Research has shown that reading and engaging the
brain in other ways, such as through intellectual games and puzzles, can stave off dementia. These activities stimulate the cells in the brain to grow and connect, increasing the power of brain tissue. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, keeping the mind active through reading can strengthen connections between brain cells and build up brain cell
reserves. Mental activity might even generate new brain cells. All of these factors can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to a paper from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, reading can stimulate the brain to produce more white matter. White matter works together with gray matter and is responsible for sending sen-
sory and motor stimuli to the central nervous system to stimulate a response. Healthy white matter keeps the central nervous system working effectively and may reduce risk of learning disabilities as well as impaired motor functions. The educational benefits of reading are widely known. But reading also provides a host of other benefits. l
TOP BOOKS FOR HEALTHY LIVING
“Why We Get Fat,”
“Forks Over Knives”
by Gary Tabues
Starting from where his last book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” left off, Taubes presents new evidence as he revisits the question of what makes people fat and more importantly, how we can reverse the trend. The book looks at issues of genetics, exercise, insulin and what food to eat and avoid. The book includes a variety of information including an easy-tofollow diet.
by T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Gene Stone This book accompanies the movie by the same name. It explores what one change people can make to their diets that will lead to a healthier lifestyle and body. The book says the answer after much debate and research is switching to a plantbased diet with whole foods. The book claims cancer and other diseases decline when people make the switch.
“The Pray Fit Diet,” by Jimmy Pena
by Scott H. Sicherer
“ Volumetrics Eating Plan”
The author is a fitness expert who has put together a full fitness program. “The Pray Fit Diet,” includes shopping lists, daily menus and easy recipes with the goal to help you lose up to 20 pounds in 33 days. One tenant of the book is how faith is the most powerful tool people have to overcome life’s challenges, including ones with our health.
This book explores all of the questions a person with food allergies may ask and much more. The book aims to provide practical and scientific guidance on the topics that those who suffer from food allergies will need. The book not only explains how to deal with a food allergy, but also how to prevent exposure to known allergens at home.
The author, a doctor, encourages readers in this book to quit dieting and to feel full on fewer calories. The Volumetrics plan doesn’t remove food groups or weigh you down with rules. It helps you choose the foods that will help you feel full the longest. The book says readers don’t have to worry about monotonous meals or forbidden foods.
by Barbara Rolls
Getting the skinny on shingles BY ELLEN SUSSMAN Anyone who has gone through the rash, nerve pain and misery of shingles may shudder at the memory of the intense stinging and aching of this virus. The shingles virus affects the nerves; the rash is due to an inflammation of nerves beneath the skin. About 90 percent of Americans who have had chicken pox are said to be at risk for shingles because, for unknown reasons, the varicellazoster virus may reactivate in the body as one ages and immunity decreases. There is a one-in-three chance of developing shingles, also known as “herpes zoster.” It affects about 1 million American adults annually. The risk of shingles increases for anyone whose immune system is compromised and for anyone undergoing an extended period of stress. KNOW THE SYMPTOMS Early treatment of an outbreak with prescription antiviral medica-
tion — within 72 hours — of onset of symptoms is essential in treating shingles. Antiviral medications started at the onset of symptoms may prevent or reduce severity of pain, help blisters to heal faster and help avoid permanent scars and nerve damage of post-herpetic neuralgia. Know these important initial symptoms: • Mild or severe tingling pain, burning and/or itching on the back, chest, rib cage, waist, face, arm or leg and often accompanied by redness. • Fever, headache and fatigue may or may not be present. It’s important to begin antiviral treatment before shingles progresses. As it runs its course, rash blisters break open, scab, begin to heal and disappear. Pain and itching ease and usually disappear within a month to six weeks, although it may last for months or years with post-herpetic neuralgia. Post-herpetic neuralgia occurs when nerve fibers are damaged during a shingles outbreak.
s n o s s e L Swim New Dates
The City of Delta’s Recreation Dept. is offering Summ er Swim Lessons at Bill Heddles Recreation Cente with a variety of summer sessions with several differe r nt dates and times. All classes are taught by American Red Instructors. The cost is $45 per child, due at registr ation. For more information call Lori at 970-874-09 Cross Certified 23 or stop by the Recreation Center to register.
Session 1: June 2 – 13
Registration until – May 23 Class Times 8:30am – 9:10am 9:25am – 10:05am 10:20am - 11:00am
Levels Offered Levels Parent Tot – Level 2 Levels Parent Tot – Level 3 Levels Parent Tot – Level 3
Session 2: June 16 – 27
Registration until – June 16 Class Times 8:30am – 9:10am 9:25am – 10:05am 10:20am - 11:00am
Levels Offered Levels Parent Tot – Level 2 Levels Parent Tot – Level 3 Levels Parent Tot – Level 3
538 Gunnison River Dr. Delta 970-874-0923 Turn Left at Wendy’s and Follow the signs to the Recreation Center. XNLV121764
THE VACCINE The Food and Drug Administration approved a shingles vaccine — Zostavax—for people in their 50s, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine only for anyone 60 and older. If you’ve had shingles, you can get it again, although the second time usually is milder. That’s why it’s wise to get the vaccine. Check with your doctor and health insurer to see if the shingles vaccine
is recommended and covered. If it isn’t, the out-of-pocket cost is about $200. The vaccine will reduce the risk of shingles by about half and minimize symptoms. The vaccine is not recommended for anyone with a life-threatening allergy to gelatin or neomycin, is severely allergic or who has a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy or radiation, or anyone with leukemia or lymphoma. Information from: webmd.com, mayoclinic.org, zostavax.com and FamilyCircle, January 2014. l
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Going for a bike ride as a family develops balance and burns calories. Even small children can be strapped onto the back of a bike to go along for the ride.
Fun ways to be a fit family Obesity is a global epidemic affecting people of all ages. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of Americans are considered obese, while Statistics Canada notes about 25 percent of Canadians are obese. Being overweight or obese has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, and children who are overweight are likely to be overweight or obese adults. While eating a diet that is low in fat and high in whole-grain fiber, vegetables and lean proteins is important, exercise remains one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy weight. However, many adults and children simply do not get enough exercise during the day. An active lifestyle is often hampered by the prevalence of digital devices or sedentary jobs that encourage more screen time than fitness time. But there are ways for the entire family to get fit. Exercising together is not just a great way for families to get healthy, but also a great opportunity to spend time together. The following are a handful of ways families can work together to incorporate more exercise into their daily lives. • Tackle chores. Yes, tasks around the
Taking a dip can be a good way to stay fit as a family.
house can count as exercise. Working together not only gets you moving but also cuts down on the time it takes to tackle tasks around the house. Mowing the lawn, vacuuming the rugs, sweeping the floor -- all of these activities can get the heart pumping. Make it fun by setting chores to music or competing against one another to see who gets their task done first or the best. • Compete in the pool. Swimming is a lowimpact activity that works many muscles
in the body. Taking a dip in the pool can be both relaxing and beneficial to your health. Compete with family members to make the most of the time spent in the water. Host relay swimming races, see how long each member of the family can tread water or create any other competitions that keep everyone in the pool moving. • Create an outdoor obstacle course. Set up a series of obstacles in your yard and host your own triathlon. You can jump through tires, climb through tubes and scale trees. Make it fun by having adults try to ride tricycles or pair up an adult with a child for sack races. The opportunities for fun are only hampered by your imagination. • Go for family bicycle rides. Traverse your neighborhood or blaze new trails by riding bikes together. Young children can be strapped into trailers that are pulled behind the bike or ride in seats attached to the bike itself. This gives everyone a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and hone their cycling skills. • Go hiking. Hiking is another fun family activity that also happens to make for great exercise. Choose a trail that may not be level and push everyone’s endurance to the test. l
Healthy employees translate into a healthy business Healthy employees lead to a healthy business, says Abbie Brewer of LiveWell MontroseOlathe. From 9-11 a.m. May 21 at the Enterprise Center, Region 10 teams up with LiveWell of Montrose-Olathe, Healthlinks, Pinnacol Assurance and the Region 10 Small Business Development Center to host a presentation on the importance of employee health in the workplace, and how it can impact the health of a business or organization. Featured speakers will be Strategies Manager Abbie Brewer of LiveWell Montrose-Olathe, and counselor Susan Bony of the Region 10 SBDC. “Everything begins with good health,” Brewer said. “Please plan to attend, and learn how keeping your workers healthy can build wellbeing and a brighter future for your company.” Topics will include: • How Employee health and risk factors impacts workers’ compensation claims. • How workers’ compensation fits into Em-
ployee Health promotion. • How to foster health promotion at your Work site. • How to receive kick starter funding to promote health and wellness at your Work site. Organizations that foster health and safety at work have healthier, happier employees —and healthier bottom lines, too, a news release from LiveWell says. Brewer will share more information about the Health Links program and identify what resources might help your employees stay healthy. American employers contend with a perfect storm of conditions that can collectively wreak economic havoc on businesses large and small. An aging workforce, escalating obesity rates and corresponding chronic conditions are driving up health insurance and workers’ compensation costs, while driving down productivity. Learn more about how workers’ compensation fits into the overall spectrum of health promotion, how health and risk factors of employees can impact workers’ compensation claims, and
the preliminary study results of Pinnacol’s worksite wellness program. Region 10 SBDC Consultant Susan Bony will also present. “I plan on giving an overview of the C4HCO program for small businesses, and discussing why health insurance through C4HCO is affordable and an employee benefit every business should consider including in their budget,” Bony said. A non-profit organization, the Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning was formed in 1972 and serves six-counties (Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Ouray, Hinsdale and San Miguel), operates an Enterprise center (300 North Cascade) administers the Enterprise Zone tax credit and marketing grant programs, oversees the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Community Living Services, coordinates regional transportation planning, and offers a loan program for small business. To learn more about Region 10, call 970-2492436 or visit the web site at www.region10.net. l
Published on May 12, 2014