Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On the Move With a New Breast Cancer Resource

(ARA) – When a woman is first diagnosed with breast cancer, all kinds of questions go through her mind, and not all of them are about the cancer itself. “Will I be able to remain active? What kind of impact will treatment have on my lifestyle? Can I still be intimate with my significant other?”

When California resident Mary Jean Lynberg was first diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer back in 2004, she felt numb and physically ill. “My doctor had informed me that the type of tumor I had was fast growing and as a result, she would be very aggressive with my treatment. She told me that meant several rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and maybe even surgery. I was very aware that life as I knew it was going to go through some drastic changes,” Lynberg says.

According to the American Cancer Society, 40,000 women (25 to 30 percent of women with breast cancer) are diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer every year. HER2 is part of a family of genes that play roles in controlling cell growth. In some breast cancers, for reasons no one understands, cancer cells have too much HER2.

Shortly after Lynberg was diagnosed, one of the first things she did was seek information and comfort online. “While I found several support groups that helped me get informed about my special form of breast cancer, I couldn’t find a site that spoke to the rest of my life – those topics that could benefit me on the road back to wellness,” she says. “I wanted to learn more about how to live the type of lifestyle I had before battling the disease. Would I still be able to enjoy my passions, like golf and travel?” Thankfully, Lynberg was able to continue pursuing those passions in one form or another, partly because her treatment included an oral therapy that she could take wherever and whenever she needed it.

Today, Lynberg’s breast cancer is in remission, but she remembers the struggles she faced at the time to figure it all out. However, she is happy to learn that the women who follow in her footsteps will not experience that same struggle. Launched this September, a new online resource is helping women and their loved ones continue to live a healthy, active, on-the-move lifestyle despite their cancer diagnosis.

HER Move (www.hermove.com) is the first ever Web-based, lifestyle program specifically for women in all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer, including the newly diagnosed, those living with advanced or metastatic disease and the long-term survivors. In addition to a unique offering of health and wellness information, there are resources that inspire women with HER2-positive breast cancer to live life to the fullest as best they can by staying on-the-move and living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Marybeth Bond, a travel expert and author of 11 travel books for women, is among the experts who have material posted on the site. “Travel has an uncanny way of taking us back to the simplicity that makes life precious again. A close friend recently told me that her first trip after diagnosis marked the beginning of hope – hope that she could live the life she had pre-cancer.”

But the key, points out Bond, is to recognize that “travel” has many definitions. “An afternoon visit to a botanical garden, a day cruise on a lake, or a walk in the woods with a loved-one can turn your attitude upside-down, change negatives into positives and pain into purpose.”

Those who have questions about intimacy, sexual connection and romance – generally not topics that are easy to discuss with your doctor, let alone their partner – can find answers courtesy of Ruth Peltason, author of the book, “I AM NOT MY BREAST CANCER.” A breast cancer survivor herself, she interviewed hundreds of women from all walks of life to get their take on the topic and shares what she learned on the site.

There’s also a section dedicated to caregivers headed up by HER2 Support Group’s (www.her2support.org) Joe Druther, whose wife, Christine, is a breast cancer survivor. “While being a caregiver can be stressful, there are many support groups made up of people like me who were unexpectedly given the role of caregiver. It can take some time to get adjusted to this new role, but know it is a crucial one – one that may be challenging at times, yet rewarding because you are, after all, helping someone you love.”

In addition to sharing resources, the site also creates a community where women can share their personal stories, anecdotes, recipes and photographs among new friends, and learn from the experiences of others. HER Move was funded and developed by GlaxoSmithKline Oncology.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Millions Affected by Infertility: How Atlantans Have Overcome the Issues

PRNewswire/ -- National Infertility Awareness Week(R), Oct. 19-25, is a movement to raise awareness about the condition which affects 7.3 million Americans. Metro Atlantans grappling with infertility can consider options available to them that others here have had success.

Infertility, which touches both men and women, is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying with unprotected intercourse for couples in which the female is younger than age 35 and six months of trying for couples in which the female is older than 35.

"The good news is that nearly 90 percent of infertility cases are overcome through today's advanced techniques," said Michael Tucker, scientific director at Georgia Reproductive Specialists (GRS), Atlanta. Recognized as one of the world's top 10 scientists in early human reproduction, Tucker is responsible for pioneering the world's first birth from frozen donor eggs. This breakthrough freezing is offered at GRS.

There are many faces of infertility. Take for example, Shane McCord, a recent patient of GRS. At age 3, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease frequently leaving the patient infertile. After tests revealed McCord lacked a vas deferens, he and his wife were able to conceive using in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Another patient, Susan Stegall, and her partner wanted to raise a family. Stegall received through IVF her partner's egg, which had been inseminated by a sperm donor. Together, they had a son. Five years later, the same process involved Stegall's egg and the same sperm donor and resulted in a baby girl.

Aware that age is a factor in influencing fertility, patient Kurena Hill came to GRS after she and her husband were unable to conceive. After several unsuccessful attempts at intrauterine insemination, also called artificial insemination, and a miscarriage, the doctor of then 35-year-old Hill extracted nearly a dozen eggs from her, froze them and then transferred thawed, fertilized eggs to Hill. As a result, at age 36, she gave birth to a daughter.

While IVF is far from the only solution to infertility, a recent survey by GRS of couples facing infertility issues indicates it was the most widely known treatment among respondents. Virtually all -- 97 percent -- of the women and men surveyed said that prior to receiving infertility counseling they were familiar with IVF. Conversely, only 37 percent were aware of intracytoplasmic sperm injection, which involves the direct injection of sperm into eggs obtained through IVF. Some 57 percent were aware of the process of freezing eggs for later use.

Age is a factor with infertility for both women and men. Almost half -- 45 percent -- of the survey respondents were 35, the age at which fertility starts declining significantly, or older. These respondents reported they had been trying to conceive an average of 23 months.

"Our message to couples facing infertility is that most infertility issues can be overcome with the proper diagnosis and treatment," said Dr. Mark Perloe, GRS medical director. "A structure as we have provides the patient with the utmost in testing, counseling and treatment options. Our renowned physicians are here to help fulfill our patients desire to start or expand a family."

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Piedmont Hospital Earns Gold and Bronze

Piedmont Hospital’s Heart Failure Resource Center and its stroke program have been recognized for performance excellence by the American Heart Association (AHA). The Heart Failure Resource Center received the 2008 Gold Performance Achievement Award and the stroke program received the 2008 Bronze Performance Achievement Award, announced recently in the “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report.

Piedmont Hospital is one of two hospitals in Georgia to get the Gold and one of 13 Georgia hospitals to earn the Bronze. Selected hospitals across the country were recognized for their commitment to quality care for heart disease and stroke patients by earning a Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Achievement Award. GWTG is an evidence-based program for in-hospital quality improvement, developed by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. GWTG helps hospitals improve the quality of care they provide to patients with heart disease, heart failure and stroke by aligning treatment with the most current scientific guidelines—turning guidelines into lifelines.

“We are pleased Piedmont Hospital was recognized by AHA for our treatment and care of stroke and heart failure patients,” said Robert Maynard, president and CEO of Piedmont Hospital. “This national recognition shows our efforts to provide the best quality patient care.”

Piedmont Hospital demonstrated at least 85 percent compliance in each of the five core GWTG heart failure measures and in each of the seven core GWTG stroke measures. The gold award recognizes two years or more of sustained performance achievement and the bronze award recognizes initial performance achievement for 90 consecutive days.

Get With The Guidelines has been turning guidelines into lifelines since 2000, with more than 1,330 U.S. hospitals implementing the program. Hospitals, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers who use GWTG are armed with the latest evidence-based guidelines and immediate access to clinical decision support. Clinicians and patients alike are assured that treatment is aligned with best-practice medicine and is therefore likely to produce improved patient outcomes.

For more information on Get With The Guidelines, search www.americanheart.org.
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Stay Active—Keep Your Legs Healthy

(NAPSI)-Though, like many Americans, you may never have heard of a condition called claudication, you can still feel its effect. Claudication is discomfort, pain or a tired feeling in your legs that happens when you walk or exercise and goes away when you rest.

Your arteries carry blood rich in oxygen and nutrients from your heart to your legs. When arteries become narrow or blocked, leg muscles may not receive enough blood and oxygen to support physical activity. This condition is called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.

Lifestyle changes that can help manage leg artery disease include exercising, managing diabetes, lowering high cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, a diet low in saturated fats and calories, maintaining ideal body weight and not smoking.

If you're diagnosed with claudication, or PAD, you should see a vascular surgeon who can treat you with medication and other noninvasive procedures.

To learn more about claudication and locate a vascular surgeon, visit the Society of Vascular Surgery's Web Site at www.VascularWeb.org.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diabetes And Your Eyesight

(NAPSI)-One in four Americans is living with prediabetes or diabetes. Unfortunately, many are unaware that they are living with a disease that can rob them of their quality of life. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults, causing up to 24,000 people to lose their sight each year.

A Unique Look Into Your Health

Visiting an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam each year is essential for monitoring the health of your eyes, as well as your overall health. Your eyes are the only part of your body that provides a window into your health without surgery or other invasive procedures.

Optometrists can look at the blood vessels in the eyes to discover early signs of diabetes and many other serious health risks such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Diabetes And Vision

It's especially important to have an eye doctor watch for signs of diabetic retinopathy. If left undetected, diabetic retinopathy may lead to blurred vision and damage the retina, which cannot be repaired.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of diabetes-related blindness could be prevented with a regular eye exam. It is critical that those living with diabetes and prediabetes are proactive and visit their optometrist to monitor, detect and prevent vision loss.

More Than Meets The Eye

As costs to treat diseases continue to rise, an annual eye exam is a great preventive way to identify diseases and conditions earlier, keep treatment costs down and, more important, address health risks before they have an irreversible effect on a person's life.

To find an eye doctor near you or information on the importance of eye health, visit www.vsp.com/ada.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Face Of Colon Cancer Awareness

24-7 -- Colon cancer is a new site that was created by people dedicate their time and energy to helping and supporting those who have been diagnosed with colon cancer. Visitors will learn what the disease is, what symptoms to look for, how to test for it, and how to prevent it. They know how hard it is to live with this disease and they do their part to help people learn all of the facts concerning it.

It saddens us when we learn that a close friend or even a complete stranger has been diagnosed with a type of cancer. We know that there are very little treatment options available and we know there is only a small percentage that they will be able to live healthy and long lives. Research shows that colon cancer has become the most deadliest cancer disease and more then 100,000 Americans are being diagnosed with it almost every year!

What we don't know is that there are proactive ways that we can prevent it from affecting us. The people at Colon Cancer Information have provided helpful information that we can use to help those who have been diagnosed. They have information that explains in detail what the cancer is and what it can do to a person. Learn the different treatment options that are available (both natural and medical) and the different steps that must be taken when fighting back against the disease.

We need to know the different ways that we can protect our bodies. We need to be eating the healthy foods and exercising on a daily basis. It is time to get up off our couch and out of the drive-thru. The new site shows us that as individuals we need to understand that we are not getting any younger and our bodies will not be able to get healthy on their own.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Hearing Loss: Now the Third Most Common Health Problem in the United States

BUSINESS WIRE --Hearing loss currently affects more than 36 million Americans. Although hearing problems are commonly associated with the normal aging process, more than half of all hearing-impaired persons are younger than 65. With the increased use of personal music players (MP3 players) and earbuds, the number of Americans experiencing hearing loss at a younger age is growing.

In response to the growing number of Americans experiencing hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology has launched the annual National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month, starting October 2008.

“This initiative will expand the Academy’s efforts to educate the public about audiology, hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, and the importance of hearing screenings,” explains M. Patrick Feeney, PhD, president, American Academy of Audiology, and associate professor and chief of audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, at the University of Washington. “Most Americans consider hearing loss a condition that is associated with aging; they don’t know how to recognize the condition; and they don’t know who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition.”

An audiologist is a highly educated, clinically trained licensed health-care professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders. Audiologists treat patients of all ages—newborns, infants, babies, toddlers, children, teens, adults, and the elderly. The first step in treatment of a hearing issue is a hearing evaluation by an audiologist.

“Hearing loss can be caused by a number of things such as noise exposure, ear infections, trauma, certain medications, as well as, hearing loss related to the aging process,” explains Patricia Gaffney, AuD, assistant professor, Nova Southeastern University.

You may have a problem with your hearing and need to see an audiologist if you have trouble hearing conversation in a noisy environment such as a restaurant, are unable to understand people talking to you without looking at them, or have a constant ringing in your ears.

Audiologists have a variety of specialties that include, but are not limited to:

-- Prescribing and fitting hearing aids
-- Assisting with cochlear implant programs
-- Designing and implementing hearing conservation programs and newborn hearing screening programs
-- Providing hearing rehabilitation training such as:
Auditory training
Speech reading
Listening skills improvement
-- Providing rehabilitation for tinnitus or ear noises and some positional dizziness problems

Although most hearing loss that is caused by nerve damage is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment to improve and enhance communication, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and/or hearing rehabilitation.

For more information about hearing loss and to find an audiologist in your area, visit www.audiology.org and click on “Find an Audiologist.”

For more information on noise-induced hearing loss, visit www.TurnIttotheLeft.com, the Academy’s public awareness campaign about the dangers of exposure to high-level sound.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Hope for Patients With Advanced Liver Disease

PRNewswire/ -- While there are many causes of advanced liver disease, fatty liver, or NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), has become the second leading cause of liver transplant in the United States. Obesity, along with elevated cholesterol and diabetes, has long been known to cause increased fat stores, which may be injurious to the liver.

Such was the case in Sonny B., a patient at Atlanta Health Institute. Sonny had a long history of obesity and had tried many weight loss programs over the years. During his youth, weight was simply a nuisance that didn't prevent any activities. As time passed, Sonny developed diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol and sleep apnea. He was noted to have elevated liver enzymes, and fatty liver, or NASH, was suspected.

Physicians often suspect this condition in patients with abnormal liver tests on their blood work or with an ultrasound of the liver showing increased fat. A confirmation of the diagnosis often requires a liver biopsy and a study of the liver tissue under the microscope. Unfortunately, NASH can induce inflammation and scarring in the liver, resulting in cirrhosis and organ failure.

Sonny's diagnosis of cirrhosis and the development of some very dangerous complications came despite his best efforts to lose weight. He began having episodes of confusion (encephalopathy), life-threatening intestinal bleeding (esophageal varices), and abdominal and leg swelling (ascites/peripheral edema). Sonny's liver appeared to be severely compromised, and a liver transplantation was recommended at a well-known university liver transplant center. To his dismay, Sonny did not qualify for transplant due to his excessive weight-502 pounds. He needed to lose 150 pounds before he could be considered-a near impossible feat considering his severe medical problems and deconditioning.

"The management of fatty liver and NASH has consisted of better diabetes and cholesterol control and weight reduction in the obese," said Dr. William Lyday, GI/Liver subspecialist and co-founder of the Atlanta Health Institute. "Sadly, many patients with this condition are unable to lose sufficient weight and may be too unhealthy for liver transplant. Many patients with NASH succumb to their disease, developing end-stage liver disease, and for various reasons cannot qualify for liver transplant."

In a desperate attempt to save Sonny's life, his wife Marilyn encouraged him to enroll in a new weight management program in Atlanta. Dr. Lyday and Hitesh Chokshi, both GI/Liver subspecialists at the Atlanta Health Institute, were using the OPTIFAST(R) nutritional products in their weight management programs. Upon their direction, Sonny began an intensive program of calorie restriction, weekly meetings with a doctor and dietitian, and a weekly class with other OPTIFAST patients.

In the past, patients like Sonny B were often considered hopeless cases and too high risk to undergo weight loss therapies. However, the combination of GI/Liver specialists using OPTIFAST nutritional products resulted in almost immediate benefits. Within two weeks, Sonny was off all his diabetes medications, and over the following weeks he stopped all of his blood pressure medications. His swelling decreased, his mental function improved and his activity level skyrocketed. After losing close to 100 pounds in just two months, Sonny is a new man, with very few obvious symptoms to suggest liver disease. His liver function may very well continue to improve, making liver transplant unnecessary. Time will tell, but Sonny is happy with his newfound health that he didn't believe was possible just two months ago.

Sonny will continue in the OPTIFAST weight management program at the Atlanta Health Institute as the doctors transition him back to eating regular foods. Upon reaching his weight loss goals, he will remain in Atlanta Health Institute's lifelong maintenance program which also utilizes OPTIFAST products and prevents recurrence of obesity.

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Big Waistline in Women Could Lead to Heart Trouble

A heart expert at Johns Hopkins is calling for all women with a waistline measuring more than 35 inches to get an annual check-up and detailed risk assessment for heart problems because excess abdominal fat, even in the mildly obese and overweight, leads more than a third of women to underestimate their lifetime risk of having a heart attack, stroke or chest pain (angina.)

Cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., who plans to make her pitch Sept. 23 directly to colleagues during a special lecture at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, says the recommendation is based on a national, multicity screening of 8,936 women, ages 35 to 63, for heart disease risk factors. The screening, she says, found a strikingly high number of overweight American women whose stretched girth was tied to a serious underestimation of risk using traditional tools to assess heart health.

In a report published in the August issue of the Journal of Women’s Health, the research team showed that 39 percent of women screened were overweight (having a body mass index between 25 and 30) and 35 percent were obese (having a body mass index over 30, often overweight by more than 30 pounds.) And when waistlines 35 inches and larger were factored into the risk assessment, 55 percent of these women were found to have hearts at increased risk of disease.

“It is time for physicians and patients to pull out their measuring tapes and for overweight women in particular to start shedding some pounds,” says Michos, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute.

She points out that traditional risk-factor scoring leaves out waist size, taking into account only such other factors as age, blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes. These measures have long been used as part of the Framingham Risk Assessment, which only assesses people’s 10-year risk of heart disease.

But the team’s latest assessments – drawn from a 2006 annual public screening in 14 communities across the United States, in which women were asked to undergo a short physical check-up and fill out a health questionnaire – changed significantly when expanded waistlines were factored into their calculations.

More than half (59 percent) of the 85 percent of women originally thought to be at low risk of heart trouble were now found to have one or two additional risk factors. And 19 percent of those at low risk and nearly half (41 percent) of the women originally ranked at intermediate risk actually had three or more risk factors.

“These women have a high lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease even though their 10-year risk may be predicted as low,” says Michos, who points out that the presence of a single, major risk factor for heart disease by the age of 50 cuts back on women’s median lifespan compared to women with no risk factors.

“Our results really emphasize the growing epidemic of obesity in America and showcase its potential for misreading or masking future harm to women’s heart health,” she says. “Even if they are not experiencing immediate problems, they could soon be in trouble. Overweight people are more likely to develop risk factors that lead to cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances and excess blood lipid levels. And the reverse is also true: Losing weight, especially abdominal fat, is the first step in lowering blood pressure and getting blood cholesterol levels under control.”

Michos notes that other research has shown a loss of just five pounds lowers people’s risk of pre-diabetes by 31 percent. Losing 10 pounds lowers blood pressure by 5 millimeters of mercury.

Michos says she has started her campaign with local physicians because it will take a few years to amass the necessary additional evidence to change national clinical guidelines. Results from the 2007 screenings, coordinated by the Maryland-based Sister to Sister, Everyone Has a Heart Foundation, will not be ready until later this year.

“Physicians and others have unfortunately become too accustomed to seeing heavy- set people, and there is a risk that we overlook or dismiss being overweight and obesity as a potential and future source of heart problems,” says Michos. “Even if the problems are not evident now, it is more important to start screening women at a younger age to forego heart problems later in life.

“Community screening events have confirmed that many women are unaware of their risk factors and the screenings have proven effective at identifying those women at risk and, hopefully, we will be able to expand these programs in the future,” she adds, noting that 48 percent of women with high cholesterol levels were newly diagnosed with the condition, as were 7 percent of women with hypertension. “Awareness is the first step to implementing heart-healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their risk,” says Michos. The next Sister to Sister community screening event will take place in February 2009.

Furthermore, Michos says annual survey results, though specific to women, also bear significance for men, for whom a waistline greater than 40 inches is considered obese.
Researchers say their next steps are to monitor screened women to see how well follow-up treatments worked at not only lowering risk, but also in lowering actual heart problems and whether or not this stretches out lifespan.

Of 150 women who were screened as high risk in 2006, 71 percent followed up with a visit to their physician, 64 percent changed diet, 47 percent lost weight, 61 percent monitored their blood pressure levels, 6 percent stopped smoking, and 23 percent checked their waistline against the 35-inch benchmark.

According to the latest statistics from the American Heart Association, one in three American women has some form of cardiovascular disease. Sixty-nine million women are overweight, including more than 36 million who are obese.

Funding for this study was provided by the Sister to Sister, Everyone Has a Heart Foundation. Besides Michos, other researchers from the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Center involved in this study and the Sister to Sister annual screenings were Brian Kral, M.D., M.P.H.; Catherine Campbell, M.D.; M. Dominique Ashen, Ph.D., C.R.N.P.; and Roger Blumenthal, M.D. Other researchers included Irene Pollin, Ph.D., M.S.W., and Laurene McKillop, Ph.D., from Sister to Sister; Teresa Shattuck, Ph.D., Michele Debarthe Sadler, Ph.D., and Karen Boyle, Ph.D., from Shattuck & Assoc.; Khurram Nasir, M.D., M.P.H., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; Rita Redberg, M.D., from the University of California San Francisco; and Karlynn Brintzenhofeszoc, Ph.D., M.S.W., from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A New Look At Diabetes And Vision

(NAPSI)-People with diabetes know well that healthy diet, exercise and regular glucose monitoring are essential for reducing the risk of serious, even life-threatening complications. But for people with diabetes and vision loss--a common side effect of advanced diabetes--there's yet another level of complication and risk added to a patient's treatment regimen. If you are one of the 3 million Americans now living with both conditions, there is a new guide from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to help you manage your health safely and effectively.

The guide, available at www.afb.org/seniorsite, addresses the health issues facing people with diabetes and vision loss, such as diet, exercise and monitoring blood glucose levels. The good news is that with the help of specially trained health professionals, you can learn the skills to independently manage your diabetes. Some of these tips include:

Eat smart. Healthy eating is where all diabetes care begins. Controlling carbohydrates and fats, using whole grains and eating plenty of fresh vegetables are familiar guidelines to most people living with diabetes. If you also have vision loss, you can learn adaptive techniques for grocery shopping and preparing meals, and giving special attention to measuring portion sizes accurately.

Stay active. Regular physical activity is essential to diabetes management. It helps keep heart and blood vessels healthy, can help prevent diabetes-related complications and can help to keep blood glucose levels near normal. Many physical activities can be adapted and enjoyed by people with vision loss, including walking, dancing, gardening, swimming and tandem biking. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Monitor your health. When managing diabetes, your good health depends on your ability to both monitor and understand your blood sugar, as well as your blood pressure, weight and body temperature. If you have vision loss, consider investing in large-print or talking blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, thermometers and weight scales.

Manage your medication. Medication management is one of the earliest obstacles that people with vision loss must confront in order to continue living independently. Most people are able to address these issues by adopting a few new skills that apply to everything from taking aspirin for a headache to measuring insulin.

To learn more about successfully managing diabetes with vision loss, visit AFB Senior Site at www.afb.org/seniorsite.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Into Fitness: Hot Tips To Stay Healthy As Temperatures Cool

(NAPSI)-Whether you've been active all summer or are getting motivated to live a healthier lifestyle, fall is an excellent time to start a fitness program so you can continue the good habits into the holiday season and the winter months. Fall also brings a healthy harvest of flavors to grocery store shelves and is a great time to try nutritious seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Here are some tips that will help make your fall season healthy and active for the whole family:

• Commit to a community event. Many cities hold their annual fun runs, charity walks and competitive races like marathons in the cooler fall months. Sign up with your family or friends; it will give you a goal to work toward and you'll feel a real sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line.

• Put one foot in front of the other. Walking is one of the most enjoyable fall activities for good reason--you can do it anywhere and the weather will keep you cool. Discover local forest preserve paths and park trails and take in some new scenery, whether you're walking, running or even biking.

• Taste fall's healthy harvest. Many unique vegetables are harvested in the fall, making it the perfect time to introduce these new flavors to your meals. Leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard and kale are best in the fall.

• Choose an indoor grill. Indoor grilling provides simple, fast and healthier cooking all year long. On colder days or days with inclement weather, contact grills such as the new George Foreman G-Broil Grill make it possible to cook healthier, flavorful dinners in minutes. This new grill drains fat away from food and has a special floating hinge that locks to allow for broiling so you can put gourmet touches on grilled meats or vegetables. Try grilling pears and sprinkling with a bit of cinnamon for a tasty, guilt-free treat.

• Gain support. The Web has an overwhelming amount of fitness and nutrition information. Find a few favorite sites, such as the home pages for your favorite health and fitness magazines, or interactive sites like www.knockoutthefat.com. At this site, you can follow four individuals as they endeavor to lose weight with assistance from expert trainers and healthy cooking gadgets. Weigh in with your own personal tips and you could win prizes!

Watching what you eat this fall doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste or flavor. Here's a delicious, low-calorie recipe that can be prepared any season on an indoor contact grill, such as a George Foreman G-Broil Grill.

Grilled Beef with Root Vegetables & Orange Vinaigrette

½ pound lean beef

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons pomegranate juice

1¼ teaspoons black pepper, divided

1 large celery root

2 large carrots

6 medium beets, cooked (substitute 8.5-oz. can cooked beets)

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon orange zest (optional garnish)

Remove visible fat from beef and cut into very thin slices. In a resealable plastic bag, combine soy sauce, pomegranate juice and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Add beef slices and seal tightly. Turn and squeeze bag to coat beef with marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Set the temperature of a contact grill, such as the George Foreman G-Broil Grill, to high and allow grill to preheat. Place beef strips on the grilling plate and close lid. Cook for 2 minutes. Check beef with the tip of a knife.

Cool beef. Peel celery root and carrots. Cut celery root, carrots and beets into matchstick pieces and place in a large bowl with cooled beef. In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, white wine vinegar, orange juice, oil, salt and remaining pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and garnish with orange zest. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Serves 4.

For more grilling recipes, visit www.knockoutthefat.com.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Living with MS? Surprising Stats about Mobility, Attitudes

(ARA) - Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms can include walking and coordination difficulties, fatigue, numbness, weakness and visual problems. And it’s not a rare disease. More than 400,000 people in the United States and nearly 2.5 million worldwide are living with MS.

In a recent landmark Harris Interactive survey on MS, two-thirds of people with the disease say mobility loss is a big problem. And while 70 percent of people with MS rate mobility loss as the most troubling part of their disease, surprisingly almost half do not discuss walking problems with their doctor.

“It’s a big problem when people don’t communicate clearly about mobility “ says Dr. Nicholas LaRocca, vice president of health care delivery and policy research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “That’s because difficulty walking can affect so many aspects of someone’s life and independence.”

The survey found that mobility challenges have a big impact on the quality of life among many people with MS, limiting their day-to-day activities and independence. Fully 70 percent of people surveyed reported that walking problems make it difficult to complete simple tasks like going to the bank. The majority of survey respondents also said that mobility loss has affected their self esteem and limited their ability to take vacations or attend family events such as weddings.

“As someone who has lived with MS for over two decades, I see people with MS are living fuller and more active lives, but we have a long way to go,” says Mimi Mosher, a patient advocate. “This survey sheds new light on the challenges that thousands of us with MS are experiencing every day.”

While mobility loss is a great concern, some findings about the use of mobility devices including wheel chairs and scooters were also troubling. Most people in the survey feel that using mobility devices is “worth it” to retain their independence. But 40 percent claim that they are embarrassed to use devices or don’t use them as often as they should. Embarrassment may be causing people with MS to risk falls and injuries by not using mobility devices as often as they should.

Mobility problems can be compounded by fatigue, another common symptom of MS. About 75 percent of people in the survey report that they experience fatigue at least twice a week. Along with mobility loss, fatigue can limit their ability to handle daily tasks at home or at work. “Many people do not realize the dramatic effect fatigue can have on a person’s ability to get through the day, and how it can make other symptoms, such as mobility, even worse,” says Dr. LaRocca.

On the brighter side, the survey did show that many people with MS are taking steps to preserve their mobility and their health – with exercise. About 74 percent exercise regularly. For more information about this survey and MS, visit the National MS Society Web site at www.nationalMSsociety.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Take Care Clinics Open at Walgreen's in Fayetteville and Other Metro Atlanta Locations

BUSINESS WIRE --Take Care Health Systems has opened five additional Take Care Clinics at Walgreens drugstores, as the company launched the second stage of a multi-phase expansion plan in the greater Atlanta area. Take Care Health Systems is one of the largest managers of convenient care clinics and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG). A total of 21 Take Care Clinics, walk-in, professional health care centers, are open in the region seven days a week with extended evening and weekend hours.

“Take Care Health has treated more than 675,000 patients nationwide since November 2005. Residents throughout the Atlanta area are some of those patients that have embraced this high-quality health care service,” said Lillian Williams, Lead Nurse Practitioner for the Atlanta market. “As a result, we’ve added five new clinics to the 16 clinics we opened last year, giving Atlanta-area residents greater access to convenient and affordable health care.”

Take Care Clinics in the Atlanta market are staffed by board-certified family nurse practitioners who treat patients 18 months and older for common illnesses such as strep throat, ear and sinus infections, pink eye and poison ivy, and are licensed to write prescriptions that can be filled at the patient’s pharmacy of choice. Take Care Nurse Practitioners also provide school, sports and camp physicals and offer vaccinations for chickenpox, flu, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus and human pappilomavirus (HPV).

Clinics have two patient examination rooms, exam tables, sinks, innovative patient registration kiosks and electronic medical record technology for visit documentation. Clinics are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. New Take Care Clinics open today are located at the following Walgreens drugstores:

* Atlanta - 3740 Cascade Road

* Fayetteville - 780 North Glynn

* Atlanta - 595 Piedmont Ave., Ste 100

* Loganville - 4398 Atlanta Hwy.

* Atlanta - 3800 Princeton Lake Parkway SW

Take Care Clinics are also open at the following Walgreens drugstores:

* Acworth - 1762 Mars Hill Road NW

* Lithonia - 2945 Panola Road

* Alpharetta - 3003 Old Alabama Road

* Marietta - 2988 Shallowford Road

* Atlanta - 7530 Roswell Road

* Marietta - 2464 Roswell Road

* Austell - 4120 Austell Road

* Norcross - 5985 Peachtree Pkwy.

* Douglasville - 9465 Hwy. 5

* Powder Springs - 5230 Dallas Hwy.

* Kennesaw - 2779 N Cobb Pkwy.

* Smyrna - 2670 Cobb Pkwy. SE

* Lawrenceville - 181 S. Clayton Street

* Stockbridge - 1855 Hudson Bridge Road

* Lawrenceville - 2990 Five Forks Trickum Road

* Stone Mountain - 5320 Memorial Drive

Take Care Health Systems has partnered with numerous insurers including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, ChoiceCare, CIGNA, Coventry, GreatWest, Humana, Multiplan/PHCS, UnitedHealthcare and traditional Medicare. If insured by one of these plans, patients pay their regular co-pay or coinsurance amount. For the uninsured or cash payers, prices average $59-$74 and are listed on clinic sign-in kiosks.

“Our experienced Take Care Nurse Practitioners understand their local communities and truly care about a patient’s long term well-being,” said Williams. “These clinics are an important part of the solution to the current health care crisis, and we are excited to bring Atlanta area residents more clinics promoting greater access to care.”

Take Care Nurse Practitioners encourage all patients to have a health care home, a provider they see routinely for on-going medical needs and routine exams. If a patient’s condition falls outside of the scope of service at the clinic, the patient is referred back to his/her primary care provider for follow-on care. If a patient does not have a primary care provider, nurse practitioners will offer a list of providers in the area accepting new patients. Take Care Nurse Practitioners collaborate with local physicians who are available for consultation at all times the nurse practitioner is treating a patient. Collaborating physicians and other local providers work with Take Care Nurse Practitioners to accept patient referrals.

Take Care Health Systems uses nationally recognized, evidence-based clinical guidelines for treatment and electronic medical record technology allowing patients to take visit records to other providers, promoting continuity of care. Take Care Nurse Practitioners follow quality and safety standards as outlined by the Convenient Care Association, the industry’s trade association.

Take Care Health Systems is part of Walgreens Health and Wellness division which includes Take Care Consumer Solutions, managers of convenient care clinics located at select Walgreens drugstores nationwide, and Take Care Employer Solutions, managers of worksite-based health and wellness services. Including Take Care Clinics, the Walgreens Health and Wellness division manages 591 worksite health and wellness centers and retail health clinics.

Take Care Health Systems currently manages 229 clinics in 29 markets and 15 states, including locations in: Atlanta, Boulder-Longmont, Colo., Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Green Bay, Wis., Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville, Madison, Wis., Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, Tenn., Orlando, Fla., Oshkosh, Wis., Peoria, Ill., Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Rockford, Ill., St. Louis, Tampa, Fla., Topeka, Kan., Tucson, Ariz., West Palm Beach, Fla. and Wichita, Kan.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don’t Cut the Cheese—Out of Your Diet

BUSINESS WIRE --Cheese is a natural product that has been made for centuries as far back as 7500 years ago. Salt, a vital mineral, is an integral ingredient in cheese, and serves five necessary purposes in the cheese making process: slows down the development of the bacteria added to the milk; accelerates the release of the liquid (whey) from the curd; acts as a preservative; inhibits the growth of undesirable bacteria, and finally, salt acts as a flavor boost to all varieties of cheese.

Sodium Content in Cheese is Higher Than you Think

Most people need to watch their sodium intake and adhere to a low sodium diet for health reasons. Sodium is necessary to health, but most people get much more than they need. The National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine (IOM), which advises the government about recommended levels of nutrients, have defined a range of daily sodium intakes with 1,500 mg deemed adequate for good health (less for an older age group).

Sodium makes the body hold fluids. With added fluids the heart has to work harder. Too much salt can worsen symptoms like swelling and shortness of breath and cause weight gain. Ingesting more sodium than needed can lead to high blood pressure a serious risk factor in heart disease and stroke.

Oceans Flavor provides a natural lower-sodium, healthier and tasty alternative to traditional salt. Ocean's Flavor Natural Sea Salts are specialty products with natural low-sodium ranges from 45% lower sodium to 70% lower sodium than other standard table salt or sea salt. This is due to the company's tight patent-pending restrictions that can optimize the environment's natural ability to produce a salt comprised of lower sodium, while maintaining great taste and the ocean's healthy minerals which are required for a balanced diet and healthy body.

Oceans Flavors various products provide the needed flavor and preservative attributes that allow cheese to meet the end-user health needs, according to CEO Al Kirchner. The balance of NaCl and KCL and other trace minerals will enhance the health value of the product, and the unique process maintains the tastiness.

The sodium content figures listed below are the average sodium content by cheese type for packaged and processed cheese. These figures can vary for specific brands, so always check the nutrition facts label or opt for cheeses that are made with sea salt.

The sodium content for 1 ounce of cheese is:

  • American processed, sliced 406 mg
  • Anejo 321 mg
  • Asadero 186 mg
  • Asiago 400 mg
  • Blue 396 mg
  • Brick 159 mg
  • Brie 178 mg
  • Camembert 239 mg
  • Cheddar 176 mg
  • Chihuahua 175 mg
  • Colby 171 mg
  • Cottage cheese, 4 oz 430 mg
  • Cottage cheese, low fat, 4 oz 360 mg
  • Cottage cheese, fat free, 4 oz 380 mg
  • Edam 274 mg
  • Feta 316 mg
  • Goat 104 mg
  • Gorgonzola 350 mg
  • Gouda 232 mg
  • Gruyere 95 mg
  • Havarti 214 mg
  • Limburger 227 mg
  • Monterey jack 152 mg
  • Mozzarella 118 mg
  • Mozzarella, part skim 150 mg
  • Muenster 178 mg
  • Parmesan 454 mg
  • Provolone 248 mg
  • Ricotta, 1/4 cup 52 mg
  • Ricotta, part skim, 1/4 cup 78 mg
  • Romano 340 mg
  • Roquefort 513 mg
  • Stilton 220 mg
  • Swiss 74 mg
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fayette County Health Department Offering Flu Vaccine

Fayette County Health Department will hold a flu vaccine clinic October 14, 15 and16 at its health center by appointment only. Flu vaccine will continue to be offered each while supplies last. The vaccination is part of a flu campaign being implemented by the Board of Health to get the vaccine to as many people as possible.

In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. High-risk categories are:

• adults aged 50 years and older
• persons of any age with underlying chronic medical conditions
• residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
• children aged 6 months to 4 years
• women who are pregnant during the flu season
• children aged 6 months -18 years on chronic aspirin therapy
• health care workers involved in direct patient care, and Influenza, commonly called "flu," is caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract. The influenza infection causes more severe illness than most other viral respiratory infections like the common cold.

Most people who get the flu recover in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious complications, such as pneumonia.

Every year, more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized as a result of the flu. Influenza infection can even cause death, and in an average year, about 36,000 deaths are caused by the flu in the U.S. The young, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions are most at risk of developing serious complications from the flu.

For people who do not receive the flu vaccine, health officials encourage them to take the following steps to reduce their chances of getting the flu:

• Wash your hands regularly
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• Keep household surfaces clean
• Don’t attend work or school when ill
• Don’t share glasses or eating utensils

The cost is of the vaccine is $25.00. Checks (no out of state), cash, debit cards, credit cards, Medicaid and Medicare (part B) will be accepted. Persons must present a Medicaid/Medicare card at the time of service. Residents using Medicare need to bring their red, white and blue card as well as any other Medicare or insurance cards.

Influenza vaccine for the 2008-09 season does not provide protection against avian or pandemic influenza.

If you would like to make an appointment to receive a flu shot, please call the Fayette County Health Department at 770.305.5416.
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Managing COPD - Are You in Control of Your Oxygen Therapy?

(ARA) – For people with heart and breathing conditions--and their caregivers--it can be difficult to determine if the body is getting enough oxygen. For the more than 1.2 million Americans receiving long-term oxygen therapy for conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), there is a way to check critical oxygen saturation levels in a convenient way.

People commonly check their own weight and temperature whenever they need to, and many patients can check their blood pressure and blood sugar at home as well. With a fingertip pulse oximeter you can tell if you’re getting enough oxygen in all situations.

Doctors say the number of Americans with COPD and those receiving long-term oxygen therapy will rise as baby boomers age. The vast majority of these individuals should be active to improve their quality of life. A personal oximeter can become part of a daily routine to help people stay active and take back control of their health.

Oxygen saturation measures how much oxygen the blood is carrying. The ideal oxygen saturation level is between 90 and 98 percent in all activities. To determine this level, an oximeter shines two separate beams of light into the blood circulating through the small vessels (capillaries). The light beams reflect the amount of oxygen in the blood. If the reading indicates that oxygen levels are too low, oxygen flow settings should be adjusted to achieve the correct saturation level.

Doctors often prescribe pulse oximetry for patients with respiratory diseases such as COPD and conditions such as heart failure. In the past, such patients would often be required to visit a clinic, sometimes daily, to have their oxygen levels monitored. However, with a personal fingertip pulse oximeter such as an Onyx II, blood oxygen saturation can be measured independently, any time, anywhere. Managing a condition like COPD is a lifelong commitment, so choosing a high-quality, durable and accurate pulse oximeter with a warranty is important.

A fingertip pulse oximeter can be particularly helpful for family members acting as caregivers for older adults. The patient simply places their finger into the fingertip device for a reliable and easy to read spot-check. By providing non-invasive monitoring, a device like a fingertip pulse oximeter can help individuals live independently in their homes for a longer period of time. With a model like the new Onyx II 9560 with Bluetooth wireless connectivity, doctors can even remotely monitor patients with conditions such as COPD, Congestive Heart Failure or asthma.

Whether you’re a patient with COPD or the caregiver to someone on long-term oxygen therapy, talk to your doctor about prescribing an Onyx II and take back control of your life and medical care.

For more information on pulse oximeters, visit www.Nonin.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, September 15, 2008

What You Need to Know About Heart Failure Medications

(ARA) – Advances in medications have, over the past few years, made a big impact on the quality of life for heart failure patients. These medicines can help stabilize heart function, relieve symptoms, keep patients out of the hospital, even extend and improve quality of life.

But to be effective, patients must take an active role in understanding the medicines they are taking and foster open communication with their health care providers about how the medicines are affecting their health.

For example, some patients may be tempted to stop taking their medicine when they start to feel better. However, it is important to continue taking the medicine, as its purpose is not only to make the patient feel better in the short run, but also to treat the underlying disease and improve health in the long run.

Conversely, if a patient is taking medicine and feeling worse, or not feeling any better, it is important to discuss this with a doctor, as medicines may need to be changed or the dose adjusted to receive maximum benefits.

Most people with heart failure require several medicines for the best results. The list below describes the most common medicines available that may be prescribed for heart failure patients, courtesy of the Heart Failure Society of America. Patients should ask their doctor or their nurse for complete information on any medicines they are taking.

* ACE Inhibitor Pills – These medicines work by blocking the effects of harmful stress hormones. They also control high blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. In most people, they do not usually cause a lot of side effects but for some patients they can cause cough, or rarely, swelling of the lining of the mouth.

* Beta-Blocker Pills – This group of medicines improve heart function. They also control high blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, and help regulate the heart rhythm. They work by blocking the effects of certain harmful stress hormones. Side effects include dizziness, fatigue, fluid buildup and wheezing.

* Diuretics – Also called water pills, these work by helping the body get rid of extra fluid. Less fluid in the lungs makes breathing easier and means less swelling in other parts of the body. Patients taking a diuretic should have their potassium levels checked periodically. Diuretics can also cause people to lose too much fluid and become dehydrated.

* Digoxin Pills – Improve heart function by making the heart beat stronger and also may help to correct hormonal imbalance that makes heart failure worse. Patients with heart failure breathe more easily and feel better as a result. Excessive amounts of digoxin may cause nausea or vomiting, blurred or colored vision or abnormal heart rhythm, which may cause palpitation or black outs. Digoxin should be used with care and close communication with a doctor’s office is required.

* Aldosterone Antagonist Pills – These work by blocking the effects of a stress hormone called aldosterone. One study shows that people with advanced heart failure who take aldosterone blocking pills live longer and stay out of the hospital. It can increase potassium levels and can cause breast enlargement or tenderness, especially in men. Again, close communication with a doctor’s office is required if this medicine is used.

* ARB Pills – These reduce the impact of certain harmful stress hormones. They have actions similar to those of ACE inhibitors and may be recommended for people who can not tolerate an ACE inhibitor. They can cause dizziness, decrease in blood pressure or problems with kidneys or potassium level.

* Combination Isosorbide Dinitrate and Hydralazine Pills – This is a combination of two different vasodilators. These drugs work by relaxing blood vessels which eases the work of the heart. The combination may work particularly well in African Americans with heart failure but others are also likely to benefit. This combination can cause headaches, especially right after patients start taking the pills. Other side effects include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and feeling lightheaded or even fainting if patients drink alcohol or do not drink enough fluids.

Patients need to be sure to tell every doctor and nurse they see that they have heart failure and what medicines they are taking including over the counter medications, “nutriceuticals” or herbal remedies. Some of these can make heart failure worse or interfere with the prescribed medications from your health care provider. Heart failure patients should be particularly cautious about taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), calcium channel blockers and most antiarrhythmic medicines.

For more information on heart failure, visit the Heart Failure Society of America Web site at www.abouthf.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Living in Georgia Less Stressful According to New Survey

PRNewswire/ -- While 93 percent of Americans report attempting to make everyday choices to be healthy and live well, more than half (55 percent) of Georgia residents say they struggle to do so, according to the Amway Global Wellness Index, a recent national survey of more than 15,000 Americans regarding their health and wellness. Georgia residents report that the two main barriers preventing them from living a healthier lifestyle include lack of time (36 percent) and the costs associated with eating a balanced diet (24 percent).

Free YMCA Wellness Events

In support of individuals and families struggling to make healthier choices, Amway Global and the YMCA are hosting free wellness events open to the public at select YMCAs on Sept. 20, 2008, as part of America On the Move Week. As a first step, health seekers can go to http://www.inspirewellness.com/ and take the Stanford Health and Lifestyle Assessment. Then, they can bring their summary reports to a local YMCA to talk with a health and wellness staff member about steps they can take toward a healthier life. Go to http://www.inspirewellness.com/ for a list of participating YMCAs in Georgia.

Georgia Wellness Challenges:

Exercise

The survey shows that one-quarter (25 percent) of Georgia residents, versus 23 percent of Americans, are not exercising for at least 30 minutes or more at a time on a regular basis. That's well under the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation of a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day or a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity three days a week. When it comes to the work commute, 91 percent of Georgia residents drive or use public transportation. However, when they do exercise, the focus is on general wellness (33 percent), cardiovascular endurance (25 percent) and increasing muscle tone (17 percent).

Stress

Thirty-five percent of Georgians report having a "very" or "somewhat" high stress level, according to the Amway Global Wellness Index. Forty-four percent of Georgia residents find that talking to family and friends is a highly effective way of coping with their stress. Increasing physical activity (33 percent) and sleep (26 percent) also top the list, while 16 percent turn to food for comfort and 16 percent practice yoga. Only 7 percent of residents decrease the time they spend using technology gadgets to reduce stress.

Sleep

While 37 percent of Georgia residents report that not getting enough exercise is one of the biggest wellness challenges, 34 percent also report getting enough sleep as a major challenge. Only 10 percent of Georgians judge their current state of wellness by the amount of sleep they get.

Weight

Nearly half (48 percent) of Georgia residents consider themselves obese or overweight, yet only one-quarter (25 percent) of Georgia respondents gauge their state of wellness by their current weight.

The Election, Economy and Wellness

Thirty-seven percent of Georgians and 33 percent of Americans claim that the candidates' positions on personal wellness will influence how they vote this election. Additionally, 42 percent of Americans, versus 41 percent of Georgians, report that the economy is having a negative impact on their wellness choices. For the nation, current economic conditions also are negatively affecting the wellness of 51 percent of non-working parents, versus 43 percent of working parents. And, when it comes to the battle of the sexes, the health of women is affected more by the economy (44 percent) than men (40 percent).

About the Amway Global Wellness Index

The Amway Global Wellness Index is a national survey of 15,035 American adults ages 18 and older to uncover American views toward the concept of wellness and individual, family and community wellness. Commissioned by Amway Global, the study has an estimated margin of error of +/-0.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information and state-specific statistics, go to http://www.inspirewellness.com/.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Piedmont Physicians Raise Awareness of Cervical and Other Gynecological Cancers

Every six minutes, an American woman is diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, including cervical, endometrial, ovarian, peritoneal, tubal, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Each year more than 80,000 American women are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, defined as the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the female reproductive organs.

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month and according to the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, early detection plays a critical role in the treatment process. In addition, the Foundation says that gynecologic cancers should only be treated by a cancer specialist, such as a gynecologic oncologist. Any woman is at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer. Although they are often discussed as a group, gynecologic cancers have a spectrum of different causes, prevention and detection methods, treatment, and likelihoods of a cure.

“Gynecologic cancer is a serious concern for women, but there are ways to prevent, detect and treat this cancer,” said Alfred Dwayne Jenkins, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “If more women were screened regularly, many unnecessary deaths from cervical cancer could be avoided.”

Biomedical research has discovered that some genes, called oncogenes, promote the growth of cancer. These genetic mutations are acquired during life through smoking, aging or environmental influences, or are inherited from parents or grandparents. Many cancers of the cervix, vagina and vulva are caused by a virus that blocks normal gene function. Only a few of the specific genes leading to reproductive cancers have been identified. Knowing family history can increase the chance of early diagnosis and can help take action toward prevention.

Screening and self-examinations conducted regularly can result in the detection of certain types of gynecologic cancers in their earlier stages, when treatment is more likely to be successful and a complete cure is a possibility. Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices play a significant role in the prevention of cancer. Additionally, knowledge of family history can increase the chance of prevention or early diagnosis by determining if someone may have a gene which makes them susceptible to cancer.

Dr. Jenkins has been a part of the Piedmont Healthcare family since early last year, working with Piedmont Gynecologic Oncology located on the Piedmont Hospital campus. He also holds part-time office hours at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Fayetteville. Dr. Jenkins is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology. He performed the first gynecologic robotics procedure in the state of Florida while serving as director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando. Dr. Jenkins is also interested in minimally invasive surgery and fertility-sparing treatment of malignancies.

Dr. Jenkins is accepting new patients and welcomes virtually all major insurance plans. His Fayetteville office is located at 1267 Highway 54 West, Suite 5200, Fayetteville, Ga. on the PFH campus. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 404-605-2100.
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In Honor of National Menopause Awareness Month, SleepBetter.org Offers Practical Tips to Millions of Menopausal Women

BUSINESS WIRE --September is “National Menopause Awareness Month” and SleepBetter.org, an educational Web site dedicated to helping people sleep better, is offering the 40 million American women of menopausal age – and the more than 1 million more joining their ranks annually – helpful tips for obtaining a more restful night’s sleep during this time in their lives.

“Sleep difficulties are a hallmark complaint during and after menopause. In fact, trouble falling asleep and staying asleep are two of the most frequent concerns I hear from women in mid-life,” says Rebecca Hulem, RN, RNP, CNM, CMC, author of “Feelin’ Hot? A Humorous, Informative and Truthful Look at Menopause” and a recognized menopause expert. “A good night’s sleep is so incredibly important to a woman’s health and well-being, and fortunately, there are a number of ways a woman can curtail sleep disturbances during menopause.”

Tips for Achieving Sweet Dreams During Menopause and Beyond

Hulem and SleepBetter.org offer the following easy-to-implement tips for minimizing hot flashes and sleep disturbances during menopause, and optimizing critical sleep cycles:

* Keep room temperature cool. Warmer room temperatures and elevated core body temperatures increase the chances of having hot flashes. Ideal room temperatures for sleeping are between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Establish a relaxing ritual to wind down before bed, such as taking a bath or practicing relaxation techniques.
* Limit caffeine intake, especially after 2 p.m.
* Exercise regularly, but not within three hours of bedtime.
* Stop smoking or, at minimum, limit nicotine intake within two hours of bedtime.
* Don’t use alcohol as a sleep aid, and limit the drinking of alcohol within two hours of bedtime.
* Keep the bedroom cool, dark and as quiet as possible.

In addition to the aforementioned tips, SleepBetter.org suggests using products which can help provide relief from hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause. Carpenter Co.’s Isotonic® Iso•Cool™ pillows and mattress toppers both adjust to the body’s changing temperature. The products absorb heat, regulate body warmth and create a cooling sensation providing a cool night of sleep.

For more tips on how to improve sleep during menopause, or to learn about additional products which can enhance sleep, visit www.SleepBetter.org. The site features the exclusive Zzzz Score™ test, which is a science-based personal sleep profile – a guide to getting a better night’s sleep based on individual sleep preferences and problems.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CPSC Focuses On Safety in the Nursery and Around the House for Baby Safety Month Pillows Pose One of the Greatest Dangers Where Babies Sleep

As parents prepare for a new baby with love and care, CPSC urges keeping safety in the mix. One area of great concern for the CPSC is pillow use in cribs. The CPSC is urging all parents to forego putting any kind of pillows in the crib due to the high risk of suffocation and entrapment. The CPSC is aware of at least 47 infant deaths between January 2006 and May 2008 associated with pillow use in the sleeping environment. In the 16 years between January 1992 and May 2008, pillows and cushions have been associated with 531 infant deaths.

"Parents should be especially vigilant when preparing for a new baby," said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Babies represent our most precious and vulnerable population."

Nursery Safety

To reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation, place baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib that meets current safety standards.

To prevent suffocation never use a pillow as a mattress for baby to sleep on or to prop baby's head or neck.

Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components, broken slats and other parts of the crib and their head and neck become entrapped in the space.

Do not use old, broken or modified cribs.
Regularly tighten hardware to keep sides firm.

Infants can suffocate in spaces between the sides of the crib and an ill fitting mattress; never allow a gap larger than two finger widths at any point between the sides of the crib and the mattress.

Never place a crib near a window with blind or curtain cords; infants can strangle on the cords.

Safety Around the House

Properly set up play yards according to manufacturers' directions. Only use the mattress provided with the play yard. Do not add extra mattresses, pillows or cushions to the play yard, which can cause a suffocation hazard for infants.

Look for a toy chest that has a support that will hold the hinged lid open in any position in which it is placed or buy one with a detached lid or doors.

Small Parts - For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.

Magnets - For children younger than age eight, avoid building sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts.

For all children younger than age eight, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Verify that furniture is stable on its own. For added security, anchor to the floor or attach to a wall.

Use outlet covers and outlet plates to help prevent electrocution.

CPSC encourages parents to routinely check toys and nursery products against CPSC recall lists and remove recalled products from your home.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Warning: Sun Safety Is More Than Sunscreen

24-7 - The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), the largest private, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States, issued the following statement in response to the media attention regarding the Environmental Working Group's recent report on sunscreen effectiveness:

"It is important that we remain vigilant in making safe decisions when it comes to the sun. Sadly, approximately 65 percent of melanomas—the most serious form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S.—are attributed to ultraviolet exposure," said Dr. Allan Halpern, member of the MRF's Scientific Advisory Committee and Chief of the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "Too many people mistakenly view wearing sunscreen as a blank check for spending unlimited time in the sun. Sunscreen is just one component of sun safety."

The MRF recommends the following sun safety practices for all skin types to help prevent skin cancer:

• Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin—even on cloudy days—using a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
• Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
• Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
• Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
• Do not burn. Severe sunburns, especially during childhood, increase your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancer.
• Avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds. Current research indicates there is no way to get a tan through ultraviolet radiation without increasing the risk for skin cancer.
• Consider using a sunless self-tanning product if you want to look like you've been in the sun, but continue to use sunscreen.
• Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.

Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers worldwide and can strike people of all ages, all races and both sexes. In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, more than 62,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with invasive melanoma this year, resulting in an estimated 8,400 deaths.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Secrets of Safe, Successful Slumber for Your Baby

(ARA) – It’s easy to become sleep-obsessed when you’re a new parent. Not only are you dealing with your own sleep deprivation and trying to help your baby develop a sleep routine, there’s the compelling question of just where your bundle of joy will bed down.

Do you put her in a bassinet? Does he sleep best in his bouncer or car seat? Can she fall asleep on her own in a crib? Or do you co-sleep? No matter where you choose to put your baby to sleep, safety and success must be your main concerns. Your decision will be easier if you know a few basic facts about infants’ sleep habits, safe sleeping practices and bedding options.

First, says Dr. William Sears, a renowned infant sleep expert, don’t be confused or frightened by recent headlines of safety recalls for a specific brand of bassinet. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a safety warning regarding a type of convertible bassinet manufactured by the now-defunct Simplicity Inc. of Reading, Pa. The warning applies only to those products, not to all bedside sleepers and definitely not to those produced by Arm’s Reach Concepts, makers of the acclaimed Co-Sleeper brand.

A safe co-sleeping bassinet is designed to attach snugly to an adult bed, leaving no gaps, bars or openings that could potentially entrap an infant. The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper bassinet safely allow mothers to have quick, easy access to their infants, and enjoy the closeness of a co-sleeping arrangement, without actually having the baby in bed with them, Sears points out.

Studies show that at least 50 percent of all American parents co-sleep with their infants at some point. Research by Dr. James J. McKenna of the University of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, shows that safe co-sleeping helps reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related problems.

Co-sleeping may not always be what your little dreamer has in mind, however. Plenty of babies prefer to nap in a car seat or bassinet. While many will happily fall asleep on top of a willing parent, others prefer the quiet of their own crib. Wherever your baby sleeps best, be sure to follow basic safety when putting her down.

* Always put babies to sleep on their backs, per the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation. Since its launch, the “Back to Sleep Initiative,” which taught parents that babies are safest sleeping on their backs, has helped reduce SIDS deaths by more than 50 percent.

* Babies sleeping in a car seat should never be left alone – in the car or in the house. If your little one dozes off on a drive and you don’t want to disturb her, use the kind of car seat that easily detaches from the base. Bring the seat and baby inside the house and place them on the floor where you can easily see them and keep a close watch.

* Choose bassinets, cribs and bedside sleepers that meet the CPSC’s high safety standards. Cribs or bassinets with bars should have no more than 2 3/8 inches between bars or slats, according to federal standards.

* Wherever your baby sleeps, don’t put anything in the bed with her. That means no stuffed animals, blankets or pillows. These and other items may cover her face and obstruct her breathing.

* Never put your baby to sleep in an adult bed alone. If you choose to co-sleep, opt for a Co-Sleeper bassinet, a small, separate bed with one open side that fits up snugly against your bed. “The Arm’s Reach Concepts Co-Sleeper bassinet is a safe product which I fully endorse and which I recommend to patients in my pediatric practice,” Sears says.

To learn more about Arms Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinets, visit www.armsreach.com or call (800) 954-9353.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Produce for Kids(R) and PBS KIDS(R) Partner for a Second Year with Nationwide School-Based Healthy Eating Campaign

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Produce for Kids(R) (PFK), an organization that promotes the benefits of healthy eating and supports worthy causes for children and PBS KIDS(R), which provides content, resources and tools that support the positive development of the whole child - the cognitive, emotional, social and physical, are partnering for a second year to raise awareness among kids, parents and teachers of the role fresh fruits and vegetables play in a healthy diet. As part of PBS KIDS' long term commitment to children's health, the partnership highlights the multi-faceted "Eat Smart for a Great Start" campaign, which focuses on school-based programs this fall and features a nationwide classroom contest; resources and tools for parents and educators; fun games and activities for kids; and a variety of regional events, celebrity appearances and in-school promotions. In-store promotions and local community events generated from the first year of the partnership will also continue throughout the coming year at even more participating grocery stores.

From September 4 through October 31, participating retailers and produce companies will make a monetary donation for every fresh produce item purchased during the campaign. Donated funds will support PBS' efforts to provide educational content, resources and outreach materials to families and educators that promote healthy behaviors among kids. Participating local PBS member stations will also raise awareness of the importance of eating fruits and vegetables through community events, character visits and other activities with participating grocery stores including Giant Food Stores, King Soopers, Meijer, Price Chopper and Publix Super Markets.

Highlighting the need for a concerted educational campaign that promotes healthy eating, a Produce for Kids national study released in May 2008 revealed that only 18 percent of America's children are eating the recommended three or more daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, and 43 percent of kids have one or less daily serving of fresh produce.

"Our fall campaign will make healthy eating a central topic of discussion and learning in classrooms and communities nationwide," said John Shuman, president of Produce for Kids. "Together, PFK, PBS KIDS and our sponsors are delivering engaging, interactive ways for kids to learn healthy eating habits that last a lifetime."

"Encouraging families to eat right and be active is not just a one-time message and PBS KIDS is committed to helping families explore what it means to lead healthy lifestyles," said Loren Mayor, VP Corporate Partnerships, PBS. "As a longtime advocate of supporting a child's total well-being - cognitive, social, emotional and physical - PBS KIDS is thrilled to extend this partnership with Produce for Kids to encourage more nutritional food choices as one of the key ingredients to fostering a healthier generation."

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Why Should You Care About Diabetes?

(NAPSI)-While awareness is growing about the seriousness of diabetes, more needs to be done to fight this deadly disease. That's the word from experts who consider diabetes to be the biggest public health crisis of the 21st century.

During American Diabetes Month this November, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is asking the American public "Why should you care about diabetes?"

According to John B. Buse, M.D., president, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association, "Few people realize the seriousness of diabetes. Not only does it affect many aspects of a person's daily routine, but the complications that can occur as a result of diabetes can be deadly. It is possible to delay or even avoid these complications with proper diabetes management and treatment."

Proper diagnosis and control can help reduce the risks for a number of serious complications, some of which are life threatening. These include:

• Heart disease and stroke-- Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two to four times higher than adults without diabetes.

• Blindness--Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year, making diabetes the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age.

• Kidney disease--Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44 percent of new cases in 2002.

• Amputations--More than 60 percent of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.

The good news is that remembering the "ABCs of diabetes" can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications:

• A is for A1C--A test that measures the average blood glucose (sugar) level over the past two to three months. For most people with diabetes, it is important to keep their A1C at less than 7 percent.

• B is for Blood Pressure--People with diabetes should have a target blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg.

• C is for Cholesterol--LDL (bad) cholesterol should be below 100 mg/dL; HDL (healthy) cholesterol should be above 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women. Triglycerides should be below 150 mg/dL.

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's premier voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy.

For more information, visit www.diabetes.org or call (800) DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

The purpose of American Diabetes Month is to help raise public awareness about why controlling diabetes is so important.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Graying Of America And The Increased Risk For Heart Valve Disease

(NAPSI)-In 2011, the first of America's baby boomers will turn 65--and by 2030, more than 71.5 million individuals--more than 1 in 5 of us-will be "senior citizens."

As boomers age and the population grays, the risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease continues to grow. Fortunately, by becoming more aware of the risks, people are better able to modify their lifestyles, seek appropriate medical attention in a timely manner and stay healthier, longer.

Heart Valve Disease

One condition that is expected to become more prevalent in an older population is heart valve disease (HVD), in which one or more of the four heart valves doesn't work properly. One can be born with the condition (congenital) or develop it later in life (acquired). It is not known what causes congenital HVD. Heart conditions, age-related changes, rheumatic fever and infections may cause acquired HVD.

Many with heart valve defects have no symptoms or develop them in midlife. Symptoms can include heart murmur and others that relate to heart failure such as unusual fatigue, shortness of breath or swelling of ankles, feet or abdomen.

Lifestyle changes to help improve heart health include avoiding activities that trigger irregular rhythms (like heavy lifting), quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and stopping caffeine. Meanwhile, standard treatment for HVD is having affected valve(s) surgically replaced. One type of replacement valve is man-made (i.e., mechanical).

Mechanical heart valves are usually made from materials such as plastic, carbon or metal; they're designed to last for years. However, blood tends to adhere to mechanical valves and can create blood clots, which can enter the bloodstream and cause stroke, heart attack or other major organ damage. Therefore, individuals with mechanical heart valves must take "blood thinner" medications--more appropriately known as "anticoagulants"--for the rest of their lives. Coumadin® (warfarin) is one such anticoagulant.

Monitoring Medication

Patients taking warfarin must have their blood tested regularly (at least once a month) to determine how quickly the blood clots. This test is expressed as the International Normalized Ratio (INR). If the blood clots too slowly or too rapidly, the patient is at risk. That is why it is important for patients to monitor their INR often.

Anticoagulation testing can be simple and fast, with results in just minutes rather than days. A handheld anticoagulation monitor is used with a small drop of blood from a fingerstick. Such testing takes less time and is typically preferred to the venous blood draws and longer turnaround times associated with laboratory testing.

At-Home Testing

Patients with mechanical heart valves may, with their doctor's approval, opt to take their INR measurements at home with a handheld monitor. Such "self-testers" must first learn how to conduct the tests from a certified health educator. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees healthcare reimbursement, has approved coverage of charges for anticoagulation monitoring via at-home testing since such testing became available.

To find out more about potential coverage for at-home testing through CMS or private insurance, request a PST patient information kit or call 1-800-779-7616.

As the American population ages, the national risk for heart valve disease is expected to increase--leading to greater incidence of valve replacement, an increased use of anticoagulants, and an increased need for monitoring that therapy.

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