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April 27, 2016

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Chances are you or someone you know has high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension. It is one of the most common medical conditions in the world. According to the CDC, about 1 of 3 U.S. adults – 67 million people – has high blood pressure. It was the primary or contributing cause to more than 360,000 American deaths in 2010; that is approximately 1,000 deaths per day. Understanding your BP numbers, knowing your risk level, and implementing healthy habits are all key factors to lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is the force of blood on walls of your blood vessels. While it is perfectly normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day, it is unhealthy for it to be consistently high. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). There are two numbers associated with BP, systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure (the top number) is the force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood out of the heart. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is the force that occurs when the heart relaxes between beats. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, high blood pressure measures higher than 140/90 mmHg, pre-hypertension between 120/80 and 139/89 and normal 120/80 or less. When a person has high blood pressure, his heart has to work too hard, the walls of the arteries harden, and it can cause the brain to hemorrhage or kidneys to fail. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart and kidney disease, stroke, and blindness. Overall, men and women are just about equally likely to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes but as they age, women are more likely. 72% of men and 80% of women will develop high blood pressure if they live to be 75 or older. In addition to age, race and ethnicity are risk factors. African Americans develop high blood pressure more frequently and at an earlier age than whites or Hispanics. The CDC states that uncontrolled high blood pressure among African American men aged 20 and older is 59.7%; compared to 47% of white in the same age category. Uncontrolled hypertension among African American women is 47.3% compared to 43.2% for white women. Factors such as age, race, and ethnicity cannot be controlled. Lifestyle factors, however, can be controlled. Healthy habits can lower your BP and significantly lower your risk for disease. The National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following healthy habits: See your doctor on a regular basis. If you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about a BP goal and the game plan for reaching it. Take your medications daily. If you are on a BP medication, take it exactly as prescribed. If it not working, discuss other medication and timing options. Quit smoking. (or if you don’t smoke, don’t start) Follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet – this is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat daily, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It is low in sodium, added sugars, and fats. Move everyday – 20-30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily will lower your blood pressure. For example, this could be a good walk, pulling weeds in the garden, cleaning your house…the key is move, don’t sit. Research shows that even several shorter (1-2 minute) brisk walks throughout the day are beneficial. Manage stress. Reduce stress through exercise, time with family or friends, meditation or quiet time, hobbies, and time/activity management (saying no when necessary). Limit alcohol consumption – no more than one drink each day for women and two for men. For more information about high blood pressure, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HighBloodPressure/. To learn how to lower your blood pressure with the DASH diet, go to: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf. This is an excellent resource that gives you step by step instructions to help you gradually change your diet. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

April 21, 2016

Allergy Season Is Upon Us

It has started. Folks are rubbing their eyes, sneezing, and grabbing the tissues. Allergy season is here - an annual occurrence of plentiful pollen and mold that for some people triggers an allergic reaction. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), approximately 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. Those allergies can range from foods and additives to trees and plants. This time of year many suffer from allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever. It is a common condition in the spring and summer months that causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes and itching of the nose, eyes or the roof of the mouth. In spring, the allergens floating around tend to be from tree pollens. Summer brings the grass and weed pollens, and fall finds the ragweed in full bloom. If you are suffering all season, you may have sensitivity to all these plant pollens. Mold is another common outdoor allergen. It can be found in rotting logs, hay, mulches, commercial peat moss, compost piles and leaf litter. Not good news for sneezing, snuffling, suffering gardeners out there. This allergy is usually worse during rainy weather. In addition, all these outdoor allergies can be made worse by windy conditions and humidity. Treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis varies from person to person. Some find relief with over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays. Other allergy sufferers find that a trip to the doctor’s office is well worth the effort, as there are some treatments available by prescription that can significantly relieve the symptoms. Before starting any course of treatment, speak with your physician and pharmacist as some allergy medications, both OTC and prescription, can negatively interact with other medications. Besides medications, there are practical things you can do to limit your exposure to pollens and molds. The ACAAI recommends the following: Keep windows closed at night to keep those allergens out. If you have air conditioning, better to use it as it cleans, cools, and dries the air. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider purchasing a unit just for the bedroom. Keep your car windows closed. Take any prescribed allergy medicines per physician instructions even if you are feeling better on any given day. If at all possible, have someone else mow grass or rake leaves as these activities stir up molds and pollens tremendously; or wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing outdoor chores. Be sure to take appropriate medication beforehand. Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding as pollens and mold spores can collect on the fabric. Eliminate indoor plants if you are allergic to mold. Damp soil harbors mold. Limit exposure on mornings that are especially warm and dry or days that are dry and windy as these will usually be high pollen count days. Minimize touch with items that have come in contact with pollen, such as pets and people that have spent a large amount of time outdoors. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, and in severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high. If you’re traveling, check allergy forecasts for your destination. Monitor pollen and mold counts via newspaper, radio, or internet reports. Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors. For more information about allergies, go to the: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at http://acaai.org or the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at http://www.aaaai.org. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

April 18, 2016

Noyes Honors Volunteers

On April 12th, Noyes Hospital honored 100 hospital volunteers along with members of the Noyes Auxiliary, Board of Directors and Foundation Boards, with a reception at the hospital. Speaking at the event were Amy Pollard, President and CEO and Leslie L. Cole, Jr., Chairperson, Noyes Health Board of Directors. Noyes volunteers donated 11,860 hours to the Noyes community in 2015! An independent sector has placed the value of a volunteer at $26.86 an hour. For Noyes, this translates to $318,560! 26 volunteers were recognized for accumulating 250+ hours of volunteer time in 2015. This year’s theme was “Volunteers Giving Time & Touching Hearts.” Noyes volunteers serve in many different capacities and come from diverse backgrounds, lives rich with stories which include pain, difficulties and hardships. Yet these volunteers serve with a grateful heart, giving back to their community despite their own personal losses. The reception highlighted the life-story of three volunteers: Bill Griffin, Graham Frazer, and Helen Lent. Bill has been the Noyes Chaplain Volunteer Leader for the past 10 years As a young man, Bill suffered an injury while serving in the army and spent 9 months in the hospital. While there, he saw that many people did not have any visitors. Later in life, this sparked his interest to go through training to become a hospital chaplain. Noyes is grateful for Bill and his team of 7 Chaplain Volunteers who provide a spiritual dimension of care and support, ministering to the sick or dying. Graham Frazer was recognized for donating over 1,000 hours in volunteer time each year to Noyes. Graham is a long time resident of the Dansville community and has been with Noyes Hospital as a volunteer for the past 6 years. Despite deep personal losses, including the loss of a daughter to a drunk driver, Graham chooses to spend his time giving back to the community. Former owner of the local Chrysler dealership, he currently volunteers 4-5 days a week in the Engineering Department and also serves as a Noyes Board of Directors member for the past 13 years. Amy Pollard, President and CEO, recognized Helen Lent who has volunteered with Noyes Spice Box Gift Shop since it opened in 2006. Helen is no stranger to pain. She lost a husband and daughter and so the opportunity to volunteer at Noyes, using her business experience to help get the new gift shop up and running in 2006, was a blessing to her and a huge help to staff. During a difficult time when her daughter was going through cancer treatment at Strong, Helen said, “the volunteers at the gift shop are like family to me – they are all supportive of each other through hard times and through joyful times.” Helen shared, “Being a volunteer is good for people and everyone has different experiences in life that they can contribute as a volunteer.” Graham Frazer also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, along with 40 other Noyes volunteers. The President’s Volunteer Service Award encourages U.S. citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition. It is a tremendous honor to receive this award. Even though volunteers may not seek recognition, their example can deliver a powerful message that encourages others to take action in their communities. The mission of Noyes volunteers is to offer an extra dimension of care and support to patients and their families, visitors and Noyes Hospital Staff. Noyes Volunteers provide assistance in many areas throughout the hospital, including: Human Resources, E.A.R.S. Lifeline, Physician Services, Gift Shop and Coffee Bar, Chaplain Program, Front Desk, Blood Pressure Clinics, Engineering, Medical Library, Living Healthy workshop facilitators, in-home respite, the “Noyes Welcome Team” who greets visitors and patients, gives directions, and assists with wheelchairs in Patient Registration in Geneseo and Dansville. If you are interested in learning more about Noyes Volunteer opportunities, contact Christa Barrows, Volunteer Coordinator at 335-4358 or email: cbarrows@noyeshealth.org or visit www.noyes-health.org/volunteer-support to complete a Volunteer application.... Read More

April 14, 2016

STD Awareness Month

There is no anecdote to introduce this topic only startling statistics that paint a serious picture. April is Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Awareness month. The CDC and World Health Organization recently released some numbers that illustrate a serious epidemic and its consequences. Globally, more than 1 million new STDs are acquired every day. There are 20 million new STDs each year in the United States; that is, almost 55,000 new cases each day. The CDC states that for the first time in nearly a decade, rates for three of the most common STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) all increased at the same time. There are more than 110 million STDs overall among men and women nationwide (this includes both new and existing infections.) American youth, ages 15-24, make up just 27% of the sexually active population but account for 50% of the 20 million new STDs each year. Young people, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men continue to be at greatest risk for infection. Out of the eight most common sexually transmitted diseases, four are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. The other four are viral infections and are incurable: hepatitis B (HBV), herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes), HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). The issue, however, is not simply whether it is curable or incurable; it is – do people know they have a STD and are they are being treated. 80% of people who have a STD experience no noticeable symptoms. Because they are not feeling ill, they quite often do not get screened. The STD in the meantime may be causing damage. In addition, the STD may be passed onto a partner. For example, 200,000 cases of gonorrhea where diagnosed and reported among 15-24 year olds last year. The CDC estimates that in reality there were 570,000 total new gonorrhea cases in that age group. Likewise, 1 million youth were diagnosed and reported to have chlamydia. Again, the CDC estimates the actual number to be 1.8 million cases. Any STD can have health consequences ranging from discharge from the vagina or penis and a burning sensation while urinating to infertility and cancer. Because many of these infections go undetected, people, especially young women, are at risk for long-term health issues. The most common STD, for instance, is HPV. There are over 100 strains of the HPV virus. About 90% of the HPV infections will go away on their own within two years. Some of the HPV strains, however, will lead to genital warts or cervical cancer. Women are also disproportionately affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea. Undiagnosed and untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can spread to a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). While some women with PID experience abdominal and pelvic pain, others have no symptoms. With or without symptoms, PID can cause permanent damage including long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus). Undiagnosed STDs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year. In addition, lifelong infections such as Herpes Simplex 2 (HSV-2), HBV, and HIV have potentially severe consequences. HSV-2 can lead to painful chronic infection, miscarriage or premature birth, and fatal infection in newborns. HBV can lead to cirrhosis. HIV weakens the immune system increasing the infected person’s susceptibility to a number of diseases. HIV can also lead to AIDS. Almost 18,000 people in the United States die with AIDS each year. Sexually transmitted diseases have a profound effect on society. The numbers are staggering and the short and long-term consequences are painful and potentially deadly. The CDC recommends the following steps to prevent a sexually transmitted disease: Abstain from sexual relations (vaginal, anal, and oral) – The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. Mutual monogamy – Agree to have sex with only one person who also agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure both parties get tested to know for sure that neither has a STD. Talk with your partner – Reveal your history and risk level to your partner. Discuss getting tested together. Use condoms – correctly every time you have sex, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Get vaccinated for HPV – the vaccine can help you avoid HPV related health problems such as genital warts and some cancers. Get tested – Even if you have only had one partner or only engaged in sexual activity once. Get treated if you have a STD. This is a very complex health issue that requires education and open, frank conversations. To learn more about sexually transmitted diseases, risks, symptoms, effects, and treatments, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/std/. To learn more about STD screening, speak with your physician or contact the Livingston County Department of Health’s Reproductive Health Center at 585-243-7540 or 1-800-243-9240. The Reproductive Health Center has three locations in Mount Morris, Avon, and Dansville. All offer low-cost or no-cost STD and HIV testing. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

April 12, 2016

Allegany County Stampede 4H Club Members Donate to the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center

The Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital lobby was a buzz Friday, April 8th, with 4-Hers from Allegany County making an important delivery. They were here to donate 15 Caring Totes that they had raised funds for and filled, through contributions, with items that will help cancer patients feel a little more comfortable while receiving treatment when the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center opens at the end of 2016 or early 2017 in Dansville. The colorful totes were accepted by Noyes Health President and CEO, Amy Pollard and Foundation Chairman, Jon Shay. As Amy Pollard chatted with the 4-Hers she mentioned how thankful she was for 4-Her’s generosity and invited the club to be present for the grand opening. Jon Shay told the young people how important it was to begin giving back to your community at a young age. The 4Hers brought along a binder of thank-you notes they had received from organizations that had been the recipients of the club’s many community service projects. The club’s main purpose if working with and riding horses, but the leaders know the importance of giving back and have instilled this mission into the program. The club is open to all ages and meets monthly to carry out their goal of; horsemanship, a general respect for animals, and promotion of community pride. Many of the club’s members have gone on for state completion each year. The Stampede 4H Club is not new to giving back. Beside competing at the Allegany County Fair each year with their animals and exhibits, organizations that have benefitted from their volunteerism and fundraising have been, St. Judes “Saddle Up” Ride, Pony Rides for the children of Whitsville, Annual Fishing Derby, Angelica Ambulance, Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, and Finger Lakes SPCA. Club members are; John Cox, Collin Cox, Tyler Cox, Regina Dougherty, Steven Dougherty, Randy Wilson, Paris Billings, Gina Billings, Jarrett Billings, Colten Billings, Paige Stebbins, Grady Fleming, Jolene Lucas, Ali Wojtkowiak, Ryan Wojtkowiak, Zoe Wojtkowiak and Gabby Stevens. Leaders are; Peggie Blamine, Marie Dougherty and Heather Cox. For more information or a tour of the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center project visit www.noyes-health.org, Noyes Health Facebook Page or contact Cynthia Oswald, Director of PR/Foundation coswald@noyeshealth.com or 585-335-4323. ... Read More

April 12, 2016

Noyes Health Celebrates Physical Therapy New Space at Hospital in Dansville

Please join Noyes Health in congratulating our Physical Therapy Department on their new Physical Therapy space at the hospital in Dansville! The new space for Physical Therapy is part of the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center project, as the previous Physical Therapy department will be renovated and used for Medical Oncology. A Ribbon-Cutting event and a Community Open House were held on April 8th and 9th. The new area provides a larger waiting area, offices, a large exercise space, and several private treatment rooms. At Noyes Health Physical Therapy we treat a wide array of orthopedic and neuromuscular conditions with exercise, manual therapy, patient education, and modalities, such as electrical stimulation, traction, and ultrasound. In many cases, we help individuals avoid surgery, decrease or abolish long term medication use, return to work or sport, recover from surgery, and generally live a healthier life with less pain! Noyes Health Physical Therapy staff in both Dansville and Geneseo locations includes; Glenn Baughman, OT; Timothy Bressler, COTA; Giles Churchman, PTA; Michael Donegan, MHA, PT, DPT; Nicole Fink, OT, CHT; Sheila Greer, SLP; Dawn Johnston, PTA; Jessica Kershner, MSPT; Paul Kreher, MSPT; Zachary Mix, PT, DPT; Andrea Pearson, PT; Paula Rocha, PT; Dianne Trickey-Rokenbrod, OTD; Shelly Trim, PTA; and Marsha Wallace, PT. And, the friendly support staff includes: Linda Naples in Geneseo and Hayley Kruchten in Dansville. Physical Therapy started as a profession in the early part of the last century. The polio epidemic brought about the need for formalized muscle strength testing and re-education in 1916. In 1917, as the U.S. entered WWI, the army recognized the need to rehabilitate wounded soldiers. The Division of Special Hospitals and Physical Reconstruction developed 15 "reconstruction aide" training programs, and this later developed into the profession of Physical Therapy. Today, there are over 204,000 licensed Physical Therapists in the U.S. We are proud to say we have some of the best and brightest here at Noyes Health! Thank you to our Physical Therapy Team for your dedication to the profession and the community you serve. For more information or a tour of Noyes Health Physical Therapy, visit www.noyes-health.org, Noyes Health’s Facebook Page, or contact Michael Donegan, Director of Diagnostic and Rehab Services, at mdonegan@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4561. ... Read More

April 6, 2016

Alcohol Awareness

When I speak to a room full of college students, I often say, “Raise your hand if you have never been affected by excessive alcohol use – never by you, a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance.” I’ve been posing that scenario since the 1990s and have yet to have anyone raise a hand. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in America. It affects the economy, society, and family. According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths annually in the U.S. and $249 billion in economic costs including healthcare, workplace productivity, vehicle collision, and criminal justice costs. Approximately, 2,200 Americans died last year from alcohol poisoning; that is six deaths per day. Out of those 2,200, 75% were adults ages 35-64 and 75% were men. April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a perfect time to reflect on the definition of alcohol abuse, the staggering health consequences, and preventive measures. An alcoholic drink is measured in quantity and alcohol percentage. Because distilled spirits such as vodka or whiskey contain a higher percentage of alcohol, their serving sizes are smaller. So a 12 ounce beer, an 8 ounce malt liquor, a 5 ounce wine and a 1.5 ounce distilled spirit are all considered one serving. Contrary to popular opinion, most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent. Most U.S. adults, who drink, do not drink every day. It is therefore, more important, to look at the amount a person drinks on the days he or she drinks. Excessive use can be the result of binge or heavy drinking by people who cannot drink in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for a woman or two per day for a man; however, excessive alcohol use includes the following: Binge drinking – 4 or more alcoholic beverages per occasion for a female or 5 or more drinks per occasion for a male Heavy drinking – consuming 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week for a female or 15 or more week for a male Any drinking by a pregnant woman Any drinking by a person under the age of 21 Whether an individual occasionally drinks excessively or drinks heavily every day, there are short and long-term health risks. The CDC lists the following short-term risks that are most often the result of binge drinking: Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns. Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels. Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, can lead to development of long-term chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance. Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment. Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism While the health risks are clear, confusion abounds in the popular press regarding the potential health benefits of alcohol consumption. Not so many years ago, it was reported that alcohol is healthy for you, most notably red wine for the heart. Subsequent studies have called that wisdom into question. Between the years of 2009 and 2015, several researchers looked at the methodology and data from those original studies. The conclusion according to the CDC is that “Although past studies have indicated that moderate alcohol consumption has protective health benefits (e.g., reducing risk of heart disease), recent studies show this may not be true. While some studies have found improved health outcomes among moderate drinkers, it’s impossible to conclude whether these improved outcomes are due to moderate alcohol consumption or other differences in behaviors or genetics between people who drink moderately and people who don’t.” The current recommendation, therefore, is that no one should be drinking for potential health benefits; and if one drinks, it should be limited to one drink per day for women and two per day for men. In addition, some people should not drink at all including: pregnant women, anyone under the age of 21, those who have medical conditions that would worsen with alcohol, drivers or those participating in activities that require alertness and coordination, or anyone taking an over-the-counter medication or prescription that interacts adversely with alcohol. For more information about recommended guidelines and risks, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm. To learn more about alcohol, its effects, and resources for you or a loved one, contact the Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse of Livingston County at: http://casaoflc.org/ or call the CASA Geneseo office at 585-991-5012 or the Dansville office at 585-335-5052. ... Read More

March 31, 2016

Benefits of Outdoor Play

My fondest childhood memories are of playing outside. I was fortunate to grow up in the Honeoye valley where creek beds, woods, and the lake were my playground. Hours were spent pretending, hiking, climbing, and getting dirty. My mom made my sisters and I go outside pretty much every day, year round to “get the stink blown off us.” Translation - go outside, get your energy out, explore, and when you’re tired and hungry, come back! Turns out, my mom instinctively knew what science now confirms – that is, outdoor play is essential to a child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being. According to Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Play in nature provides children with opportunities for self-directed physical activity that can help promote physical health and reduce obesity. Unlike team sports, individual play in nature allows the child to tailor exercise to his or her own interests and abilities, often in conjunction with creative efforts. The great outdoors can move children away from the passive entertainment of computers and TV and into an interactive forum that engages both mind and body.” That is, playing outside by oneself or with a few friends is good for the body and imagination. The CDC, the AAP, and numerous other health and educational institutions now recommend increased outdoor play for all children. This push is based on alarming statistics and trends; the most sobering of these being obesity and ADHD statistics. According to the CDC, the overall childhood obesity rate is almost 18%. The most recent CDC numbers indicate that 8.4% of 2- to 5-year-olds are obese compared with 17.7% of 6- to11-year-olds and 20.5% of 12- to 19-year-olds. In addition, many children struggle with behavioral and school issues as a result of ADHD. 11% of American children, ages 4-17, have been diagnosed with ADHD, a 42% increase over the past 8 years. At the same time these numbers were increasing, the level of outdoor play was decreasing. AUniversity of Michigan Institute for Social Research study compared data from 1981-1982 with numbers from 2002-2003. What they found is that the average boy or girl spent about 15 minutes per day playing outside in the early 80s and by 2002-03, that time was down to 4-7 minutes per day. In fact, a Children and Nature Network report, noted that by 2008, only 6% of children, ages 9-13, played outside independently. By looking at all these trends, researchers are now seeing significant connections between the increase in obesity and ADHD and the limited time in good old-fashioned outdoor play free of adult intervention. Childhood obesity is on the rise. While processed, calorie-laden, nutrient poor diets are one reason for this increase, lack of activity is the other major cause. Children spend on average 7 hours per day on media including TV, computers, phones, and other electronic devices. Studies have proven that excessive use of electronic devices leads to a myriad of issues including attention probllay may be an exceptional way to increase physical activity levels in children, which is one important strategy in the resolution of the obesity epidemic.” While the connection between outdoor play and weight management is common sense, the link to ADHD was not obvious until the past few years. A number of studies have now shown the correlation between outdoor, green space activity and a lessening of ADHD and hyperactivity symptoms. One of the most notable was a 2011 University of Illinois study published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Researchers found that ADHD diagnosed children who regularly played in outdoor settings with lots of green (grass and trees, for example) had milder ADHD symptoms than those who played indoors or on built outdoor environments (playgrounds). The study’s authors noted that the findings are correlational. This means that the findings alone do not prove that routine playtime in green space reduces symptom severity. The University of Illinois publication noted, however, that “in light of all the previous studies showing a cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to nature and improved concentration and impulse control, it is reasonably safe to guess that that’s true here as well.” Playing outside is not the panacea to all ills but it is definitely part of the solution. Children who play outside are less stressed, enjoy enhanced friendships, and even perform better on critical thinking tests. Keeping these benefits in mind, the American Academy of Pediatricians now recommends 60 minutes daily of unstructured free play (in or outdoors without media). To top it off, playing outside is just good old-fashioned fun! Psychcentral.com blogger, Margarita Tartakovsky recommends the following outdoor activities for kids with ADHD (or any kid for that matter): Structured and simple activities – tag, yoga, kickball, or frisbee Team sports – if your child likes team sports, consider: soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, football, or tennis. Individual activities – if your child likes individual sports, try running, swimming, biking, or rock climbing. Natural activities – children are curious, engage them in bird watching, hunting for bugs, a nature scavenger hunt (find an acorn, find a small white rock, etc.), or take them hiking Yard work – make chores a family fun event – children can help with fence painting, raking leaves and grass, pulling weeds, hauling mulch, and planting seeds Nature as a classroom – for some kiddos, reading or doing math might be easier out in the yard free of a desk or indoor “rules” – experiment and see what works for your child. For more information on the benefits of outdoor play, visit the National Wildlife Federation at: http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature.aspx . For a list of fun outdoor kid activities, check out: http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/03/50-simple-outdoor-activities-for-kids.html. If all else fails, talk with a Grandma or Grandpa and ask them what they did as kids for fun outside! Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

March 25, 2016

Colorectal Screening

True confessions time – I am over 50 and have not had colorectal screening yet. Like many, I have a lengthy list of excuses…”I feel fine,” “I don’t have time,” “You are going to put that thing where?!,” and “Oh, but that prep” were rationalizations that came out my mouth. I finally made my appointment this month after the sobering news that the president of my alma mater passed away from colon cancer at the age of 52. While some of you are screaming TMI (too much information), others of you realize the validity and benefits of colorectal screening. Indeed, colorectal screening is critical and should start at age 50 and continue until age 75 for most men and women. The single biggest risk factor for colorectal cancer is age and there is no escaping that! According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, colorectal cancer is the number two cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. In the same breath, the five-year survival rate is 90% if cancer is found at the local (early) stage. But sadly, only 39% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, partly due to low testing rates. Screening is important because it can find polyps (abnormal growths). Those growths can then be removed before turning into cancer. Currently, 28 million Americans are not up-to-date on screening. In New York alone, an estimated 1.2 million have never been tested. Approximately, 51,000 people in the U.S. die from colorectal cancer each year and recommended screening could prevent at least 60% of these deaths! Understanding the screening options and leading a healthy lifestyle can substantially lower your risk. There are several colorectal cancer screening choices for average-risk men and women ages 50-75: High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) – This at-home test should be done once a year. The patient sends a stool sample to a doctor’s office or lab. It looks for hidden blood in stool. Positive results should be followed up by a colonoscopy. OR Flexible sigmoidoscopy – The doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and lower third of the colon. This should be done every 5 years with a high-sensitivity FOBT or every 3 years by itself. OR Colonoscopy – The doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and the entire colon and removes polyps during the same procedure. This should be done every 10 years. Which screening is best for you? Robert Smith, MD with the American Cancer Society recently commented, “We have a saying, the best test for colorectal cancer screening is the one that gets done.” Discuss the options with your physician to determine what makes the most sense for you. If you or a close relative have: inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis; a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps; a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome), contact your physician. You may need to start screening before age 50 and be tested more often than other people. In addition to screening, a healthy lifestyle lowers your risk not only for colorectal cancer but for other cancers and chronic diseases as well. The American Cancer Society suggests the following management strategies. DO: Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, veggies, dairy, and lean proteins. Manage your weight. A healthy Body Mass Index (weight to height proportion) is 18-25. (to calculate your BMI, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html Stay active. Walk, exercise, and play on a daily basis. Stop smoking. LIMIT: Processed foods, junk foods, fatty meats, and refined sugar products like cookies, candy, and cake. Screen and couch time. According to a new Nielsen report, Americans spend almost 8 hours per day with some kind of screen device. Limiting screen time may improve physical and psychological health. Alcohol and soda. Colorectal screening is now on my calendar. The benefits far outweigh any time issues, embarrassment, or mild discomfort. If you would like more information about screening, go to: New York State’s Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/colorectal/ or locally, call the Cancer Services Program of Livingston and Wyoming Counties at 800-588-8670. If you are uninsured, the Cancer Services Program can also assist you with free screenings as well as insurance information. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

March 21, 2016

Safety in the Spring

The temperatures are warming and the spring yard work season is now upon us. The chore list is never ending - gutters to clean, lawn mowers to power up, windows to wash, remnants of fall leaves to rake, and weeds to pull. With all those tasks, you can count on sore muscles for sure and in some cases, injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 35,000 people injured themselves using a step ladder in 2010 and more than 127,000 were injured while operating a lawn mower. And those numbers do not reflect the strained backs, twisted ankles, sunburns, and other common injuries incurred while tending to the lawn, house, and garden beds. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute offer the following tips to keep you healthy and fit as you gear up for the yard work season: Warm Up After hibernating through the winter, make sure you are limber before you tackle the yard. Some gentle stretches include trunk rotations for the back, bringing your knee up to your chest to stretch your lower back and legs, and reaching above your head with hands locked to stretch arms and shoulders. Take a short walk around the yard to loosen up the muscles and to survey what needs to be done. Dress to Protect Use insect repellant and sunscreen with sun protective factor of 15 or higher. Remember hazardous UV exposure is still possible on a cloudy or hazy day. Wear gloves and safety glasses to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals such as weed or insect killer. Wear a hat with a wide rim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck. Always check your clothes and body for ticks after working outdoors. Lift with Care – Think Before You Lift Heavy Objects To avoid back injuries, separate your feet, shoulder-width apart and keep your back upright and bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles. Lift with your leg muscles as you stand up. Know your limitations. Get help with items that are too big, heavy, or oddly shaped. Consider using a cart or wheelbarrow to move items, dirt, or debris. Ladder Use When washing windows, painting, cleaning gutters, and trimming trees, always place your ladder on a firm level surface. In addition: Never place a ladder on ground or flooring that is uneven, soft, or wet. Over-reaching or leaning too far to one side can make you lose balance and fall. Be aware of where you are on the ladder. Your bellybutton should not go beyond the sides of the ladder. Have someone spot you when you are on a ladder. Go slowly to make sure you touch each step solidly as you ascend or descend the ladder. Inside, be sure to use a sturdy step stool instead of the counter or furniture to reach high areas. Mowing the Lawn You can severely injure or kill a child with a lawn mower - in forward or reverse - with the blades engaged, or when objects are hit and thrown by the spinning blades. Be sure to wear proper footwear and eyewear as well as ear protection. Never give rides. A child may fall off the mower and into the spinning blades. Giving rides may also cause the child to be attracted to the mower, and the child may later approach without being seen. Use extreme caution in reverse. Keep alert for anyone who may enter the mowing area. Always look down and behind before and while backing up. Know where your kids are. Keep kids away from the mowing area. Have adult supervision to prevent them from approaching the mower before you have finished. Stop mowing if a child approaches the mowing area. Read safety instructions and remember to keep the keys to your mower away from children. Use the Right Tools and Take Breaks There will be less strain on your arms and back if you choose tools with larger, padded, or curved handles. Wear nonslip work gloves to prevent blisters and to add protection from sticks and thorns. When using tools with cords, be sure they are properly grounded and keep them from walkways to avoid tripping. Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. Change positions often to avoid repetitive motions that can cause injuries. For example, if you are pulling weeds – pull for 10 minutes, stand, stretch, and change position. For more information about safety and healthy gardening, go to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute site at http://opei.org/ or click on the CDC’s site at http://www.cdc.gov/family/gardening/. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

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