Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

**Folic Acid and Birth Defects

This is an article by the public health depeartment of California.  I put it here because this is something I did not know, the relationship between folic acid and the prevention of birth defects, but which is important to know.  Especially since it is recommended to take folic acid for a month before pregnancy, while most people don't visit the MD until several months after becoming pregnant.;postID=4351013393326151496

Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 5 - 11, 2014

Updated January 3, 2014
Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from multi-vitamins or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine by 50% to 70%. Every woman needs folic acid every day, whether she’s planning to get pregnant or not, for the healthy new cells the body makes daily.

The CDC recommends that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily at least one month before getting pregnant from:
  • Fortified foods like grains, pastas or breakfast cereals
  • Daily multi-vitamin
  • Eating a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet
The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.

Multivitamins and folic acid pills can be found at most local pharmacy, grocery, or discount stores. Check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 micrograms (mcg).

**Schizophrenia: Drug Free Options?

Are there drug free treatments or drug free options for schizophrenia.  Dr. Ed Zimney says no.
He compares schizophrenia to insulin dependent diabetes, which can be very scary if someone neglects to take insulin, and so would it be scary if someone stops taking medications for schizophrenia.  The reason is that without medications, there is the likelihood that relapse will occur, if not in a week, it will in a month or two.  With each relapse, the base line functioning goes down, and Dr. Zimney points out that brain cells can be killed, which will never come back.
Medications, even with their side effects, is the only treatment for schizophrenia which has been shown to be effective.
That said, rehab options and case management options are an important part of treament.  (My addition.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

**Mental Health Stigma

Mental Health Stigma can be costly.  It often prevents people who could really benefit from treatment, from actually getting the treatment they need because they are worried what others might say.  This can lead to hospitalization, untreated mental health symptoms which can be very uncomfortable, more costly treatments, and sometimes even death. May we be considerate of others, and show respect for all people.
This flyer is from Maryland Mental Hygiene Association

Monday, June 23, 2014

**Eye Care

This is an email from work.
…by getting your eyes examined.
Did you know that, by going for your annual eye exam, your vision health provider can detect risk factors for stroke, heart disease and hypertension?
Fact is, indications of these serious conditions can be seen in your eyes long before you experience symptoms; even before they can be detected by your general practitioner! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

**Pamplet Review: Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters

Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Community Members Can Do
This pamphlet is available through the National Institute of Mental Health.  Trauma is an emotionally painful, shocking, stressful and sometimes life-theatening experience that may involve physical injuries but also can happen without physical injury.  (It includes witnessing events.)  This pamphlet lists the most common responses to trauma by age:
Children 5 and under: Facial expressions of fear, Clinging to parent or caregiver, crying or screaming, moving aimlessly, whimpering or trembling, returning to behaviors common to being younger, bedwetting, being afraid of the dark.
Children 6 to 11: isolating themselves, becoming quiet around friends, family and teachers, having nightmares or other sleep problems, refusing to go to bed, having outburst of anger, becoming irritable, starting fights, being unable to concentrate, refusing to go to school, complaining of physical problems, becoming depressed, feeling numb, doing poorly with school and homework, loss of interest.
Adolescents 12 to 17: Having flashbacks to the event, having nightmares or other slep problems, avoiding reminders of the event, using or abusing drugs, being disruptive, disrespectful or behaving destructively, being depressed, being angry, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activity, having suicidal thoughts.
In then provides ideas of what community members can do to help children following trauma:
Allow child to express their feelings and the event, but not forcing.  Listen to them, accept and do not argue with their feelings, help them cope with the reality of the experience.
Love and support your children, and be with them if possible.
Community members should identify and address their own feelings.
Use their buildings as gathering places.
Help identify resources and emphasize community strengths and resources that sustain hope. 
Reduce other stressors, avoid frequent moving, school pressures, transportation problems, being hungry.
Community members should help children that continue to show problematic behaviors find appropriate help.  Behaviors which should alert to finding help include: refusing to go places that remind them of the event, emotional numbness, behaving dangerously, unexplained anger/rage, sleep problems, thoughts of suicide. 
Important does: get food and water, get a safe place to stay, gel help from doctor if needed, contact loved ones, keep children with family, understand what happened and what is being done, know where to get help, meet your family’s needs.
Important don’ts: force people to tell their stories, probe for person details, say things like “It will be OK.” Say people deserved to suffer, tell others how others should feel or act, be negative
I was able to go to Los Angeles after the Northridge Earthquake and was located in a FEMA Center.  Mostly what we did was make sure people had water.  Coors had supplied water bottles for people to take.  We did anything to help people feel like they had a sense of control.  During this time I was also on the phone, and supported some of the people had experienced this trauma with phone support, the same for Katrina and other disasters.  Sometimes just a listening ear, and anything supportive statement so help the individual feel they have some control, when things don’t always make sense.
Remember, if you are worried, voice your worry.  It is OK to ask someone if they are contemplating suicide. 
Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis line: 1-855-278-4204
National Suicide prevention line 1-800-273-talk (8255)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

**Diabetic Health: Where I Am At

This is my reaction and self report of an article from Everyday Health called "Seven 'Must Dos' to Improve You Diabetic Health."
It first indicates decisions with regards to eating healthy, being active, taking your medication, and maintaining a positive attitude are important.  In then gives seven ideas as to how to do this:
Say "Bye Bye" to Diets:  By this they are saying that portion control and switching a few foods for healthier foods should be all that is needed.  Too often we diet, and then gain back more than we lost.  I generally follow this principle, but have some issues with portion control.  However I have avoided for the most part any bounce back, and over the last several years my weight is down twenty pounds and stayed there.  I would like to loss some more however.  My next goal is 259.  I got there once and Now want to get there again and then break that barrier.
Get "the Skinny" on Fat:  They point out that diets too high in carbs are not really that great (especially diabetics,)  It is OK to eat healthy proteins and fats.
Shun "Made for Diabetics" Food: Special foods are usually not food for you.  Read an article on Facebook about artificial sweeteners that was scary.  Natural and whole grain foods are the best.
Know How to Prevent or Delay Diabetic Complications:  This is talking about self inspection of feet, wearing shoes, frequent foot and eye exams.  But most importantly it is talking about maintaining your blood sugar numbers.  My afternoon blood count is usually pretty good.  However my morning is not where it should be.
Find and Activity that Fits You  I enjoy basketball, but rarely play.  I also like to walk, when I have energy.  I stopped playing basketball when my shoulder hurt.  It is doing better so I need to get back into playing.
Keep Track of your Medicines and Supplies:  When I take my medicines correctly, my blood sugar numbers are better.  I usually do well, but sometimes forget p.m. pills especially on weekends.
Know that YOU are the most Important Member of your Medical Team:  I know this.  Diabetes clinic wanted to schedule with me and I never called back.  My goal is to follow through with this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

**Eight Ideas to Lose Weight

Here is another bit of advice from Everyday Health.  This is some key pointers to losing weight and keeping it off.  1. Portion Control.  This is a big one for me and can sabotage and diet.  2. Eat slowly, it takes a while for your body to tell you you are full.  3.  Eat your vegetables first.  Never tried that.  4. Don't ski[ meals.  If you do your body will think it is starving and it is hard not to overeat when you are starving.  5.  Drink plenty of water.  6. Switch to healthy snacks.  This is something our family struggles with.  7.  Exercise as often as you can.  Exercise is key, and the only way to get fit.  8.  Keep a record.  What and important art of the whole process.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

**Reno Smells Like a Cigarette: Second Hand Smoke

I have visited Reno a couple times this year, and  both times the thing I remember most is that Reno smells like a cigarette.  In January I visited Circus Circus, and spent my time with the kids on the family level; but the smoke seeped through the floor where the casino was below, and the place reeked of smoke.  It seemed to me it had penetrated the floor and the walls and the entire building, to where I imagine they are never going to get the smell out.  Circus Circus will always smell of smoke.  The second time I was just passing through, and we stopped for gas.  The gas station also had a casino area and hotel.  This is common in Nevada.  However the hall which allowed an easy bypass was under construction.  We had to go around the entire building and come in the other side to get to the rest rooms, or we could have gone through the casino, which I didn't do with Tony being with me.  However we did catch a whiff of the cigarette smell coming from the casino. 
I guess Nevada is meant to appeal to a different type of people than I am.  It is because of this that the family theme parks in Reno and Las Vegas are a bit of a puzzle to me.  How do you appeal to families when you allow everyone to smoke everyplace.  It does not make a very health environment for children.
Second hand smoke can result in lower birth weight, and higher incidence of SIDS.  It also can contribute to ear infection, respiratory ailments, coughs and tooth decay in children.  It is very bad for children prone to asthma.  No matter how the market it, places that allow smoking are not friendly to children.

Monday, June 16, 2014

**Staying Motivated to Exercise

My exercise pattern has really been erratic lately.  I do know the more I exercise the better able I am to control my weight, and I need to lose; and the more consistent are my sugar numbers.
This article gives some pointers, do something new, don't call it exercise, join an outdoor club or group like hiking, biking, trail running, climbing, etc., get involved in a team sport, get a buddy and have dates a couple times a week.   The most important part is his last statement, if you have problems staying motivated "Then ask yourself this, "Which do I hate more — exercising or being uncomfortable in my own body?” I think you know the answer to that?"
I could lose 60 pounds

Friday, June 6, 2014

**Book Review: Youth Mental Health First Aid USA for Adults Assisting Young People

C 2012 Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Missouri Department of Mental Health and National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.
This book was given to me as part of a training presentation by the same name.  This training is geared towards nonprofessional people, and provides assistance so they can offer help to their family members, friends, community members or others.  It compares this program to first Aid for a physical problem.  First Aid aims to preserve life, prevent further harm, promote recovery and resiliency and provide comfort.  Mental Health First Aid is geared to promote life when a person may be a danger to themselves or others, prevent the problem from becoming worse, promote recovery, provide comfort and support and help to identify or guide a person to appropriate resources and supports.  It does this through the “Youth Mental Health first Aid Action Plan.”  This plan includes five steps which spell out ALGEE.  1) Assess for risk of suicide or harm; 2) Listen nonjudgmentally; 3) Give reassurance and information; 4) Encourage appropriate professional help; 5) Encourage self-help and other support strategies. 
It includes a section on adolescence and young adulthood, and distinguishing these transitional steps which are part of normal development from mental health issues.  It then has a very large section on different mental health issues, and how to apply this model.  These include: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, substance use and attention and disruptive behavior problems. 
It concludes with a how-to handle certain situations.  This includes suicidal thoughts, self injury, panic attacks, trauma, acute psychosis, aggressive behavior and emergencies from alcohol or drug abuse.
This workbook is a tremendous resource.  However, I would advise taking the course so as to have some practice in the techniques before trying them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

**The Power of Fruit

That regular everyday fruit is good for you.  We have heard since we were little, "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away."  This article explains that apples help to reduce bad cholesterol levels.  The also help with lungs, fighting asthma and COPD.
Other fruits it mentions that are helpful, blue berries fight fat, grapefruit helps to stabilize sugar.  Consuming 1/2 grapefruit one time a day lowers sugar levels.  Tangerines are good for your metabolism fighting sugar issues and coronary artery disease and thus reducing stroke.   Strawberries fight cancer and dried prunes are good for your bones.  Cranberries are good to fight bacteria in the mouth, and thus good for teeth.  However cranberry jellies are not always good in this regard.  Grapes are also beneficial.  White help with fighting inflammation and red grapes as an immune booster.
I know their are other healthy fruits not mentioned in this article.  Bananas are rich in potassium which is good for the heart.  Sour cherries have antioxidants and vitamin C.  If you are pregnant, oranges help with the neurological development of the baby.  Pears have lots of soluble fiber which helps the digestive track. 
A good balanced diet requires food from many different areas, but fruits are delicious and aren't we glad they are good for us too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

**Suicide Prevention

In our internal email, this suicide prevention video was mentioned.  I worked with the suicide and crisis line for three or four years.  Thee are people able to listen.  There number is now 1-855-278-4204.
A friend at work mentioned that a girl from Fremont, who goes to her daughter's high school, recently committed suicide.  Please, take advantage of the numbers offered.  Please reach out.  You are of worth.  You are precious to God.  You are precious to others.

Monday, June 2, 2014

**Five New Ways to Fight Depression from Everyday Health

Some of this ideas are totally new to me; and some are not.  Five nontraditional ways to fight depression which are best used with traditional treatments of medications and counseling.
1. Try Meditation:  A good way to do this is focus on breathing, through your nose is preferred.
2. Practice Reiki:  Never heard of this before.  It is a Japanese method of applying pressure.  It would involve going to someone, like going for a massage.  "One hour of Reiki is equivalent to hundreds of hours of meditation."
3.  Constructive Wallowing.  Instead of avoiding negative thoughts and feelings, giving your self a chance to experience the negative in a constructive way, so you can move on.
4.  Put Your Emotions on Paper.  Journalling can be very constructive and helpful.  It gives you a chance at looking at negative self talk which may be sabotaging your improvement.
5.  Try Sound Therapy.  This is more than listening to ocean or fire tapes at night; although those things can be very soothing.  There are certain sounds and tones that can stimulate the vagus nerve which can be very beneficial.  (I had never heard of that, but that is what the article says.  Also suggests learning from an expert.)

--Health and Wellness Fair

State of Wellness_Where Health Works.gif
2014 Employee Health & Wellness Fairs Start Tomorrow
Enjoy employee give aways, healthy food samples, interactive activities, photos, and much more!

Appointment times for FREE Biometric Health Screenings available at all fair locations.
Biometric screenings are a FREE, QUICK, and EASY way to find out your personal health numbers including glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.  
Register for a screening one of the following health fairs:
  • Tuesday, June 3, 10am to 2pm
Richey Training Center, 155 W. Hedding St. (corner of San Pedro St. & W. Hedding St.)
  • Thursday, June 5, 11am to 4pm
SCVMC, 751 S. Bascom Ave.
5th Floor Employee Parking Lot
  • Tuesday, June 10, 10am to 2pm
County Service Center at Berger
1555 Berger Dr., Building 2, Auditorium
  • Thursday, June 12, 10am to 2pm
SSA , 333 W. Julian St., Parking Lot & Auditorium

Sunday, June 1, 2014

**Women and Heart Attacks: Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

At my recent first aid training, they made this point two times, "Men have more heart attacks than women, women have more fatal heart attacks than men."  It would seem those two statements are contradictory, but the reason for this is that heart attacks often generate different symptoms in women than men, symptoms that are harder to recognize as a heart attack, and so women get help less often than men.  These are the list of heart attack symptoms:
First Signals: Pain or discomfort, which can come and go; it can range from a mild ache to unbearable pain,  Usually last longer than two minutes.  (Pain can by in chest, shoulder, inner arm, neck, jaw)
Lesser signals: Pain between should blades, stomach pain, no pain or discomfort but generalized weakness. (Pain between shoulder blades, abdomen)
Other signals: Sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, generalized weakness, heartburn.
Women more often have the lesser symptoms, which are not always associated with heart attack.
Risk factors over which you have no control: Heredity, male vs female, increasing age, diabetes, race.  Risk factors over which you have some control: cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, obesity, bad diet including overindulgence or excessive caffeine, and lack of exercise.
The universal sign for heart attack is when someone places their fist or hand to their chest.  They can be sleepy, agitated, restless, having bizarre behavior, violent, anything that is not normal for them.  The individuals heart is not working properly, so lack of oxygen to the brain may result in abnormal behavior.
If someone is having heart attack the best response is to call 9-11.  They need help as soon as possible.  The quicker the help the better the chance of survival and lessening the damage to the heart.