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, September 27, 2014

**Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
The effects of alcohol on a growing fetus are such that no woman pregnant, or considering pregnancy should drink alcohol.  If they are drinking alcohol, they should stop drinking until after the pregnancy so as to minimize the effects of alcohol.
The effects from alcohol vary from the most serious, fetal alcohol syndrome, and then to less severe, but still concerned symptoms such as alcohol related neurological disorders and alcohol related birth defects.  The above link gives more information on feta alcohol syndrome.  In my career doing foster care I supervised a couple children who were living with their grandmother and had fetal alcohol syndrome.  They were very difficulty with learning problems and behavioral issues.  But at the same time they were beautiful children.  That was some time ago, so they must be grown up now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

**Are Mental Health Disorders Inherited?
Interesting article which reenforces what I learned in school 30 years ago.  We can inherit a predisposition to a mental disorder.  However the predisposition is triggered by environmental issues--stress or a traumatic event.  Most mental illness manifests later in life.  So the answer to the above question is yes, there is a genetic component, but that is not everything.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

**Weight Loss Saboteurs

This is a list from Everyday Health of things which can sabotage weight loss.  Some of these things you would not suspect, while others make sense. 
Love of Late Night Television: Now here I have a problem.  I don't stay up late on week days, but I do on the weekend.  I don't watch television however.  I watch movies, or once in a while I get working on a project.  However the snack craving can sometimes hit on this nights.  The advise from this list is to tend towards healthy snacks, which is easier said than done.
Traveling for Work: I thought I was sunk, as I travel five hours daily.  But they are talking more about business travel, where you are away from home, and prone to eat at unhealthy restaurants, or snack as you travel by car.  I don't travel for work, but when I travel for visiting this is something to be concerned with as those gas station foods can pack on the calories fast. 
A Cardio Obsession: I have no worries here.  However the reason for this is because too much cardio breaks down muscle, not fat.  They suggest a combination exercise, one minute cardio ad then a minute at a slower pace, like running sprints between walks. 
Blasting the Air Conditioner: If we are forced to use mechanisms of our body to cool down, then we burn calories and can better control our weight.  Also a cooler environment seems to encourage you to eat more.  (Actually the opposite is what the say, we eat less when we are hot.)  I think resorting to a salad on hot days, or something very light, are defenses against heat.
A Jam Packed Fridge: An overloaded fridge not only leads to spoilage of food, it also seems to hide foods.  The vegetables in the cooler seem to be forgotten and we grab the easy fattening foods.
A Daily Diet Soda Habit: This one seems weird.  Diet sodas save calories.  However research shows those with the diet soda habit gain more weight.  Perhaps the reason is you later satisfy the sugar craving with other snacks.  I for the most part avoid sodas, except when I get the craving for rootbeer.
Constantly Multitasking:  This one also is a paradox.  You would think being more busy would lead to more calorie burn.  However it does lead to less thought taking towards our diet, and more ikely to choose unhealthy foods which put on weight.  Also exercise is one of the tasks that often is thrown out when people are busy.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

**Documentary Review: The Incredible Human Machine

The Incredibla Human Machine, National Geographic, 2007.
This is an incredible look at the human body.  It looks at each of the major systems, and describes the importance of that system, usually i more than one way.
It starts with skin.  Skin not only keeps us together, it is also a cooking mechanism.  The individual cells expand when we are hot, which allows for increased cooling.  Also the secret sweat, which encourages evaporation and cools us.  If not for tyhe cooling properties of skin, we would all be sunk.
It then takes a look at each of our senses.  Eyes are the gateway.  The retina of the eye is so thin, yet it had thousands of individual cells receiving images.  In similar fashion, the ear receives myriads of waves, some traveling very fast, which are interpreted by three tiny bones.  The ear also plays an important role in balance and helping us know where we are at.
It is incredible how many taste buds are on the tongue, and if we accidentally burn them off new ones are formed in a couple of weeks.  Touch and smell also play important parts.  Pain is a mechanism to warn us, and is a good teacher.
The digestive system is so intricate as well.  Food gets to the stomach very quickly, and then is slowed down to allow for absorption of minerals and vitamins that we need.  The stomach first slows food down, and then the intestines.  Food slowly escapes through he intestine wall, where the liver is waiting to finish the absorption process. 
Oxygen also enters the body, and is distributed through the lungs to the blood stream.    Sound is made as air is passed over the voice box.  The voice box is two membranes that vibrate and knock against each other at an incredibly rapid rate.  They shows Steve Tyler's voice box, and studied this through a concert.  There were over a million such collisions in one concert.
Our bodies house over 70 miles of blood vessels which carry minerals and oxygen to every cell of the body.  This entire 70 mile system is controlled by one 10 ounce pump called the heart. 
The muscular system was presented in great detail.  Over 200 different muscles make it possible to walk; Back and stomach muscles so we don't fall over backwards or forwards, and then all the leg muscles.  We are an incredibly complex machine. 
Our system of bones can withstand great pressure.  They give us shape.  However bones would not work without joints, and joints would not work without ligaments.  It is all so complex.
Our nervous system and our brains are also a marvel.  We use such a little percent of our capacity.  But we are able to expand our minds.  Just now data is beginning to develop with regards to mapping the brain.  Each individual is distinct, and places in the brain for certain functions can vary  Some of these area, we are just touching the surface of understanding.
In many areas the give glimpses of new advances, sight, heart surgery, brain surgery, joint restorarion, are just a few of the advances we glimpse. 
This movie is truly amazing.  It is impossible to describe the entire system.  However, my conclusion after watching this is :There is a God."  How could such a complex system come together randomly.  We were created in God's image.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

**Santa Clara Valley Medical Center: Your Health: Diabetes
There are a series of informational videos produced by the hospital where I work, Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA.  In this video Dr. Tyler Aguinaldo and Carrie Wickware RN explain how diabetes works, and some of the risks from diabetes.  They explain that in type I diabetes or juvenile diabetes our body doesn't produce insulin.  However in type II diabetes the body produces insulin, but does not use it correctly.  Common symptoms of diabetes are frequent thirst and urination.  Other symptoms may be tingling in the hands, blurred vision, fatigue and weight loss.  Slow-healing sores and frequent infections can also point to diabetes.  However most people with diabetes do not have symptoms, and are identified through blood tests. 
People with type I diabetes are insulin dependent.  However with type II diabetes, exercise, weight loss and diet viable treatment options.  Medications are also available.  However, sometimes insulin is also needed.
Education can be the best tool to handle diabetes.  How to check blood levels/  How your diet effects blood sugar?  How to use exercise to lower sugar levels?  Lifestyle changes can prevent and have a big impact on previously diagnosed diabetes.

**Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Week

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

**Preventing Falls When You Are Older

Sept 23 is Fall Prevention Day
Falls among older adults is the leading cause of fatal and non fatal injuries.  One in three older adults fall yearly.  However not all are reported to a doctor.  Falls cause over 20,000 fatalities a year.  They are also responsible for almost half traumatic brain injury among older adults.  They also cause significant injury due to broken bones.

Exercise and nutrition (including calcium and vitamin D) can help prevent falls.  Also being aware, and perhaps decluttering your home to prevent hazards.  Also adding grab bars, by the tub, by the toilet etc can be helpful. 

Out family has experience with falls.  Mom has fallen several times.  She has broken her neck and her hip, and banged up her face very badly on occasion. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

**Spanish Language Crisis Line in the Bay Area

The county of San Francisco has agreed to have Spanish speaking crisis counselors available on their crisis line afternoons and evenings 1-9.  Other lines may have to use interpretive services.