The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 24, 1996 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 24, 1996
Page 11
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THURSDAY OCTOBER 24, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL Health MONEY/ C2 CLASSIFIED / C4 c BRIEFLY Many diabetics benefit from intensive therapy Intensive diabetes management is an approach that can help almost any person with the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. The therapy, intended to tightly control blood glucose, includes three to four daily injections of insulin or the use of an insulin pump, testing blood glucose levels four to seven times each day, and adjusting insulin doses to match exercise and food intake. ..Researchers found the following benefits for patients with type I or type II diabetes: • Reduces the risk of eye disease by 76 percent. • Reduces the risk of kidney disease by 50 percent. • Reduces the risk of nerve disease by 60 percent. • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 35 percent. Although intensive therapy can slow or prevent the development of complications, there is no evidence to date that it can reverse the process. To determine if you are a candidate for this therapy, consult your physician or call the American Diabetes Association for more information: 1-800-362-1355. Too few seniors get shots for pneumonia TOPEKA — Kansas public health officials are alarmed that not enough Kansans 65 and over are obtaining pneumococcal vaccinations. About two in five received the vaccine in 1995. " "Pneumococcal organisms are among the top three causes of wintertime illnesses and deaths," said James J. O'Connell, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. "These are preventable cases." Influenza and hepatitis B infections are the other leading causes of vaccine-preventable morbidity and mortality. Pnuemococcal infections are the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia requiring hospitalization and are estimated to cause 40,000 deaths in the United States annually. An increasing proportion of pnuemococcal baceteria are resistant to antibiotics, making treatment quite difficult. The vaccine, the cost of which i$ covered by Medicare, is highly recommended for persons with lung and heart ailments. Belief in God a tonic for stress and illness ROCKVILLE, Md. — A recent study by the National Institute for Healthcare Research found that individuals who thought about God were better able to cope with physical illness, as well as serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, manic-depressive illness, major depression and other disorders. ' Researchers are beginning to call this "religious coping" or "spiritual support." It's defined as "the perceived, personally supportive components of an individual's relationship with God." It entails spiritual beliefs that give meaning to events and emotional support in feeled cared for and valued. Sixty-seven percent of study participants said they would like more opportunities to discuss spirituality in a treatment setting. From Wire Service Reports T PERSONAL HEALTH Twist Teacher among 1 percent of men who develop breast cancer By LINDA CASTRONE Scripps Howard News Service D ENVER — Earlier this year John Mandes heard the words women most dread. "I have bad news," his surgeon told him. "The lump in your breast is cancer." That day Mandes learned something many people don't know: Breast cancer strikes men as well as women. And because men are more likely to dismiss breast lumps as nothing to worry about, they're likely to postpone treatment. Mandes found the lump in his left breast two years ago while showering, but because he was a graduate student at the University of New Mexico and uninsured, he put off visiting a doctor. In August 1995 he started work as a teacher at the University of Denver's department of mass communications and again postponed his checkup. By the time he finally got checked in July, it had grown from the size of a pea to the size of a quarter, and the cancer had spread to four lymph nodes. On July 31, Mandes had his left breast and surrounding lymph nodes removed. He's still a bit stunned. "I had better odds of winning the lottery than of contracting breast cancer," he muses. Fewer than 1 percent of all breast cancers occur in men, according to the National Cancer Institute, and then mostly in men 60 and older. Breast cancer remains the biggest worry among women. Over a lifetime, one in nine women will get the disease. Ah estimated 184,300 women will be diagnosed this year, and 44,300 will die from it. Mandes' was the first case of male breast cancer diagnosed by Dr. Laure Lee, an internist with Kaiser-Permanente. It was unlike the female cancers she has dignosed only in that it was unusual. Lumps easier to feel "You don't expect to find it in men," she says, "but because most men have much less breast tissue than women, a lump is fairly easy to feel." She prescribed the same treatment for Mandes as she does for women with breast lumps — a needle biopsy to determine malignancy and then a modified radical mastectomy to remove the lump and surrounding lymph nodes. Like most of Lee's female cancer patients, Mandes is less worried about his sexuality and body image than he is with recurrence, she says. "Their biggest fear is whether it will come back." And because Mandes' cancer spread to four nodes, his chances of recurrence are 30 to 50 percent. The disease could return at any time, could spread to other organs, could cause his death. He also is painfully aware that he is an oddity. "In no way do I want to obscure the fact that women get it in enormous numbers while less than 1 percent of all men do," he says. "It's not a male problem, and it probably never will be. We need to focus on the fact that it's a women's issue." Photos by Scripps Howard News Service A massive scar reminds John Mandes of Denver of his breast cancer surgery. This year about 1,400 cases will be diagnosed among men, and 260 men will die from the disease. T MEDICINE Fumes from burning poison ivy can be deadly DR. PAUL DONOHUE North America Syndicate Dear Dr. Donohue: My brother was grubbing out some poison ivy and burning it on an open fire. His son was nearby and downwind. The boy inhaled some smoke and next day he was in an oxygen tent, where he remained for two weeks. His throat had become so swollen that he couldn't breathe. He nearly died. I am a chemist, not a physician, but I worked on war gases during World War II. We looked seriously at the active ingredient in poison ivy — which, as you know, is a powerful vesicant. So the effect of burning is no old wives' tale. — J.G.D. Dear J.G.D.: The smoke from burn- ing poison ivy can carry irritating oils with blistering effect, similar to the poison ivy skin eruptions. Your letter should serve as fair warning against burning poison ivy. If you must dispose of poison brush, check with the local health department for an appropriate herbicide, or store the brush in plastic bags. The poison-ivy topic tends to lose its audience as the season turns, but it's an idea to tuck away for future reference. Actually, I am told that even dormant plants contain the irritant in stems. So you can get poison ivy even in the winter. Dear Dr. Donohue: I am a 34-year- old woman of average weight and height, with no medical problems. During the past several months, when I get up in the morning the arches of my feet hurt to the point of making me limp. It goes away in a few minutes and doesn't return all day. If I sit for a long time in the evening, I get the same thing. Any ideas? — D.B. Dear D.B.: I have one idea. You might have plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the dense supporting tissue on the soles of the feet. The plantar fascia runs from heel to toes to prop up the foot. It's classic for a plantar fasciitis foot to get worse after awakening or after being immobile for long periods. It's during such inactivity that the support structure shrinks a bit, triggering pain once reactivated. The pain might not occur during the day, when you are constantly on the move. Some patients do report pain worsening as the day wears on, but they are far in the minority. The answer probably lies in simple ploys, such as wearing heel cushions. If such remedies don't work, you might be dealing with something besides mere plantar fasciitis. For some people, case of heartburn is no joke Prelief, a dietary supplement, Ipwers acidity of foods, drinks The acronym GERD may be unfamiliar tq most people, but chances are that they know the symptoms of this common condition all too well. GERD stands for gastroe- sophageal reflux disease, better known as acid indigestion or heartburn. T Nearly every adult has experienced the disconcerting rise of stomach acid at least once, and surveys indicate 44 per- c&nt of Americans suffer heartburn at least monthly. But for about 10 percent of the population, ^ heartburn is a chronic, * daUy affair that impinges on their quality of life and could ultimately seriously threaten their health. , The flurry of new medications, both dVer-the-counter and prescription, to tf eat or suppress heartburn has done much to improve both public and med- JANE BRODY The New York Times ical recognition of this condition. But widespread misunderstanding of its potential seriousness and confusion about appropriate treatment still prevail. Many people, for example, assume since highly effective medications are now available, there is no need to follow the practical nondrug methods for reducing heartburn. They fail to consider the high cost of chronic drug therapy, possible side effects and hidden complications that could result from taking a drug every day that masks the symptoms of heartburn. In a well-tuned digestive tract, when food or drink is swallowed, the tightly closed muscular ring at the base of the esophagus opens momentarily to let what was swallowed pass into the stomach. The ring, called the lower esophageal sphincter, then closes immediately to prevent the acid contents of the stomach from backing up.. When heartburn, or acid reflux, occurs, this barrier to stomach contents fails to function properly and some of the acidic material swirls back up into the esophagus and may cause that familiar burning sensation beneath the sternum, or chest bone. Acid reflux may even rise to the mouth, producing a sour taste. When this happens during sleep, some of the regurgitated material may be inhaled into the respiratory tract, causing coughing, asthmatic symptoms, even pneumonia. Other possible symptoms include unexplained chest pain (sometimes mistaken for a heart attack), a sore throat, hoarseness, eroded tooth enamel, a sensation of having something stuck in the throat and difficulty swallowing. In addition to resulting from acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices and tomatoes, heartburn may follow consumption of spicy or fatty foods, coffee, tea, colas, alcohol, chocolate and peppermint. People who drink alcohol or smoke as well as those who are overweight or older than 65 are at greater risk. The esophagus can become chronically inflamed, eroded or even ulcerated, scar tissue can form that reduces the opening through which food must pass and the cells lining the esophagus can eventually become cancerous. This is why simply squelching the symptoms is inadequate. The goal should be to stop or greatly re- .Before takino medication These changes can bring significant and perhaps even total relief: • Avoid troublesome foods. • Eat smaller amounts at one time. • Wait 2 to 3 hours after eating a main meal to exercise vigorously or to lie down or go to sleep. • Wear loose-fitting clothing. • Learn to bend from the knees instead of the waist. • Sleep in a more upright position by placing a foam-rubber wedge under the pillow, • Lose weight if you're overweight. • Quit smoking and avoid alcohol. duce acid reflux. The occasional heartburn sufferer can rely on antacids like Turns, Rolaids, Maalox and Mylanta for fast relief. Those who know which foods are likely to cause symptoms can avoid those foods or try a newly marketed product, Prelief, that is swallowed before eating them or sprinkled on them. Prelief is a calcium-based dietary supplement (not a drug) that lowers the acidity of foods and beverages, including coffee. It is available in some drugstores; a free sample can be obtained by calling l- 888-PRELIEF (773-5433). Chewing gum, sucking on lozenges and eating sweet pickles also may help to relieve s.ymptoms by bathing the esophagus with alkaline saliva. If such measures do not bring adequate relief, over-the-counter drugs are available: Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC, Zantac 75 and Axid AR. These are called H2 blockers because they interfere with the substance that sets off the release of acid. Be sure to follow package directions, in-, eluding how often and how long to use such drugs before consulting a doctor. If all else fails, surgery to tighten the esophageal sphincter has long been the treatment of last resort. But recently perfected laparoscopic surgery for chronic, severe acid reflux can bring permanent relief and may be preferable to decades of costly drug therapy for some patients. SUGGESTIONS? CALL SHERIDA WARNER, LIFE EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 ' -F

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