National Health Observances

Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy

Can thyroid disease cause problems getting pregnant?

 

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder for you to get pregnant. This is because problems with the thyroid hormone can upset the balance of the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent ovulation.

Thyroid problems can also affect the menstrual cycle. Your periods may be heavier or irregular, or you may not have any periods at all for several months or longer (called amenorrhea).

 

How does thyroid disease affect pregnancy?

 

Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.

It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.

Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:4

  • Premature birth (birth of the baby before 39 to 40 weeks, or full-term)
  • Preeclampsia, a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
  • Thyroid storm (sudden, severe worsening of symptoms)
  • Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
  • Low birth weight (smaller than 5 pounds)
  • Miscarriage

Hypothyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:4

  • Anemia (lower than normal number of healthy red blood cells)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Low birth weight (smaller than 5 pounds)
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Problems with the baby’s growth and brain development

 

Source https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/thyroid-disease


Ten Questions To Ask About Your Thyroid Health

What to ask your Physician:

  1. Where is the thyroid located, and what does it do?
  2. What are the differences between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid patients and what are the symptoms of each?
  3. What is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), how is it measured, and what should my target number be?
  4. What else besides TSH levels are important for making sure my thyroid condition is under control?
  5. Why are more people than ever being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and should I be checked for it?

What to ask your Pharmacist:

  1. What is the difference between a generic thyroid hormone pill and a brand name thyroid hormone pill?
  2. Will you notify me in advance if you switch my thyroid medicine from the brand name I normally use to a generic?
  3. What time of day is best to take my thyroid hormone pill?
  4. May I take my thyroid medication with food, other medications, vitamins or supplements?
  5. Can any of my other medications affect my thyroid?

 

Source http://www.thyroidawareness.com/ten_questions_to_ask_about_your_thyroid_health


Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Too often, accidents involving children and toys occur and may result in eye injuries. Each year, thousands of children age 14 and younger suffered serious eye injuries, even blindness, from toys. 

 

There are three important ways you can protect your child’s eyes from injuries while playing with toys:

  1. Only buy toys meant for their age.
  2. Show them how to use their toys safely.
  3. Keep an eye on them when they play.

 

Toy Selection Guidelines

 

Before you purchase a toy:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age.
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Check the lenses and frames of children’s sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.

 

Before letting children play with toys:

  • Inspect toys for safe, sturdy construction.
  • Explain how to use the toy.
  • Fix or throw away broken toys.

 

Always

  • Keep young children away from toys meant for older children.
  • Supervise your children while playing.
  • Store toys properly after play to avoid risks or falls.
  • Supervise children’s craft projects (scissors and glue can be extremely dangerous to a child’s eyesight).
  • Have children wear the right eye protection for sports (face shields, helmets, eyeguards).

 

Source: preventblindness.org


Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

lung cancerLung cancer is when cells of the tissue of the lungs grow out of control. This out of control growth causes problems such as the creation of a mass (tumor). Lung cancer can affect the tissue surrounding the mass and interfere with the organ function. It can also break away from the original mass and spread to other parts of the body (metastasis).

 

Lung cancer often has no symptoms until it has spread (metastasized). This is because there are few specialized nerves (pain receptors) in the lungs. When lung cancer symptoms do occur, they vary depending on the type of lung cancer and location and size of the tumor. Some lung cancer symptoms are similar to those of other common illnesses.

 

Lung cancer symptoms may include the following: 

 Local disease (restricted to the area where the cancer started with no sign it has spread)

  • Coughing (most common, 50% of cases)
  • Blood in sputum (hemoptysis)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Wheezing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Pneumonia

Locally advanced disease (cancer has spread from where it started to nearby tissue or lymph nodes)

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty or pain in swallowing (dysphagia)
  • High pitched sound, usually heard while taking a breath, similar to wheezing (stridor)
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the lung (pleural effusion)
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the heart (pericardial effusion)

Distant metastases (cancer has spread to other parts of the body)

 

Brain

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Visual disturbances

Bone

  • Bone pain

Liver

  • Stomach pain (right side)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea

Cancer can also cause symptoms far from the tumor that may not be related to the cancer or spread. Those symptoms include:

  • lack of appetite, weight loss, weakness (cancer cachexia or wasting syndrome)
  • clubbing of fingers
  • too much calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • low red blood cells (anemia)

 

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Radon
  • Other substances:  asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust,and some forms of silica and chromium
  • Personal or Family History of Lung Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy to the Chest 
  • Diet

 

Source  cdc | lungcanceralliance.org


American Diabetes Month

American Diabetes Month

diabetesDiabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

 

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

 

There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits, taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education, and keeping appointments with your health care team can greatly reduce its impact on your life.

 

Types

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.

 

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.

 

Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.

 

Diabetes Symptoms

The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.

 

Source  cdc | diabetes.org


National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. alzheimers2

 

Alzheimer’s and dementia basics

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. 
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s). 
  • Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions. 
  • Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing. 

 

Top Five Tips for Interacting with People with Alzheimer’s 

  1. Try not to take behaviors personally.
  2. Remain patient and calm.
  3. Explore pain as a trigger.
  4. Don’t argue or try to convince.
  5. Accept behaviors as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.

 Source  alz.org


Mental Health. Colored pencils and a stetoscope on the table

10 Common Warning Signs of Mental Health Conditions

Mental Health. Colored pencils and a stetoscope on the table

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Source https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs


Eye Safety at Work

Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.

Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents.

What are the Common Causes of Workplace Eye Injuries?

Common causes for eye injuries are:

·         Flying objects (bits of metal, glass)

·         Tools

·         Particles

·         Chemicals

·         Harmful radiation

·         Any combination of these or other hazards

What is my Best Defense Against an Eye Injury?

There are three things you can do to help prevent an eye injury:

·         Know the eye safety dangers at work-complete an eye hazard assessment

·         Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens, or other engineering controls

·         Use proper eye protection.

When Should I Protect My Eyes at Work?

You should wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear.

What Type of Safety Eyewear is Available to Me?

Safety eyewear protection includes:

·         Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses

·         Goggles

·         Face shields

·         Welding helmets

·         Full-face respirators

What Type of Safety Eye Protection Should I Wear?

The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields). If you are working with chemicals, you should wear goggles. If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers, or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed for that task.

What is The Difference Between Glass, Plastic, and Polycarbonate Lenses?

All three types of safety lenses meet or exceed the requirements for protecting your eyes.

Glass lenses

·         Are not easily scratched

·         Can be used around harsh chemicals

·         Can be made in your corrective prescription

·         Are sometimes heavy and uncomfortable

Plastic lenses

·         Are lighter weight

·         Protect against welding splatter

·         Are not likely to fog

·         Are not as scratch-resistant as glass

Polycarbonate lenses

·         Are lightweight

·         Protect against welding splatter

·         Are not likely to fog

·         Are stronger than glass and plastic

·         Are more impact resistant than glass or plastic

·         Are not as scratch resistant as glass

Source https://www.preventblindness.org/eye-safety-work


First Aid for Eye Emergencies

Knowing what to do for an eye emergency can save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss. Here are some instructions for basic eye injury first aid.

Be Prepared

·         Wear eye protection for all hazardous activities and sports at school, home and on the job that could lead to an eye injury.

·         DO stock a first aid kit with a rigid eye shield and commercial eyewash (make sure it is not expired) before engaging in activities where an eye injury could occur.

·         DO NOT assume that any eye injury is harmless. When in doubt, see an eye doctor promptly.

Chemical Burns

In all cases of eye contact with chemicals:

·         Immediately flush the eye with water or any other drinkable liquid. Hold the eye under a faucet, shower or pour water into the eye using a clean container. Keep the eye open as wide as possible during flushing. Continue flushing for at least 15 minutes.

·         If a contact lens is in the eye, begin flushing over the lens immediately. Flushing may dislodge the lens.

·         DO NOT bandage the eye.

·         Seek emergency medical care promptly after flushing.

Specks in the Eye

·         DO NOT rub the eye.

·         Try to let tears wash the speck out or use a commercial eyewash.

·         Try lifting upper eyelid outward. Look down over the lower lid.

·         DO NOT use tweezers or other items to try and remove the speck.

·         If the speck doesn’t wash out, see an eye doctor immediately.

Blows to the Eye

·         Apply cold compress without pressure.

·         Seek emergency medical care in cases of pain, blurry vision, one eye sticks out more than the other, blood inside the eye, or discoloration (black eye), which could mean internal eye damage.

Cuts and Punctures of Eye and Eyelid

·         DO NOT wash out eye with water or any other liquid.

·         DO NOT try to remove an object that is stuck in the eye.

·         Cover the eye with a rigid shield or the bottom half of a paper cup without pressure. Secure the shield or cup to the brow above the eye and the cheekbone below the eye without putting pressure on the eye.

·         Seek emergency medical care immediately.

Source https://www.preventblindness.org/first-aid-eye-emergencies


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?breast cancer awareness

Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.

Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.

Risk factors include—

·         Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age; most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.

·         Genetic mutations. Inherited changes (mutations) to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who have inherited these genetic changes are at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

·         Early menstrual period. Women who start their periods before age 12 are exposed to hormones longer, raising the risk for breast cancer by a small amount.

·         Late or no pregnancy. Having the first pregnancy after age 30 and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.

·         Starting menopause after age 55. Like starting one’s period early, being exposed to estrogen hormones for a longer time later in life also raises the risk of breast cancer.

·         Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

·         Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.

·         Having dense breasts. Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.

·         Using combination hormone therapy. Taking hormones to replace missing estrogen and progesterone in menopause for more than five years raises the risk for breast cancer. The hormones that have been shown to increase risk are estrogen and progestin when taken together.

·         Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Certain forms of oral contraceptive pills have been found to raise breast cancer risk.

·         Personal history of breast cancer. Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time.

·         Personal history of certain non-cancerous breast diseases. Some non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ are associated with a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

·         Family history of breast cancer. A woman’s risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter (first-degree relative) or multiple family members on either her mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a woman’s risk.

·         Previous treatment using radiation therapy. Women who had radiation therapy to the chest or breasts (like for treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma) before age 30 have a higher risk of getting breast cancer later in life.

·         Women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), which was given to some pregnant women in the United States between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, have a higher risk. Women whose mothers took DES while pregnant with them are also at risk.

·         Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a woman’s risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.

Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.

Source https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm