Archive | February 2022

QUOTE FOR MONDAY:

“The most common condition among children is largely preventable! According to the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry), dental caries/cavities are four times more common than childhood asthma and three times more likely than childhood obesity. As a dental hygienist, NCDHM is a great opportunity to spread the word about how poor oral health and caries impact our kids’ health and quality of life.”.

American Dental HealtAdvocacy – adha.org

 

National Children’s Dental Health Month

During the month of February, the American Dental Association celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month.

National Children’s Dental Health Month, with the 2022 theme being “Sealants Make Sense.”

The month is a national health observance that brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, health care providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.

Irene Hilton, D.D.S., chair of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention’s advisory committee on dental sealants, said sealants are an equitable way to prevent caries.

“Sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of caries by 80%,” Dr. Hilton said. “If your dentist recommends dental sealants, it is part of a comprehensive caries management approach. I am excited that this year” National Children” Dental Health Month theme is about dental sealants, so more families are aware of this cavity-preventing treatment.”

New parents often ask, “When should my child first see a dentist?” It’s never too early to start focusing on your child’s oral health! The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents establish a dental home for their child by their first tooth or first birthday. During this time, parents/guardians will have the opportunity to ask questions and address any dental concerns at the primary visit and the dentist will gently swab the child’s mouth to check their gums and any erupted teeth. As the child starts teething, the dentist will be able to monitor their progress and implement preventative measures for any concerns with your baby’s teeth.

Protect Tiny Teeth

Baby teeth are so important because of their key role of saving space for a child’s permanent teeth. They stay in a child’s mouth for 8-10 years and also affect their speaking, chewing, and, of course, smiling. Baby teeth can also indicate a child’s overall quality of health. Untreated tooth decay can cause oral infections that enter the bloodstream and lead to other serious health problems, while also allowing bacteria to spread to new adult teeth.

While daily brushing is an important part of a child’s oral hygiene routine, bacteria that causes tooth decay can still linger between teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. That’s why it’s so important to help your kids incorporate flossing in their daily routine.

One significant oral health risk for infants and young children under the age of 1 is from baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs when your child consumes sugary liquid and bacteria in their mouth consume the sugar and produce acid. This acid attacks the enamel on baby teeth can trigger tooth decay after continued exposure. Liquids that contribute to this condition include milk, formula, fruit juice, soda, and any other sweetened drinks. If your child needs to sleep with a bottle, water is the safest option without any risk.

Parents, Did You Know?

Early childhood tooth decay has become the most common chronic childhood disease, impacting more children than asthma. According to the ADA, more than 40% of children have tooth decay by the time they reach Kindergarten. Additionally, kids who suffer from poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.

The State of Pennsylvania has tried to tackle this oral health epidemic by requiring each child to receive a dental examination before enrolling in school, as well as in the 3rd and 7th grades. However, without regular six-month check-ups and establishing healthy oral health habits at an early age, small cavities can lead to much larger problems in little mouths.

Tips for Maintaining Your Child’s Oral Health 

Our doctors take pride in serving patients in such vital years of early childhood. As pediatric dentists, they’ve had additional training beyond dental school to work specifically with babies and children in monitoring early oral development. We recommend the following oral health tips to start your little ones on their journey to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

  • Schedule routine check-ups. If it’s been more than six months since your child has seen a dentist, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
  • Clean your baby’s gums daily. Until those teeth come in gently wipe a damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria after each feeding.
  • Start brushing with the first tooth. Begin brushing your baby’s teeth when you see one coming in with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).
  • Brush twice each day for two minutes. Children ages 2-6 should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Always supervise kids younger than six years old while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste.
  • Begin flossing. Once your child’s teeth touch, you can start flossing in between them.
  • Snack healthy! Fruit juice, sports drinks, fruit snacks, and sticky candies all pose serious threats to your child’s teeth. Give kids calcium-rich snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. If you have to resort to candy – a chocolate bar is preferable to gummy or sticky sweets that can get lodged in between the teeth, even after brushing.
  • Keep them hydrated! Avoid sugary drinks and stick to good old-fashioned water. Water helps to rinse away any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities. Many municipal water sources also contain fluoride, which is recommended by the American Dental Association and U.S. Surgeons General, among others, as an efficient way to prevent tooth decay. In fact, the theme of this year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month is celebrating 75 years of water fluoridation.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months.

 

QUOTE FOR THE WEEKEND:

“The heart’s pumping action moves oxygen-rich blood as it travels from the lungs to the left atrium, then on to the left ventricle, which pumps it to the rest of the body. The left ventricle supplies most of the heart’s pumping power, so it’s larger than the other chambers and essential for normal function. In left-sided or left ventricular (LV) heart failure, the left side of the heart must work harder to pump the same amount of blood.

Right-sided or right ventricular (RV) heart failure usually occurs as a result of left-sided failure. When the left ventricle fails, increased fluid pressure is, in effect, transferred back through the lungs, ultimately damaging the heart’s right side. When the right side loses pumping power, blood backs up in the body’s veins. This usually causes swelling or congestion in the legs, ankles and swelling within the abdomen such as the GI tract and liver (causing ascites).”

Americasn Heart Association (www.heart.org)

Left sided and Right sided Congestive Heart Failures!

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The definition of heart failure, it occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood through the body. Usually, the loss in pumping action is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, such as hypertension and CAD = coronary artery disease. The term heart failure suggests a sudden and complete stop of heart activity but actually the heart does not suddenly or abruptly stop. Instead the way it works is heart failure usually develops over time, years. The heart first compensates with the disease or illness the individual has but, just like a car, after wear and tear the heart goes into decompensating to heart failure due to the heart decline. How serious is this condition? It varies from person to person depending on factors like an individual with obesity & unhealthy versus a person in healthier condition. All people diagnosed or not diagnosed with heart failure lose a pumping capacity of the heart happens as they age but diagnosed with heart failure makes the engine of the body a challenge in doing its function properly. The pump loss is more significant in the person with heart failure and often results from a heart attack (actual scaring to the tissue=death to that tissue area) or from other diseases that can damage the heart. The severity of the condition determines the impact it has on a person’s life. At the other end, extremes, treatment often helps people lead full lives if the person follows the meds ordered by the doctor including the diet and activity/exercise the doctor orders to the patient with heart failure (compliance so important). There are different levels of heart failure but even the mildest form is a serious health problem, which must be treated. If not the pump (the heart) will just get worse in doing its function properly. To improve the chance of living longer in an individual with heart failure, patients must take care of themselves, see their physician (cardiologist) on a regular basis, and closely follow treatments (as ordered) with knowing what heart failure actually to understanding how the disease works (is the failure on the right side or left side? Which in time will effect the other side in time). In knowing what side the failure is on will make you understand what signs and symptoms to expect.

 

Types of Heart Failure

 

The term congestive heart failure (CHF) is often used to describe all patients with heart failure. In reality, congestion=the buildup of fluids in the heart for not pumping correctly, just like pipes in a home not working properly=back up of water in the pipes, happens with CHF also to the fluids (blood) backing up in the lungs.   This is just one feature of the condition and does not occur in all patients. There are two main categories of heart failure although within each category, symptoms and effects may differ from patient to patient. The two categories are:    1-Systolic heart failure (systolic is the top number of your blood pressure=the heart at work). This occurs when the heart’s (muscle-myocardium) ability to contract (pump=being active) decreases, particularly starting on the L side of the heart where the muscle of the heart is thickest and most powerful (myocardium=heart muscle). The left side of the heart sends the highly oxygenated blood that just came from the lungs to be pumped out throughout the body to send oxygen (nutrients) to all our tissues.   When the heart is in left sided failure it cannot pump blood with enough force to push a sufficient amount out of the heart into the circulation through the aorta. This is not sending nutrients=oxygen like it does when not in failure.  The aorta is a artery (vessel) that leaves the L side of the heart (left side of the heart=highly oxygenated rich blood). Due to the heart not using enough force pushing the blood forward in the aorta this causes the blood to back up and cause it to go back up from the aorta into the L lower to the L upper chamber of the heart that goes further back up into the pulmonary vein into the lungs=congestion in the lungs due to the heart failure.

 

2-Diastolic heart failure (diastolic is the bottom number of your blood pressure which is the pressure when the heart is at rest). This failure occurs when the heart has a problem relaxing. The heart cannot properly fill with blood because the muscle of the heart due to trying so hard to compensate over a long period of time with disease (ex. High B/P, Obesity, etc…) strains the heart in doing its function that failure finally starts that the muscle of the heart (myocardium) becomes stiff. This causes the heart to lose its ability to relax to allow proper filling of the heart in upper and lower chambers=back up of the blood.   This failure starts on the right side of the heart causing the blood to back up away from the heart and may lead this blood that is highly concentrated with carbon dioxide to accumulation especially in the feet, ankles and legs. Some patients may have lung congestion.

 

Causes of Heart Failure:

 

As stated, the heart loses some of its blood pumping ability as a natural consequence of aging. How- ever, a number of other factors can lead to a potentially life-threatening loss of pumping activity.

 

As a symptom of underlying heart disease, heart failure is closely associated with the major risk factors for coronary heart disease: smoking, high cholesterol levels, hypertension (persistent high blood pressure), diabetes= abnormal blood sugar levels, and obesity. A person can change or eliminate those risk factors and thus lower their risk of developing or aggravating their heart disease and heart failure through healthy habits performed routinely, proper dieting, and balancing rest with exercise.

 

Among prominent risk factors, hypertension-HTN (high blood pressure) and diabetes are PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT. Uncontrolled HTN increases the risk of heart failure by 200 %, compared to those who do not have hypertension.   Moreover, the degree of risk appears directly related to the severity of the high blood pressure.

 

Persons with diabetes have about a two to eight fold greater risk of heart failure than those without diabetes. Women with diabetes have a greater risk of heart failure than men with diabetes. Part of the risk comes from the diabetes association with other risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol or obesity or other risk factors. However, the disease process of diabetes also damages the heart muscle.

 

The presence of coronary disease is among the greatest risks for heart failure. Muscle damage and scarring caused by a heart attack greatly increase the risk of heart failure. Cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, also raise heart failure risk. Any disorder that causes abnormal swelling or thickening of the heart sets the stage for heart failure.

 

In some people, heart failure arises from problems with heart valves, the flap-like structures that help regulate blood flow through the heart. Infections in the heart are another source of increased risk for heart failure.

 

A single risk factor may be sufficient to cause heart failure, but a combination of factors dramatically increases the risk. Advanced age adds to the potential impact of any heart failure risk.

 

Finally, genetic abnormalities contribute to the risk for certain types of heart disease, which in turn may lead to heart failure. However, in most instances, a specific genetic link to heart failure has not been identified.

 

SO LIVE AS HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE IN YOUR ROUTINE HABITS, YOUR DIETING OF THE 4 FOOD GROUPS, MAINTAINING YOUR WEIGHT IN A THEREPEUTIC RANGE (look as calculating BMI online for free to find out what your weight range for your height is), and BALANCING REST WITH EXERCISE TO HELP DECREASE THE CHANCE OF GETTING HEART FAILURE=PREVENTION!

 

 

QUOTE FOR THURSDAY:

“Your risk for some eye diseases and conditions increases as you grow older, and some eye changes are more serious. Keep your eyes as healthy as possible by getting regular eye exams so any problems can be spotted early.”

NIH – Natonal Institute on Aging  (https://www.nia.nih.gov)

Eye health for those at age 60 and over!

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Women-Higher Risk for Some Eye Diseases

Women are more likely than men to have glaucoma and women are also more likely to be visually impaired or blind due to glaucoma. Also, women are 24 percent less likely to be treated for glaucoma. Cataract is somewhat more common in women, as well. Women should be sure to follow the Academy’s screening guidelines and adhere to their Eye M.D.’s follow-up appointment recommendations and treatment plans.

Low Vision

The term low vision describes vision loss that makes daily tasks difficult. Normal aging of the eye does not lead to low vision; it is a result of eye diseases, injuries or both. Low vision symptoms nclude loss of central and/or peripheral (side) vision, blurred or hazy vision or night blindness. A person may have trouble recognizing faces, reading, driving and shopping. If you experience any of these problems, it is important to see your Eye M.D., who will check for and treat any underlying conditions and advise on low vision resources and low vision aids and devices to help with reading and other daily tasks. Most people with low vision need brighter lighting in their living areas.

Avoid Falls and Related Eye Injuries

About half of all eye injuries occur in or around the home, most often during improvement projects (44 percent). The good news is that nearly all eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear, so every household needs to have at least one pair of certified safety glasses on hand.

It’s also important to reduce the risk of falls, which become more likely as we age, due to changes in vision and balance. Consider taking these safety steps around the home to diminish the risks of injuring your eyes:

  • Make sure that rugs and shower/bath/tub mats are slip-proof.
  • Secure railings so that they are not loose.
  • Cushion sharp corners and edges of furnishings and home fixtures.

Systemic health problems

Systemic health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes that may be diagnosed or become more problematic in midlife can also affect eye health. One warning sign of both high blood pressure and diabetes is when the ability to see clearly changes frequently. Be sure to keep your Eye M.D. informed about your health conditions and use of medications and nutritional supplements, as well as your exercise, eating, sleeping and other lifestyle choices.

Exercise

Our eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen intake, and both are stimulated by regular exercise. Regular exercise also helps keep our weight in the normal range, which reduces the risk of diabetes and of diabetic retinopathy. Gentler exercise, including walking, yoga, tai chi, or stretching and breathing, can also be effective ways to keep healthy. Remember to use sun safety and protective eyewear when enjoying sports and recreation.

Sleep

As we sleep, our eyes enjoy continuous lubrication. Also during sleep the eyes clear out irritants such as dust, allergens, or smoke that may have accumulated during the day.

Some research suggests that light-sensitive cells in the eye are important to our ability to regulate our wake-sleep cycles. This becomes more crucial as we age, when more people have problems with insomnia. While it’s important that we protect our eyes from over-exposure to UV light, our eyes also need exposure to some natural light every day to help maintain normal sleep-wake cycles.

QUOTE FOR WEDNESDAY:

“As you age, it is normal to notice changes in your vision. A few common changes for older adults include:

  • Losing the ability to see up close
  • Having trouble distinguishing colors, such as blue from black
  • Needing more time to adjust to changing levels of light”

NIH – National Institute of Hearing  (https://www.nia.nih.gov)

Low Vision Awareness Month

 

According to the National Eye Institute, currently 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired. Of these, 3 million have low vision. By 2030, when the last baby boomers turn 65, the number of Americans who have visual impairments is projected to reach 7.2 million, with 5 million having low vision.

For the millions of people who currently live or will live with low vision, the good news is that there is help.

But first, what is low vision? Low vision is when even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people have difficulty seeing, which makes everyday tasks difficult to do. Activities that used to be simple like reading the mail, shopping, cooking, and writing can become challenging.

Most people with low vision are age 65 or older. The leading causes of vision loss in older adults are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma. Among younger people, vision loss is most often caused by inherited eye conditions, infectious and autoimmune eye diseases, or trauma. For people with low vision, maximizing their remaining sight is key to helping them continue to live safe, productive, and rewarding lives.

The first step is to seek help.

What is a low vision specialist? A low vision specialist is an ophthalmologist or optometrist who works with people who have low vision. A low vision specialist can develop a vision rehabilitation plan that identifies strategies and assistive devices appropriate for the person’s particular needs.

A low vision examination is quite different from the basic examination routinely performed by primary care optometrists and ophthalmologists.

A low vision examination includes a review of your visual and medical history, and places an emphasis on the vision needed to read, cook, work, study, travel, and perform and enjoy other common activities. The goals of a low vision exam include assessing the functional needs, capabilities, and limitations of your vision, assessing ocular and systemic diseases, and evaluating and prescribing low vision therapies.

Education and counseling of family and other care providers; providing an understanding of your visual functioning to aid educators, vocational counselors, employers and care givers; directing further evaluations and treatments by other vision rehabilitation professionals; and making appropriate referrals for medical intervention are all a part of a low vision evaluation.

Vision rehabilitation can include the following:

  • Training to use magnifying and adaptive devices
  • Teaching new daily living skills to remain safe and live independently
  • Developing strategies to navigate around the home and in public
  • Providing resources and support

The good news is that vision rehabilitation services can help people with vision impairment learn how to stay independent and make the most of their sight. Low Vision Awareness Month is a great time to spread the word about vision rehabilitation — and make sure that people with vision impairment know about the services available to them.

Magnification devices, electronic devices, computer-access software, and other access and mainstream technologies are used to help people with low vision maximize their remaining vision or learn alternative ways to do things, such as using their sense of touch or their sense of hearing.

QUOTE FOR TUESDAY

“An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) isn’t a disease, but rather a sign of another condition. Certain conditions may cause the heart muscle to become thicker or cause one of the chambers of the heart to dilate, making the heart larger. Depending on the condition, an enlarged heart may be temporary or permanent.

An enlarged heart may be treatable by correcting the cause. Treatment for an enlarged heart can include medications, medical procedures or surgery.”

MAYO CLINIC

What is an enlarged heart?

Left Ventricle Enlarged

  Normal Heart Size & Lt.Ventricle

Heart Enlarged

Think of a healthy heart like a firm biceps muscle. An enlarged heart is just the opposite.

When your heart is enlarged, it’s like a soft biceps — it’s weak and out of shape. What happens is the heart muscle enlarges because the heart is trying so hard to do its function, PUMP, but it gets too difficult and the muscle of the heart enlarges/thickens causing the organ not to work properly.  So this causes back up with circulatory blood, think like a plumber–your pipes are backing up.  So what does this ends up causing?  Your body starts to retain fluid, your lungs get congested with fluid and your heart begins to beat irregularly.  If the heart is effected in working so will the lungs in time and visa versa.   Think like the car if the engine (the heart) is effected working properly the transmission (the lungs) will be also in time.

“In general the term ‘enlarged heart’ refers to heart failure,” said Clyde Yancy, M.D., past president of the American Heart Association and chief of the Division of Cardiology and the Magerstadt Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “This is a common condition that’s more likely to occur in older patients. It’s most strongly related to a history of high blood pressure or a previous heart attack.”

About one in five adults over age 40 is affected, with African-Americans facing a greater risk due to the dieting and heridity.  Take high blood pressure as a major risk factor since

Cardiosmart American College of Cardiology say in 2018 “Black adults are up to two times more likely to develop high blood pressure by age 55 compared to whites, with many of these racial differences developing before age 30, concludes a study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.”.

“There are other reasons for an enlarged heart or heart muscle disorders (like cardiomyopathies, which are diseases of the heart muscle) and not everyone with heart failure has an enlarged heart,” Dr. Yancy said. “But when we speak of an enlarged heart we are typically referring to heart failure.”

What to Look For
Shortness of breath, fluid retention (edema) and having a harder time exercising are among the key symptoms of an enlarged heart or heart failure. Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) — potentially even serious irregular heart rhythms and strokes — are likely as well, Dr. Yancy said.

The symptoms of an enlarged heart can affect the quality and length of your life, Dr. Yancy said.

“This is why treatment is so important and why we are so encouraged that good treatments are available today,” he said.

How to Prevent and Treat It
“Despite all of the great advances in treatment, the best treatment is to never have an enlarged heart,” Dr. Yancy said. “Prevention should be the true thrust. The simple stuff works — managing your weight, getting plenty of physical activity, controlling your diet, reducing your cholesterol and avoiding diabetes.”

But there’s good news for those who have been diagnosed with an enlarged heart.

“Whereas this condition was a dreadful diagnosis 20–25 years ago and resulted in death shortly afterward, the outlook for those with heart failure is now so much better,” Dr. Yancy said. “More and more patients are living longer, healthier lives with heart failure due to breakthrough medical and device treatments.”

If you or a loved one has heart failure, seek a care provider who has experience treating enlarged hearts.

“This condition is no longer about ‘failure,’” Dr. Yancy said. “On the correct drugs and with support from the correct devices, you can be successful in overcoming heart failure.” Dr. Yancy said there’s a nationwide “small army” of expert nurses focusing on heart failure.

”When a heart failure nurse is involved, you can expect to get better — a lot better,” he said.

Drugs and devices can strengthen the heart, and pacemakers and implantable defibrillators (ICDs) also offer hope. Surgery may be another option for patients who also have heart vessel disease and /or heart valve disease. “For those with very advanced disease, we now have very effective mechanical heart devices and we do heart transplantation very well,” he said.

And the future may hold more promise for enlarged hearts, Dr.  Yancy said.

“We expect to have cell-based therapies that will help us repair damaged hearts; easier surgeries that will halt the progression of heart disease and even more insight into preventing heart disease,” he said.