Six seeds to boost vitamins and fiber

This week is National Public Health Week.

Since 1995, the American Public Health Association has encouraged communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW) each April.

The big push this year is to highlight prevention and wellness.

One major theme of the campaign is to encourage healthy eating and regular exercise for families. Making small, everyday changes can go a long way toward decreasing the risk of preventable death from causes such as heart disease, cancer and stroke, says the APHA.

Adding seeds to the diet in moderation is one way to boost vitamins and fiber, says nutrition expert Michelle Gorman, RD, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Gorman, who has served as a nutrition supervisor for the Chandler School District, encourages families to give these six seeds a try in recipes and for snacking: Continue reading

Urinary tract infections: Can you tell by the smell?

This article has moved to: http://www.raisingarizonakids.com/2012/04/urinary-tract-infections-can-you-tell-by-the-smell/

Reacting to an autism diagnosis: what’s next?

This article has moved to: http://www.raisingarizonakids.com/2012/04/reacting-to-an-autism-diagnosis-whats-next/

Bike safety rodeo this Saturday, March 31

Every three days a child in the United States is killed while riding a bicycle. Every single day, 100 children are treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related head injuries.

Proper helmet use reduces the risk of brain injury from these accidents by about 90 percent.

Why don’t more kids wear helmets? For some, it’s the cool factor. For others, it’s the expense.

This weekend, Cardon Children’s Medical Center along with Safe Kids Maricopa County will give away free helmets to the first 300 people to attend their Bike Rodeo.

It’s a chance to practice bike safety skills and to find out more about helmet use. Plus, there’s an opportunity to win a new bike.

More on how to fit a bike helmet

Cardon Children’s Bike Rodeo details:

  • Saturday, March 31
  • 9 a.m. to noon
  • Cardon Children’s Medical Center
  • 1400 S. Dobson Road, Mesa 85202
  • For ages 3-16
  • Bring your bike or scooter

Watch  injury prevention specialist Tracey Fejt, RN, of Cardon Children’s talk about an outreach program she designed that provides safety curriculum and free helmets to schools that agree to “helmet required” policies for students.

It’s Diabetes Alert Day: Take the test

It’s the fourth Tuesday in March, which means it’s time for Diabetes Alert Day.

Held by the American Diabetes Association, Alert Day is a one-day “wake-up call,” asking Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States. About one-quarter of them—7 million—do not even know they have it.

An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Pre-diabetes, says  Dr. Floyd Shewmake, M.D., J.D., senior medical director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSA), refers to a blood sugar level which is higher than normal but not yet high enough to result in the diagnosis of diabetes.  Almost all type 2 diabetics go through a period of time when they meet the criteria for pre-diabetes.

The only way to determine if you are pre-diabetic is to have a fasting blood sugar test done, he adds.  Pre-diabetes has no symptoms but there is evidence that even at this early stage damage to critical organs such as the heart and kidneys can begin.

So, who’s at risk?

Adults and children who have one or both parents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, says Shewmake.

Women who developed elevated blood sugars during pregnancy are also at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes as they get older, and should be monitored more closely for diabetes.

Shewmake says that the risk for developing diabetes can be delayed, or even avoided. Healthy dietary habits, maintaining a normal weight, and an active lifestyle with regular exercise can help.

Type 2 diabetes occurs more often in adults with high blood pressure, so Shewmake encourages regular checkups to make sure that blood pressure stays in the normal range.

What’s normal blood pressure?

Recent research shows a link between type 2 diabetes and the development of colon cancer.  This association has been identified in several studies though it is not yet understood exactly why this link exists.

Colon cancer screening is important for all adults, says Shewman, and especially important for individuals with type 2 diabetes because of this link.

“We have known for years that the better the sugar is controlled, says Shewman, “the less likely secondary complications such as heart, vascular and kidney diseases will occur.” New drug therapies developed over the last ten years are helping type 2 diabetics better control their blood sugars.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona encourages families to follow the “5-2-1-0” plan for staying healthy and active. Aim for:

FIVE fruits or vegetables per day

TWO hours or less of screen time

ONE hour of physical activity

 ZERO sweetened drinks.

More on BCBSA’s school-based health education program Walk On!

Helping college kids cope with diabetes

Creating a safe learning environment for kids with diabetes

Understanding pediatric sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)

Would you recognize the warning signs of pediatric sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)? If not treated in minutes, SCA can result in death.

In a new policy statement to be published online on Monday, March 26, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides guidance for pediatricians on underlying cardiac conditions that may predispose children to SCA.

Although the risk for SCA increases when children with underlying cardiac disorders participate in athletics, SCA can occur at very young ages and also when a child is at rest.

Research supports the need for a SCA registry, says the AAP. A registry would help experts gain a better understanding of the nuances of the condition.

Plus, many cardiac disorders are known to be genetic, so the evaluation of family members, even if asymptomatic, could be a critical step in the overall diagnosis of disorders predisposing to pediatric and young adult SCA.

We asked Arizona Pediatric Cardiology Consultants (APCC), members of the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to weigh in on what parents need to know about SCA.

How common is SCA?  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year 2,000 individuals less than 25 years of age will die suddenly with the majority of these having a cardiac etiology.

What causes SCA?

Pediatric sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death can occur with various types of cardiac causes, including conditions in the heart muscle (such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), unusual positioning of a coronary artery, or an electrical disturbance within the heart. (Long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia).

More on genetic cardiac conditions from the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome Foundation (SADS)

How are family members evaluated, and what symptoms may be indicators that a child is pre-disposed to this? 

Signs that may suggest an increased risk for SCD include fainting or seizure with exercise, excitement, or startle, significant dizziness with exertion, unusual and consistent shortness of breath or chest pain with exercise.

If a family member has died suddenly or unexpectedly at a young age, has unexplained seizure disorder, died at a young age from a heart problem, or has a history of fainting, then screening is appropriate.

How do doctors determine if a child is at risk? What tests are performed?

Evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist will include a thorough individual and family history, ECG, physical exam and perhaps an echocardiogram, an exercise stress test, and genetic testing if necessary.

Would automatic external defibrillators (AED) on playing fields and in schools help?

A great majority of these deaths relate to a life-threatening arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation. CPR and use of an AED may be life saving.  AEDs are often found in airports, casinos, and government buildings.

However, there is no law in Arizona currently requiring AED within schools, recreational sports fields, or other private facilities.

Are efforts being made to increase the availability of AEDs?

The decision about whether to have an AED on location is left up to the individual organization.  APCC’s electrophysiologists are making an effort to educate schools, sports organizations, and families regarding the importance preparation to prevent SCD.

The role of an ECG in all sports physicals remains a debated topic within the United States.  It is, however, very important to ask specific questions (use the attached screening tool) for risk factors and then refer to a pediatric cardiologist for further assessment.

What should parents or caregivers do if they believe a child might be at risk?

Once an individual is identified as having any of the conditions listed above, it is very important for first degree relatives to also be evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

Sudden Cardiac Death is devastating to not only the families of those affected but to the communities in which they live.  Educating  families, schools, sports leagues, and primary care providers about quick and effective screening for children at risk for SCD is a first step in prevention.

Increased community awareness and the availability of AEDs in schools and sporting venues will help avert a tragedy.

Karen S. Eynon, RN, MSN, CPNP, MATS,  compiled these answers with support from Mitchell Cohen, MD, Andrew Papez, MD, and Jennifer Shaffer, RN, MS, CPNP, all of Arizona Pediatric Cardiology Consultants along with information from SADS.org.  

Check with your child’s physician if you are concerned about risks for SCA.

More from Parent Heart Watch, a network of parents and partners dedicated to reducing the effects of SCA.

 

Coping with dementia: a workshop for kids and families

It’s tough to deliver the news that a beloved grandparent has Alzheimer’s disease. But no one ever expects to have to tell his or her own children that a parent has been diagnosed with dementia.

But it happens.

About 10% of people under 65 will have a dementia, says Jan Dougherty, RN, director of Family and Community Services for Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.

More on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

With the number of parents having children over 40, adds Dougherty, chances are that if a parent does develop early onset dementia, they may have adolescents or teens in the home.

No matter if it is a parent or a grandparent, kids are embarrassed by the changes they are seeing, says Dougherty, so finding others who are in similar situations can be very helpful.  Children and adults can become easily overwhelmed by the disruption that a dementia diagnosis can cause.

It’s important for parents and caregivers to be open and honest with children in any situation where rapid and significant change, such as memory loss, is likely to occur, says Cardon Children’s Child Life Specialist Courtney Kissel. That helps to maintain a trusting relationship.

Explaining a diagnosis to younger children about a parent- or a grandparent – can be a challenge.

One of the tips Kissel recommends is to ask the child to picture the memories that the person has in list form, written on a chalkboard that will, over time, be erased. The more recent memories at the top of the chalkboard will disappear first, and the memories from the early years of life at the bottom of the chalkboard will be the last to fade away.


A workshop, sponsored by the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, aims to help families to come together to learn more about dementia and how to cope with the changes.

Dougherty hopes that her team will identify some ways to keep kids and families connected on an ongoing basis –so they won’t feel alone.

Kids, Families and Dementia Workshop
Saturday, March 31
8:30am-12:30pm
Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, AZ

Families participating in this workshop with their children will gain age-appropriate information about Alzheimer’s disease/related dementias, explore methods to provide age-appropriate support for kids living with a person with dementia, identify ways for adults and children to stay connected to the person with dementia, join with others in like situations and explore ongoing ways to stay connected and supported.

Cost:
Individual: $10
Family of 3 or more: $25

TO REGISTER:
Pre-registration is required for the conference. The deadline is March 26. Call: 602-839-6850 or email deidra.colvin@bannerhealth.com.

Additional information, including the workshop schedule of activities.