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Health Q&A

Posted December 12, 2012 in Advice Column, Greene County

Q: Can chiropractic help with colds and flu?

A: Chiropractic has been shown, and documented in many research articles, to improve the function of the immune system. An immune system working at 100 percent gives you greater ability to stay healthy and fight disease. Chiropractic care can help raise your natural resistance to disease by removing interference with your body’s proper function.

The nervous system controls every cell, tissue and organ of the body. The brain communicates with the body through nerves that leave the spinal cord and pass between the vertebrae. If this communication is compromised by spinal misalignments, the body cannot function at its best. Nerve interference can cause tight muscles that block the drainage of lymph from the ears, nose and throat causing an upper respiratory infection. Nerve interference can also cause immune organs to function at less than 100 percent.

Chiropractors helping patients battle the flu is not a new occurrence. During the 1917-18 influenza epidemic, it has been estimated that about 500,000 Americans died. It was chiropractic’s success in treating flu victims that led to the profession’s licensure in many states. In Davenport, out of the 93,590 patients treated by medical doctors, one patient out of every 15 died. Chiropractors at the Palmer School of Chiropractic treated 1,635 cases, with only one death. During the same epidemic, in Oklahoma, out of 3,490 flu patients under chiropractic care, all but seven survived.

Maximize your family’s health and wellness by scheduling a chiropractic evaluation today.

Information provided by Jefferson Family Chiropractic, 216 N. Wilson Ave., 515-386-3747.

Q: Why are fat cells important?

A: Excess body fat is bad for your health, but we all need at least a little fat. Experts note that fat plays an important role in maintaining good health, so we should all understand how fat cells function in the body in order to keep our own fat levels in a healthy range.

Q: What is a fat cell?

A: Fat cells store excess energy from foods as fat. Fat is stored in the form of fatty acids called triglycerides. Adipose tissue is found between the skin and muscle (subcutaneous fat) and around the organs in the main body cavities (visceral fat), primarily in the abdominal cavity.

Some people may have more fat cells than others, but the number of fat cells isn’t the main factor determining whether a person becomes overweight. The primary influence on obesity seems to be genetic. People who tend to become overweight simply aren’t very good at burning up calories; instead they store them as fat.

Some parents mistakenly believe that they can prevent their children from developing fat cells by restricting food in the child’s early years. This is a dangerous practice. Children need a certain amount of fat in the diet for brain and nerve cell development. In some cases, children on restricted diets have suffered from failure to thrive.

Q: What happens to fat cells as we gain weight?

A: As triglycerides are stored within a cell, the “fat blob” inside the cell expands, increasing the cell’s diameter. If enough fat cells in a body region enlarge this way, that part of the body begins to look fat. (Part 1 of 2.)

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.

Q: What’s the easiest way to communicate with someone who has dementia?

A: During the holidays, many families come to visit residents and their loved ones at Regency Park. At times, these visits can be difficult when conversing with a loved one who has dementia. Here are some tips to help connect with your loved one.

• Choose a quiet location that will minimize the noise and any confusion, then introduce yourself. Don’t take it personally if they don’t remember you or a memory you are discussing.

• Focus on your loved one, make eye contact with him or her, and be patient for a response. Try not to correct him or her, but offer reassurance and encouragement. Just getting your loved one to converse is a positive activity.

• Enter his or her world and ask what he or she is thinking about. Again getting your loved one talking keeps the mind active. Ask yes and no questions, and avoid open-ended questions, which can be frustrating.

• Reminiscence about the past, talking about a past interest or major life events. He or she is more likely to remember what happened 10 to 30 years ago then what was for breakfast that day. Bringing photos helps them to talk about themselves or memories as well.

Enjoy a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones.  Thank you for making time to visit the nursing homes or your loved ones.

Information provided by Kathryn Allen, activity director/social services Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center, 100 Ram Drive, Jefferson, 515-386-4107.

Q: What does general surgery include, and who does these?

A: With so many specialty surgeries being done, it can be confusing when the term general surgery or general surgeon is used. In fact, general surgery is quite common and includes a wide range of procedures. General surgeons have studied and are certified in general surgeries.

Many general surgeries can be done in outpatient facilities or smaller county hospitals. This convenience can be a time saver and money saver for patients who need immediate general surgery and/or are concerned about their individual healthcare costs.

General surgeries require the expertise of a trained and certified surgeon, but do not necessarily require a specialist, like an orthopedic surgeon, who would do specialized knee replacements.

General surgeries encompass a broader scope of expertise and include surgeries like colonoscopies, breast biopsies, mastectomies, gallbladders, appendectomies, hernia surgeries and skin cancer lesion removal. General surgeons who have completed surgical oncology training are also able to do colon resections resulting from cancer removal.

Many specialists are not surgeons, and therefore refer patients to a general surgeon for necessary surgeries. Such is the case with procedures like colonoscopies, breast biopsies and mastectomies. Other general surgeries are often a result of emergent care, such as appendectomies. And still others are a result of care and diagnosis by a family care physician who refers a patient to a general surgeon.

If surgery is a part of your future, be sure you ask the necessary questions so that you receive the best surgical care by the appropriate surgeon.

Information provided by Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson, 515-386-2488.

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