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Health Q&A

Posted January 02, 2013 in Adel, Advice Column

Q: Is it safe to buy medicine over the Internet?

A: It’s a crapshoot. In industrialized countries, Internet-based sales of pharmaceuticals are a major source of counterfeit medicines.

These fake drugs, encompassing drug classes such as cancer medicines, cholesterol-lowering medications, antibiotics, hypertension medicines and copies of commonly used painkillers and antihistamines can cause harm and even death.

Many deaths occurred in Panama last year when 260,000 bottles of cold medicine containing diethylene glycol were distributed. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 50 percent of medicines ordered over the Internet from sites that hide their physical address are counterfeit.

Many counterfeit medicines are produced in China and India, shipped globally and distributed through various outlets including websites that may appear to be legitimate sites in Canada or other developed countries. Instead they are rogue Internet pharmacies operating from undisclosed locations and without regulatory oversight; some are not even pharmacies at all.

Best case scenario: the counterfeit drug has some trace amount of the supposed active ingredient. Worst case: death from lack of the active ingredient causing the person’s medical condition to deteriorate or death from presence of toxic ingredients.

Safety is a real concern with Internet-based pharmacies. You may be gambling with your life.

Information provided by Toni Sumpter, Medicap Pharmacy, 628 Nile Kinnick Drive South, Suite A, 993-1119.

Q: Why should I quit smoking?

A: Another new year is upon us, and with that comes our New Year’s resolutions. One of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions is to quit smoking. If you know you should quit smoking but just haven’t taken the steps to kick the habit once and for all, here are some motivational reasons to help you commit to quitting.

Live a longer, healthier life: The day after you quit smoking, your body will start to recover. Your cholesterol levels will improve, significantly lowering your risk for heart disease. Smoking reduces HDL (“good”) cholesterol and may alter LDL (“bad”) cholesterol so that it leads to a buildup of plaque in your arteries.

Your smile will be brighter. With every puff, nicotine and tar coat and stain your teeth. After you quit, make an appointment with your dentist to have the yellow stains cleaned. Your whiter smile can remind you of your accomplishment. You will develop fewer wrinkles. Nicotine can block the blood supply to your skin, which can cause wrinkles. Tobacco smoke can dry your skin and make it more prone to wrinkles.

Food will taste better. Smoking takes a lot of the pleasure from eating by interfering with your senses of taste and smell.

You may not get sick as often. Smoking damages your airways and makes you more prone to coughs, colds and infections.

There are plenty of other reasons to quit smoking. Make your own list and keep it posted where you can see it every day. Quitting smoking may be the most difficult, but also the most rewarding, thing you ever do. Not only will you improve your own personal health, but without secondhand smoke your family will improve their health as well. Make 2013 the year you quit smoking for good.

Information provided by Jane Clausen, Adel Health Mart, 113 N. Ninth St., 993-3644.

Q: Can a physical therapist help with posture correction?

A: It is possible to have increasingly poor posture and not know it. Often poor posture is a consequence of our lifestyle and can be corrected with help from your physical therapist. Several causes of poor posture include habits, injury, stress and genetics. Most of which is correctable.

We may be slumping over our keyboard at the office or lifting heavy objects or children incorrectly without recognizing we are doing this. These actions quickly become a habit resulting in a possible rounded back, and/or neck, back and shoulder pain, along with the possibility of hip and knee pain. Poor posture can also keep you from breathing as deeply as you need to for good health. Also, poor posture can add years to your appearance. And none of us want that.

If you are experiencing aches and pains as a result of poor posture, there are a few things you can do at home to protect your posture and avoid injury, such as using common sense and maintaining good posture, stretching prior to physical exertion, taking advantage of strength in your legs when lifting heavy objects or children and correcting yourself when you notice your are slouching.

Physical therapy is a proven solution for correcting poor posture and the associated aches and pain.

Information provided by Mike Burggraaf, PT, MS, LAT, Core Physical Therapy, Inc., 102 S. Seventh St., Adel, phone 993-5599.

Q: How can I make snow shoveling safer and easier?

A: Get a good shovel. Purchase a lightweight shovel that suits your size. A smaller shovel will allow you to scoop less snow at a time and avoid getting hurt. Shovels with a bend in the handle are less stressful on the lower back.

• Pace yourself. Start shoveling soon after newly-fallen snow so it is lighter than heavily-packed snow. Start out slowly to avoid putting too much stress on your body all at once, and take small breaks if extended shoveling is needed.

• Push rather than lift. When possible, push the snow away from you rather than lift it to avoid straining or twisting your back. Keep your back straight and avoid throwing snow over your shoulder or to the side which can injure your back and shoulders.

• Stretch before and after shoveling. Shoveling snow is more rigorous than most exercise routines you engage in. Stretch your arms, legs and back thoroughly like you would if you were preparing to work out at similar intensity.

• Dress properly. Warm clothing will keep your muscles warm as you work and will make you less likely to hurry and strain a muscle. Boots with good tread will reduce falls and help avoid injuries.

• Listen to your body. If you feel tightness in your chest or have any intense or unusual pain, stop right away and call your doctor. If you are sore after shoveling, take a warm bath and stretch your muscles.

Winter weather increases the possibility of injury and illness. If you experience pain in your muscles and joints from falls or shoveling snow, schedule and appointment with your chiropractor to make sure you spine is aligned and not interfering with your body’s fullest potential.

Information provided by Jodi K. Kuhse D.C., D.I.C.C.P., Luellen Chiropractic, 608 Greene St., Suite C, 993-1117.


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