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Health Q&A

Posted December 05, 2012 in Adel, Advice Column

Q: Am I at risk for osteoporosis?

A: Osteoporosis is a disease that causes rapid thinning of bones. Over time, this weakens the bones and can make them more likely to break.Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, in part because men have larger, stronger bones. Both men and women older than age 50 are at the greatest risk for developing osteoporosis.

These are risks factors that may increase your chances for developing osteoporosis: Small bone structure, family history of osteoporosis, previous facture, especially after age 50, being postmenopausal, anorexia nervosa, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, not getting adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D, sedentary lifestyle and certain medications, including glucocorticoids, thyroid hormone replacement and epilepsy drugs.

To help prevent osteoporosis:

• Do regular weight-bearing exercise. The best exercise for your bones is weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, dancing, jogging, stair-climbing, playing racquet sports and hiking.

• Take calcium and vitamin D. People older than 50 should get 1,200 mg of calcium per day. If you have difficulty getting enough calcium from foods, take a supplement to make up the difference. Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. A daily intake of 800 – 1000 IUs is recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish and liver are high in the vitamin.

• Don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol in excess and don’t take corticosteroids unless your health care provider prescribes them.

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

Q: Do I need to worry about spine problems in my child?

A: According to a study in Spine, disc disease begins as early as 15 years old. Back pain is a leading cause of lost work time and decreased quality of life in the adult population. Therefore, the pediatric patient should be evaluated for signs and symptoms of spinal misalignment and dysfunction to help prevent degeneration.

The pediatric spine has its largest growth in the first five years, which makes it very vulnerable to stress and subluxation. In addition, with learning to walk/run, master stairs and early involvement in organized sports, young spines are subjected to micro and macro traumas nearly every day. Since childhood growth factors and traumas cannot be eliminated, having children evaluated and treated by a chiropractor may not only alleviate their current symptoms but also address spinal misalignments that will compromise their health and well being as adults.

Pain does not have to be present for spinal misalignments to exist, so undetected misalignments may limit the body from performing and developing at its highest potential.

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

Q: Is physical therapy the best option for neck and arm pain?

A: Neck pain is one of the top 10 reasons a patient will visit his or her doctor. A study in the most recent issue of Spine states that patients who receive manual physical therapy and exercise compared to standard care received from their physician such as pain medication or surgery on average experience twice the improvement in their symptoms. The patients in the study experienced both short- and long-term improvements in their neck pain when physical therapy included the use of hands-on techniques including joint and soft-tissue mobilization, designed to restore motion and reduce pain while also providing a significant cost savings compared to usual physician care.

Manual physical therapy techniques including joint and soft-tissue mobilization are designed to restore motion and reduce pain. This study broadens the base and depth of evidence that manual physical therapy can and should be the first line of treatment for patients suffering from neck and arm pain. Year after year the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy and the physical therapy profession continue to produce high quality randomized clinical trials that demonstrate conclusively that physical therapy provides a better outcome for less money, while also being substantially safer than other medical interventions. If you have neck or back pain or the aches and pains of musculoskeletal problems contact your local physical therapist today.

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

Q: What foods will boost my immune system?

A: Some people rarely catch colds and flu viruses, whereas others seem to catch every circulating virus. The strength of their respective immune systems most likely explains these tendencies. Just eating the right foods and drinking plenty of water will boost your immune system; however, taking a good vitamin and mineral supplement will help, too, since many of our foods are depleted of their nutrients.

Some good foods to consume and strengthen your ability to fight viruses include yogurt, oats, garlic, tea, shellfish, zinc (found in beef, pork yogurt or fortified foods), sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Yogurt has the good bacteria (probiotics) for your first line of defense needed to naturally keep your intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. A supplement will work, too (ask your pharmacist for a good recommendation). Oats and garlic have antioxidants and other ingredients to fight off invaders. Selenium and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have disease-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Zinc deficiency is a common among adults. Zinc boosts the effectiveness of our white blood cells to combat invading organisms, so eating small servings of lean beef or pork and/or fortified foods can strengthen immunity. Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes and carrots is converted into vitamin A which boosts the skin’s ability to fight off potential invaders. Mushrooms increase the number and aggressiveness of our white blood cells, which fight disease-causing organisms.

Just by incorporating these immune-boosting foods into your diet and drinking six to eight glasses of water daily, you could be one of the lucky ones who rarely catch common colds or flu.

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

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