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Stay on Your Feet This Winter


Imagine this: You have been put in charge of a crew that must dig an underground tunnel across town. The tunnel is going to be narrow, just big enough to stand in. Somehow you have to get the work Read more

December Health Awareness: SADS


  Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder Winter is cold, long, and dark. This lack of light can have a profound impact on our health. We often use the expression “winter blues” to refer to the familiar dip in mood and energy that Read more

Energy and Alzheimer's Disease


Imagine this: You have been put in charge of a crew that must dig an underground tunnel across town. The tunnel is going to be narrow, just big enough to stand in. Somehow you have to get the work Read more

November is National Diabetes Month


  November is national diabetes month; a time to promote awareness of the challenges faced by those with diabetes. In 1958 there were just over 1.5 million cases of diabetes in the US. In recent decades that number has steadily, Read more

Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October is a busy month. Schools and universities are back in their routines, often complete with football games, soccer matches, and cross country meets. The fall harvest is in full swing and the trees are changing from green to Read more

Stay on Your Feet This Winter

Physicians Health Network Blog

Imagine this: You have been put in charge of a crew that must dig an underground tunnel across town. The tunnel is going to be narrow, just big enough to stand in. Somehow you have to get the work crew, generators, lights, and tools in and the rocks and dirt out. If you can imagine how difficult this would be then you have some sense of how hard it is for the neurons in your brain to stay healthy. Neurons have long, thin tubes called axons that they use to send messages. To do this they need lots of energy and supplies. But, much like the tunnel project, how do the neurons transport all these materials? Understanding this problem can help us understand Alzheimer’s disease.

There are 5.5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the US. Almost all of these case are in individuals older than 65 years. Two-thirds are women and Alzheimer’s disease is more common in African Americans and Hispanics compared to European descendants. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder. The hallmark symptom of the disease is memory loss but a collection of symptoms occur depending on what brain areas are affected and to what extent. Other symptoms can include personality changes, issues communicating, and an inability to recognize people, including loved ones. As the neurological degeneration progresses the individual’s symptoms worsen.

The human brain is unique. While it makes up only about two percent of our body weight it uses a full 20 percent of our daily energy. In other words, the brain needs enormous amounts of cellular energy to work properly. It also means that the brain has a lot of oxidative stress to deal with. You might think of oxidative stress like the exhaust fumes from an engine. Just like digging that underground tunnel, meeting the neuron’s energy demands presents an engineering problem. If you were in charge of the tunnel project you might set up a railway system to bring gear and workers in and the dirt out. Your neurons do something very similar. They construct a railway system made of microtubules.

With these massive energy requirements, the brain is very sensitive to any changes in the hormonal control insulin has over blood sugar. Alzheimer’s disease starts when the process of taking fuel from the bloodstream and converting it to a usable form becomes impaired. As the brain’s energy production falls behind a set of chain reactions begin. Although, there may be years between the first lag in energy production and the first symptoms. Slowly, the cellular hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease begin to appear. Those microtubule railways become blocked by what are called neurofibrillary tangles. These tangles are made of a protein called tau protein that is supposed to help build the railways. The tangles block the delivery of nutrients down the long thin axons. The neuron doesn’t get the energy and resources it needs and it becomes stressed. The circuits between neurons that make up memories and perform important brain functions begin to break down. Eventually, the neuron will die. It is here, among the stressed, energy-starved, and dying neurons that oxidative stress increases and chronic inflammation develops. This begins a cycle where more damage to the neurons begets even more damage.

The neurons begin to secret plaques made of beta-amyloid peptides. These plaques build up around the cells and, in the Alzheimer’s brain, they are not properly broken down and cleaned-up as they are in healthy brains. As the disease progresses these plaques further block the flow of resources. As more and more neurons die the brain shrivels. The hippocampus, an area of the brain which is crucial for memory, is hit hard by Alzheimer’s disease. As the hippocampus shrivels it causes memory failure and dementia.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The neurofibrillary tangles and the beta-amyloid plaques are often the targets for drug development but, to date, none are effective in fighting the disease. There are other treatments that can address the symptoms only, but unfortunately, these treatments do not stop the overall progression of the disease.

The connection between Alzheimer’s disease and cellular energy production is receiving more and more attention. The term type III diabetes is being used specifically to highlight the role that insulin resistance and impaired sugar metabolism play in the disease process. In the past, when Alzheimer’s disease was less common, it was seen as a stroke of unfortunate luck. Emphasizing the role impaired energy production helps medical professionals and patients reframe Alzheimer’s disease as something that is intimately tied to lifestyle factors. This opens the door to other treatments and preventative measures that involve lifestyle, nutrition, metabolism, and exercise. Afterall, long before symptoms appear the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease is a change in the way neurons use energy. This means that the time to think about prevention is, likewise, long before symptoms appear. Alzheimer’s prevention isn’t just for those who just blew out the candles on their 65th birthday cake. Rather, it becomes one more reason to target lifestyle changes at any age. Here is a list of habits for Alzheimer’s prevention from the National Institutes of Health that are appropriate for people of all ages.

● Exercise regularly.
● Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
● Spend time with family and friends.
● Keep one’s mind active.
● Control type 2 diabetes.
● Keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels.
● Maintain a healthy body weight.
● Stop smoking.
● Get help for depression.
● Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol.
● Get plenty of sleep.

Sources:
De la Monte, S. M., & Wands, J. R. (2008). Alzheimer’s Disease is Type 3 Diabetes—Evidence Reviewed. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 2(6), 1101–1113. doi:10.1177/193229680800200619

Kodl, C. T., & Seaquist, E. R. (2008). Cognitive Dysfunction and Diabetes Mellitus. Endocrine Reviews, 29(4), 494–511. doi:10.1210/er.2007-0034

Raichle, M. E., & Gusnard, D. A. (2002). Appraising the brain’s energy budget. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(16), 10237–10239. doi:10.1073/pnas.172399499

http://www.alz.org/facts/overview.asp

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/assessing-risk-alzheimers-disease


December Health Awareness: SADS

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles

 

Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter is cold, long, and dark. This lack of light can have a profound impact on our health. We often use the expression “winter blues” to refer to the familiar dip in mood and energy that comes with these cold, long nights. Mental Health Counselor Karla Willis is familiar with the profound changes in health some of us experience when the seasons change. She says, “When the winter season depresses our mood, energy, and enjoyment with life we call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short.”
Approximately four to six percent of the population experience SAD and the incidence varies with latitude. For example, about one percent of residents in Florida are diagnosed with SAD compared to nine percent in Alaska. Women are at a greater risk than men and teens and young adults are at greater risk than older adults. SAD starts in the fall as the days shorten, and symptoms peak in the winter. “It’s important to remember that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression. In fact, individuals with a history of depression are at greater risk for SAD,” said Willis.
Behind the scenes, our eyes do more than just provide us with vision. They send messages on special tracts of nerves to various structures in the brain regarding the time of day and the time of year. These messages are based on the type and amount of light stimulating the eyes. Some of these brain structures, such as the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the pineal gland, govern neurotransmitters and hormones that control hunger, energy levels, sleep, and other important functions. The lack of abundant, full-spectrum sunlight in the winter results in less stimulation to these key brain structures and can impair the natural rhythms of hunger, energy, mood, and much more.
Levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood and appetite, are lowered in the brains of SAD sufferers. According to Willis, “A decrease in serotonin levels is shared by SAD sufferers and those individuals with other types of depression.” Melatonin, which influences, among other things, sleep, your body’s clock, and immunity, is produced excessively during SAD. These alternations in brain chemistry result in the characteristic symptoms of SAD which are:

● Decreased energy levels
● Increased sleep
● Increased appetite often with carbohydrate cravings
● Decreased ability to concentrate
● Social Withdrawal

A diagnosis of SAD is made by matching symptoms with the changing seasons; especially if the symptoms repeat for two years consecutively. “Multiple treatments can be effective for relieving the symptoms of SAD. A mental health professional can help patients decide which treatment or combination of treatments will benefit them,” said Willis.
Light therapy is a common and effective treatment for SAD. This treatment is based on the recognition that a lack of full-spectrum light stimulating the eyes leads to the symptoms of SAD. Light therapy involves looking towards, but not directly at, a special light-box for about 30 minutes every morning. These light boxes are very bright but not as bright a sunny day. Measured in lux, a unit of brightness, a typical light-box used to treat SAD produces 10,000 lux. Outdoors on a sunny day may be around 100,000 lux. Medications, often the same drugs used for other forms of depression, are also used to treat SAD. Particularly drugs known as selective serotonin uptake inhibitors which boost those diminished serotonin levels. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves identifying negative thoughts and cultivating positive thoughts and healthful behaviors, can be as effective as light therapy in the treatment of SAD. In fact, there is some evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy can help, not only with the current winter symptoms but with future winters as well. Willis says, “Cognitive behavioral therapy can give SAD sufferers tools that will help them minimize the impact of SAD year after year.” Other treatments that may be beneficial for SAD are vitamin D supplementation, herbal supplements, and exercise. It’s important to note that some of these treatments can take three to four weeks before symptoms begin to improve.
“Mental health professionals recognize SAD as a type of depression and we want to spread the word that it should be taken just as seriously,” said Willis. If you feel you are suffering from SAD contact your mental health provider or primary care physician.

Sources:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

Rohan, K. J., Mahon, J. N., Evans, M., Ho, S.-Y., Meyerhoff, J., Postolache, T. T., & Vacek, P. M. (2015). Randomized Trial of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Versus Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder: Acute Outcomes. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(9), 862–869. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.14101293

Rohan, K. J., Meyerhoff, J., Ho, S.-Y., Evans, M., Postolache, T. T., & Vacek, P. M. (2016). Outcomes One and Two Winters Following Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 173(3), 244–251. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15060773


Energy and Alzheimer’s Disease

Physicians Health Network Blog

Imagine this: You have been put in charge of a crew that must dig an underground tunnel across town. The tunnel is going to be narrow, just big enough to stand in. Somehow you have to get the work crew, generators, lights, and tools in and the rocks and dirt out. If you can imagine how difficult this would be then you have some sense of how hard it is for the neurons in your brain to stay healthy. Neurons have long, thin tubes called axons that they use to send messages. To do this they need lots of energy and supplies. But, much like the tunnel project, how do the neurons transport all these materials? Understanding this problem can help us understand Alzheimer’s disease.

There are 5.5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the US. Almost all of these case are in individuals older than 65 years. Two-thirds are women and Alzheimer’s disease is more common in African Americans and Hispanics compared to European descendants. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder. The hallmark symptom of the disease is memory loss but a collection of symptoms occur depending on what brain areas are affected and to what extent. Other symptoms can include personality changes, issues communicating, and an inability to recognize people, including loved ones. As the neurological degeneration progresses the individual’s symptoms worsen.

The human brain is unique. While it makes up only about two percent of our body weight it uses a full 20 percent of our daily energy. In other words, the brain needs enormous amounts of cellular energy to work properly. It also means that the brain has a lot of oxidative stress to deal with. You might think of oxidative stress like the exhaust fumes from an engine. Just like digging that underground tunnel, meeting the neuron’s energy demands presents an engineering problem. If you were in charge of the tunnel project you might set up a railway system to bring gear and workers in and the dirt out. Your neurons do something very similar. They construct a railway system made of microtubules.

With these massive energy requirements, the brain is very sensitive to any changes in the hormonal control insulin has over blood sugar. Alzheimer’s disease starts when the process of taking fuel from the bloodstream and converting it to a usable form becomes impaired. As the brain’s energy production falls behind a set of chain reactions begin. Although, there may be years between the first lag in energy production and the first symptoms. Slowly, the cellular hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease begin to appear. Those microtubule railways become blocked by what are called neurofibrillary tangles. These tangles are made of a protein called tau protein that is supposed to help build the railways. The tangles block the delivery of nutrients down the long thin axons. The neuron doesn’t get the energy and resources it needs and it becomes stressed. The circuits between neurons that make up memories and perform important brain functions begin to break down. Eventually, the neuron will die. It is here, among the stressed, energy-starved, and dying neurons that oxidative stress increases and chronic inflammation develops. This begins a cycle where more damage to the neurons begets even more damage.

The neurons begin to secret plaques made of beta-amyloid peptides. These plaques build up around the cells and, in the Alzheimer’s brain, they are not properly broken down and cleaned-up as they are in healthy brains. As the disease progresses these plaques further block the flow of resources. As more and more neurons die the brain shrivels. The hippocampus, an area of the brain which is crucial for memory, is hit hard by Alzheimer’s disease. As the hippocampus shrivels it causes memory failure and dementia.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The neurofibrillary tangles and the beta-amyloid plaques are often the targets for drug development but, to date, none are effective in fighting the disease. There are other treatments that can address the symptoms only, but unfortunately, these treatments do not stop the overall progression of the disease.

The connection between Alzheimer’s disease and cellular energy production is receiving more and more attention. The term type III diabetes is being used specifically to highlight the role that insulin resistance and impaired sugar metabolism play in the disease process. In the past, when Alzheimer’s disease was less common, it was seen as a stroke of unfortunate luck. Emphasizing the role impaired energy production helps medical professionals and patients reframe Alzheimer’s disease as something that is intimately tied to lifestyle factors. This opens the door to other treatments and preventative measures that involve lifestyle, nutrition, metabolism, and exercise. Afterall, long before symptoms appear the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease is a change in the way neurons use energy. This means that the time to think about prevention is, likewise, long before symptoms appear. Alzheimer’s prevention isn’t just for those who just blew out the candles on their 65th birthday cake. Rather, it becomes one more reason to target lifestyle changes at any age. Here is a list of habits for Alzheimer’s prevention from the National Institutes of Health that are appropriate for people of all ages.

● Exercise regularly.
● Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
● Spend time with family and friends.
● Keep one’s mind active.
● Control type 2 diabetes.
● Keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels.
● Maintain a healthy body weight.
● Stop smoking.
● Get help for depression.
● Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol.
● Get plenty of sleep.

Sources:
De la Monte, S. M., & Wands, J. R. (2008). Alzheimer’s Disease is Type 3 Diabetes—Evidence Reviewed. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 2(6), 1101–1113. doi:10.1177/193229680800200619

Kodl, C. T., & Seaquist, E. R. (2008). Cognitive Dysfunction and Diabetes Mellitus. Endocrine Reviews, 29(4), 494–511. doi:10.1210/er.2007-0034

Raichle, M. E., & Gusnard, D. A. (2002). Appraising the brain’s energy budget. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(16), 10237–10239. doi:10.1073/pnas.172399499

http://www.alz.org/facts/overview.asp

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/assessing-risk-alzheimers-disease


November is National Diabetes Month

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles

 

November is national diabetes month; a time to promote awareness of the challenges faced by those with diabetes. In 1958 there were just over 1.5 million cases of diabetes in the US. In recent decades that number has steadily, and dramatically, climbed. In 2015 there were 23 million American adults with diabetes. this is a combined total of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Of the combined totals, only about 5 percent is attributed to type 1 diabetes. And the rest are type 2. Read more


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Physicians Health Network Blog

October is a busy month. Schools and universities are back in their routines, often complete with football games, soccer matches, and cross country meets. The fall harvest is in full swing and the trees are changing from green to a blaze of orange, yellow and red. And, we are about to be ‘spooked’ by the first holiday of the season.

October is also breast cancer awareness month and regardless of how busy October’s routines can be, it is important for women to become more aware about the importance of early detection and think about their breast care and screening plan. Women who are approaching the age of 40 need to discuss breast screening with their health care provider and determine their schedule.

Breast cancer tumors can often develop quickly and progress well-before a woman experiences any symptoms.

This October, let us stop to recognize the importance of breast cancer awareness. Let us realize that awareness of breast cancer and the importance of screening can lead to earlier diagnosis and better outcomes.

The number one cancer affecting women is breast cancer and it is the second most common cause of cancer death in women, regardless of ethnicity. The lifetime risk for developing breast cancer (for a woman) is one in six. Clearly, this makes screening an important and powerful part of any woman’s health care plan.

While screening does not lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, it can lower the risk of death from breast cancer. Any discussion on breast cancer screening will include mammography which is breast cancer’s primary screening tool. A mammogram is a breast image created with low dose x-rays for screening or diagnostic purposes. Mammography comes with few risks and is the best current technology for detecting breast cancer early.

The recommended screening routine depends on the woman’s age and risk level. The American Cancer Society (ACS) defines average risk as those women who:
• Do not have a personal breast cancer history.
• Without strong family history of breast cancer.
• Have not had chest radiation before the age of 30.
• Have no known genetic mutation that puts her at higher risk.

According to the ACS, women who meet the definition of average risk should have yearly mammograms between the ages of 45 and 54. After age 54 ACS recommends that women have a mammogram every other year, unless the woman chooses to maintain her annual mammogram screening schedule.

ACS recommendations differ for women in a high-risk category. These women have:
• A strong family history of breast cancer.
• A known gene mutation in themselves or first-degree relatives.
• Had radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30.
• One of the rare genetic syndromes which are known to elevate the risk of cancer.

For women in this category, ACS recommends annual mammogram and magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of the breasts.

In addition to mammography, a clinical breast exam (CBE) may also be performed to screen for breast cancer. A CBE is a check for lumps or other physical changes by a trained healthcare provider and typically done during a woman’s annual physical. Clinical organizations are not unanimous in their stance on CBE. The ACS does not recommend a CBE for women getting regular mammograms, while the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women aged 29 through 39 have a CBE at least every three years. Women may also perform self-exams, but this is also met with differing recommendations. Organizations that recommend self-exams suggest they be done monthly and at the same time of the month. Women who want to make self-exam a part of their screening should discuss a systematic method with their physician.

While there is differing recommendations around breast cancer screening, the most important message for women, not only in October, but in all the months of the year, is to discuss breast cancer screening guidelines with their providers and do what they feel is right for them.

Don’t allow this October’s breast cancer awareness campaign slip by. Make this your reminder, for yourself or the women in your life, of the importance of regular screening based on age and risk profile. If you don’t have an ongoing screening plan take this opportunity to contact your physician and start one.

Sources:
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/american-cancer-society-recommendations-for-the-early-detection-of-breast-cancer.html

https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=mammo

http://www.froedtert.com/healthlibrary/default.aspx?sid=1&id=401&pTitle=CondDisease&ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P00169


October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles

 

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under 12 months old. SIDS is the most common cause of death between the ages of 1 month and 12 months and it most commonly occurs between 2 to 4 months.
Read more


The Health Benefits of Vegetables and Fruits

Physicians Health Network Blog

Plants bearing vegetables and fruits have a lot of work to do. Each day, they must take sunshine, nutrients from the soil, the air’s carbon dioxide and turn it all into something you’d like to bite into. While the plant is hard at work making a vegetable or fruit, it has to fight off fungi, bugs, and somehow avoid a sunburn. To pull off this feat the plant produces various chemicals. Some of these chemicals are the vitamins we all need. Other chemicals, made by the plant for self-defense, are called phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are often colorful, concentrated in the outer layers of the vegetable or fruit, and have a strong flavor. In fact, this is why wild plants are often smaller, less sweet and more bitter than the garden variety.

Think of the difference between a crab apple and a grocery store apple, or a wild strawberry compared to farmed strawberries. They are different because the wild plant had to put more energy into its chemical defenses rather than growing bigger and sweeter. This also explains why organic produce has a higher nutrient content. It’s because the organically raised plants had to fight their own battles and, in the process they create more nutritious food for us.

Many of these phytonutrients are health promoting in humans, but the way they do this is surprising. Take the case of glucosinolates. These are the class of compounds behind the spicy flavor of radishes and a few other vegetables. The vegetables don’t make the glucosinolate compounds for our gustatory pleasure, rather they are produced by the plant for pest control. And, if we were the size of aphids, eating some radish could be fatally toxic. However, since we are much bigger than insects these plant phytochemicals are, typically, not powerful enough to cause harm but they do stimulate our cell defenses. This is where much of the healthful effects of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices come from. By being strong enough to stimulate our own antioxidant systems at the cellular level but not strong enough, or consumed in large enough amounts, to be toxic. This benefit can be especially important in the areas of our body where energy use is always very high and oxidative damage is always a risk. These areas include the heart, the liver, and the brain.

Anthocyanins are another good phytonutrient example. Anthocyanins are a family of phytonutrients found in many red, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables; for example, blueberries.

If you would like to take advantage of these phytonutrients there a few things to consider when loading up your dinner plate. Fruits and tubers can be great sources of phytonutrients but be sure to take their sugar content into consideration. As a rule, vegetables that grow above ground are pretty much always low in sugar. Another general rule is this: colorful and strongly flavored produce is high in phytonutrients. Take the blues and reds of berries or the orange of carrots as examples. As for strong flavor, consider the radishes mentioned above. Onions, mustard seed or peppers also have strong flavors which they owe to their phytonutrients.

Sources: Son TG, Camandola S, Mattson MP. Hormetic Dietary Phytochemicals. Neuromolecular medicine. 2008;10(4):236-246. doi:10.1007/s12017-008-8037-y.

Yuni Choi et al. Vegetable Intake, But Not Fruit Intake, Is Associated with a Reduction in the Risk of Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Middle-Aged Korean MenJ. Nutr. 2015 145: 6 1249-1255; first published online April 15, 2015. doi:10.3945/jn.114.209437
-data-report-2012-final.pdf


September: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles

 

September is prostate cancer awareness month. For men, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer after skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. In fact, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and most cases occur in men over the age of 65.

Read more


Suicide Prevention

Physicians Health Network Blog

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Between the ages of 15 and 34 it is the second leading cause of death and men die of suicide four times more often than women.

The groups with the highest rates of suicide are Native Americans, veterans and white males. About 50 percent of suicides involve the use of firearms and 90 percent had a mental health disorder at the time of their death.

Wisconsin’s suicide rate is 14 per 100,000 people which is slightly higher than the national average of 13 per 100,000 people. To put this into perspective the national homicide rate is about 5 per 100,000 people. While the homicide rate has been falling for many years, the suicide rate has been climbing since 2000 when the national average was about 10 per 100,000 people.

The way we talk about suicide matters. In fact, news coverage, such as a celebrity suicides, can become an unfortunate influencer rather than a deterrent of suicide. Facing, discussing and removing the stigma that surrounds mental health will greatly impact the number of suicides that occur in people who are living with a mental health disorder.

Recognizing warning signs and intervening can be lifesaving. Here are some of the common warning signs:
● Expressing a desire to die
● Looking for items that can be used for suicide such as guns and poisons
● Expressing feelings of hopelessness
● Talking about feeling trapped or experiencing unbearable pain
● Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
● Showing increased anxiety or agitation
● Reckless behavior
● Choosing isolation
● Extreme mood swings

There are factors that can be promoted to lower an individual’s risk of suicide. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center lists the following as important preventative factors:
● Access to effective behavioral health care
● Connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions
● Learning life skills such as problem-solving skills, coping skills, and an ability to adapt to change
● Help in developing self-esteem and a sense of purpose or meaning in life
● Involvement in cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that discourage suicide

If you need to intervene with someone who is a risk of suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recommends the following:
● Do not leave the person alone
● Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
● Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
● Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

If you need more information, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.asfp.org) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (www.sprc.org) are excellent resources.

Sources:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/how-we-can-all-prevent-suicide/
https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/
http://afsp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/recommendations.pdf
https://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#Wisconsin
http://www.sprc.org/effective-prevention/comprehensive-approach
https://www.va.gov/opa/docs/suicide-data-report-2012-final.pdf


August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles
August2017_Blog

 

Immunizations have had a dramatic effect in improving the health of children in the United States.
Most parents today have never seen the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a child, a family or community.
Read more