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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

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month


  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 Read more

The Health Benefits of Vegetables and Fruits


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 Read more

September: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month


  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 Read more

Suicide Prevention


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 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


Summer Hydration

Physicians Health Network Blog

Summer activities often break a sweat. This holds true for gardening, hiking, sports or even just relaxing in the backyard. That lost water needs to be replaced and importance of staying hydrated is never far from our minds. However, the unfortunate deaths of athletes in recent years, particularly marathon runners, reminds us there can be too much of a good thing – even water.

Physical activity, sweating, high outdoor temperatures and humidity all increase the amount of water we need to consume. If we don’t replace what we lose we may become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart rate and, in the most severe instances, seizures and coma. To avoid dehydration it’s easy to think that the more water or sports drinks we consume the better. After all, what feels better than a cool drink after physical activity on a hot day? Unfortunately, the sports drink industry has influenced the recommendations related to water consumption, which has led to some confusion. Drinking too much water presents a serious health issue because the sodium in your body becomes so diluted that the cells cannot function properly. This is called hyponatremia or water intoxication. While sports drinks contain some salt, there is not enough to stop hyponatremia from occurring if you are overhydrated. Early signs of overhydration are confusion and nausea. Severe cases can eventually cause a seizure and coma. Overhydrated athletes who pass out on a hot day are sometimes mistakenly treated for dehydration.

It is clear there is a danger from too much and too little when it comes to water consumption. So how do we stay safe? The answer is by following thirst. Your body has a sophisticated system of sensors that work with your brain, hormones and kidneys to monitor fluid and salt levels. In fact, scientists recently discovered neurons in your brain that use information from your body and your mouth to predict your fluid needs. These neurons are the reason you can quench thirst very quickly even though the fluid you drink takes time to reach your bloodstream. Updated recommendations for athletes from an international council, the 2015 Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus, were, in part, a response to the overhydration deaths of two 17-year old high school football players in 2014. To prevent the dangers of both dehydration and overhydration and to help each individual meet his/her unique water needs the council recommends drinking to thirst.

Sources:
Rosner, Mitchell H. MD. Preventing Deaths Due to Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia: The 2015 Consensus Guidelines. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: July 2015 – Volume 25 – Issue 4 – p 301–302 doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000223

Zimmerman CA, Lin Y-C, Leib DE, et al. Thirst neurons anticipate the homeostatic consequences of eating and drinking. Nature. 2016;537(7622):680-684. doi:10.1038/nature18950.


Tick Safety

Physicians Health Network Blog

According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison 16 tick species can be found in Wisconsin and they are most active from April to September. This is a concern for outdoor enthusiasts because some ticks do spread diseases. Of the tick species found in Wisconsin the most common are the deer tick and wood tick.

 

Deer ticks are tiny forest dwellers that spread Lyme disease. Adult deer ticks are about the size of a sesame seed and are known for their eight black legs. Wood ticks are not known to spread disease in Wisconsin although they do spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever in other parts of the country. In most of the US the wood tick is more commonly called the American dog tick. Adult female wood ticks are about ¼ inch long. Both species of ticks feed on blood. They wait in tall grass or dense vegetation until they get a chance to latch onto a passing mammal, which could be a deer, a dog or hiker enjoying the outdoors. It’s important to note that ticks will increase in size greatly when they have engorged with blood.

 

If you’re going to be in outdoor areas that are likely to have ticks, such as dense grassy vegetation and wooded areas, you’ll want to protect yourself. The best defense against ticks is to avoid tick prone areas by staying in cleared or mown paths. Also, long sleeves, pants, and socks will help by physically preventing ticks from getting to your skin. Better yet, if the clothing is lightly colored ticks are easier to spot. If you do need extra protection the repellent permethrin can be found in sporting goods stores and it is designed to be applied to your outdoor clothing. Permethrin is not easily absorbed by your skin and is very effective as a tick repellent. It can be long lasting on clothing and does not stain. Dogs are also vulnerable to diseases harbored by ticks. A veterinarian can help you find the best way to protect your dog which may include sprays or Lyme disease vaccines. There is currently no Lyme disease vaccine for humans.

 

When you complete your outdoor activity be sure to do a thorough visual check for ticks. You may need a mirror or a partner. Pay close attention around your joints, behind the ears, at the waistline, and at hair lines. If you find an embedded tick removing it quickly is important for disease prevention. Remove the tick with tweezers using a slow, steady pull or contact your primary care physician.

 

Sources:

http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/wisconsin-ticks/wisconsin-ticks/

http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/permethrin

https://www.wiscontext.org/abcs-tick-season-wisconsin

https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol/permethrin-resmethrin-d-phenothrin-sumithrinr-synthetic-pyrethroids-mosquito-control


Summer Increases Our Need for Water Safety

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles
July2017_Blog

 

What better way to escape the summer heat than to take to the water? Backyard pools and lakes are refreshing, fun and great exercise. But, making a splash can come with some unique dangers. Many of activities in water will be done without trained lifeguards on duty. That means when you get ready to go to the beach, water safety is just as important as your towel, bathing suit, sun block and sunglasses.
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Protect Your Eyes from The Rays of Summer

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles
Sunglasses_Blog

 

Summer is just around the corner!

That means it’s time to enjoy picnics and parades; beaches and ballgames; festivals and fireworks. Most of all summer means sunshine. Like most things we need to take the good with the bad when it comes to the rays of the summer sun.

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