Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

"Caleb was two when we first noticed his loud snoring," said Scott, Caleb's father. "We were alarmed but didn't really start to worry until we began hearing him gasp for air between the snores. That made my wife and me very uneasy.

Nine year old Matthew was significantly overweight. "We tried to exercise with him every day, but just walking to the park made him so tired that he could hardly stand let alone play once he got there," said Claire, Matthew's mother. "He struggled just putting on his shoes on in the morning." Matthew told his doctor that he felt like he could never get enough sleep. "He snores louder than my grandfather," Claire added.

Both Caleb and Matthew were given sleep studies, and they were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A surgeon removed Caleb's tonsils, and Matthew was given a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device with a child-sized mask. After his surgery, Caleb stopped snoring. Now the only noise from his room is the occasional laughter in his sleep. These days, Matthew leaps out of bed in the morning and has lost 25 pounds. "He's the child I always knew he could be," said Claire.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms of sleep apnea, talk to your pediatrician. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea may contribute to daytime fatigue and behavioral problems at school. According to a recent study in CHEST, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, children who snored loudly were twice as likely to have learning problems. Following a night of poor sleep, children are more likely to be hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. These are also signs of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Apnea may also be associated with delayed growth and cardiovascular problems.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Children
During the night, a child with sleep apnea may:
Snore loudly and on a regular basis
Have pauses, gasps, and snorts and actually stop breathing. The snorts or gasps may waken them and disrupt their sleep.
Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions with their head in unusual positions
Sweat heavily during sleep
During the day, a child with sleep apnea may:
Have behavioral, school and social problems
Be difficult to wake up
Have headaches during the day, but especially in the morning
Be irritable, agitated, aggressive, and cranky
Be so sleepy during the day that they actually fall asleep or daydream
Speak with a nasal voice and breathe regularly through the mouth

For more information on sleep health, visit http://www.sleepfoundation.org/

Friday, September 25, 2009

Candy and Fruit Flavored Cigarettes Now Illegal in United States

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on cigarettes with flavors characterizing fruit, candy, or clove. The ban, authorized by the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is part of a national effort by the FDA to reduce smoking in America. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America.
The FDA's ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, effective 22 Sep 09, highlights the importance of reducing the number of children who start to smoke, and who become addicted to dangerous tobacco products. The FDA is also examining options for regulating both menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes.
"Almost 90 percent of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers. These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "The FDA will utilize regulatory authority to reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco products to enhance our Nation's public health."
For more information on how to become tobacco free, talk to your primary care provider, call Health Promotion & Wellness at 760-830-2814 or email NHTP-tobaccofree@med.navy.mil. In addition, Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, Adult Medical Care Clinic and Clinics China Lake & Bridgeport will be tobacco free campuses as of January 1st. This will include all patient parking lots, sidewalks and buildings.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stress Has Its Warning Signs

Everyone has a certain amount of stress. But too much of it may make us feel quite fearful or worried, not to mention the physical effects it can cause, such as a rise in blood pressure, increase in colds and flu, increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. When we are stressed, we hurt ourselves physically by damaging out immune system, raising our blood pressure and blood sugar and a myriad of other physical symptoms that signal damage to our bodies.
Here is a list of warning signs that you may be stressed out:
· Insomnia.
· Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome or stomach cramps.
· Feeling tense, irritable, anxious, sad, angry or depressed.
· Difficulty paying attention or feeling like you don't have any energy.
· Significant changes in eating habits or body weight.
· Skin reactions, including hives.
· Increased symptoms associated with diabetes, asthma or arthritis.
· A rise in blood pressure.
· Decreased sexual desire.
· Pain in the back or neck.
If you feel that you need help with stress management, you do have resources available to you. You can contact Deployment Health if you have been deployed or Mental Health for Active Duty who have not been deployed. Health Promotion & Wellness as well as MCCS Family Advocacy Program also offers stress management services.
For more information, call:
Deployment Health (for those who have been deployed) 830-2785
Mental Health (for active duty only) 830-2724
Health Promotion & Wellness 830-2814
Family Advocacy Program 830-6345

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seasonal Flu Vaccines Available at Naval Hospital

The Naval Hospital has started vaccinating patients with normal appointments in Family Practice and Pediatrics. Accompanying eligible family members may also receive their flu shot at the same time.

Patients from 6-months to 2-years old will be seen in the immunizations clinic on a walk in basis.

For everyone else the Seasonal Flu Shot clinic will begin vaccinations for walk-in patients in front of the hospital galley located on the lower level from Sept. 28 through Oct. 2, from 9 to 11:45 a.m. and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Monday Through Friday. After this date flu vaccinations will be offered in the Immunization Clinic on a walk-in basis.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Online Resource for Dealing with Emotional Health Issues Related to Financial Stress

A first-of-its-kind, online guide now provides crucial information and resource referrals for people dealing with emotional or other health problems associated with economic hard times. The “Getting Through Tough Economic Times” guide http://www.samhsa.gov/economy/ provides practical advice on identifying health concerns, developing coping skills and finding help.

Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with other government agencies and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which is administered by SAMHSA’s grantee the Education Development Center, Inc., the guide outlines the risks that unemployment and other forms of economic distress (foreclosure, severe financial losses, etc.) can pose to health.

Based on a review of the scientific literature published in the last 20 years, the guide notes that although these economic problems may affect individuals differently, for many people economic hardship contributes to increased risk for a variety of conditions including:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.) • Substance abuse

On a positive note, the guide also provides individuals and communities with practical steps that can be used to get through these tough periods and achieve restored health and productivity. In particular the guide provides:

• Important information on identifying the warning signs of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses.

• Effective steps to help manage emotional distress, such as through exercise, strengthening connections with family and friends, and developing new job skills.

• Resources for getting help – such as the National Mental Health Information Center http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases/ for information on where to access help on a wide range of mental illnesses, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for those in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is operated by SAMHSA’s grantee Link2HealthSolutions, Inc, under a cooperative agreement.

“The guide is a quick and easy tool that people can use to better manage their emotional wellbeing,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “By helping people remain resilient, we can help promote the overall recovery of our nation.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA is an agency with the Department of Health and Human Services), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. General Services Administration all collaborated in this effort.

For further information on mental health or substance abuse issues please visit SAMHSA’s website at http://www.samhsa.gov

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sickle Cell Awareness Month -- September 2009

From the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 persons in the United States. It affects persons from many different racial and ethnic populations. In the United States, one in 500 African Americans is born with the disease. Other populations affected include Hispanics, persons of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern descent, and Asian Americans. In addition, approximately 2 million persons in the United States have sickle cell trait. Sickle cell disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. A person with one copy of the mutated gene for hemoglobin is commonly referred to as having sickle cell trait. The trait typically is asymptomatic, and persons with the trait commonly are unaware of their carrier status. However, these persons might pass the gene on to their children. Currently, no data system exists that can be used to determine the actual prevalence of sickle cell disease in the United States. CDC, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, is working to develop a pilot surveillance system that will help determine more about how many persons have the disease and how it affects them.
For additional information about sickle cell disease go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell.