Category Archives: National Health Issue Week

National Public Health Week April 3rd-9th 2017


Here’s a question for you, let’s see if you can get it. Which of the following are duties, accomplishments or topics based in Public Health?

  • Creating local food markets
  • Seeing patients and diagnosing illnesses or disorders
  • Setting the Minimum Wage
  • Eradication of smallpox and near eradication of polio
  • Setting speed Limits
  • Advises individual treatment options to patients

The answers are local food markets, setting a healthy minimum wage, the eradication of smallpox and speed limits. The other two options, diagnosing illnesses or disorders and advising treatments, may seem like the right answer, but these are actually the duties of healthcare professionals.

Public Health is population focused while healthcare is individual focused. Food markets are encouraged by public health specialists because they give local fresh food instead of fast food which would possibly lower the obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease rates for that neighborhood or city. Setting the minimum wage at an appropriate level that it would allow individuals to cover their basic health needs and decrease the amount of money lost in the healthcare system and economy do to poverty. By use of mass vaccination, Public Health specialists were able to make it so that next to no one gets polio and no one gets small pox. Instead of treating, they prevented and averted the continuing disability and death caused by these diseases. Speed limits was a tricky one, but they are set by public health at levels that decrease accidents.

It took hundreds of thousands of generations to get the life expectancy up to about 40 years at the beginning of the 1900’s. Thanks to public health efforts and an advancement in medicine we have added 30 years to that in three generations. While this is great, the United States is ranked 34th for life expectancy. One of the goals of National Public Health Week is to create the healthiest country in just one generation, by 2030.

Now, can you think of some careers or people that you would consider in public health? You can probably think of health educators, either in high school or community level. If you know the fancy term epidemiologist you’re right on the money. Here are some examples of people that this week is honoring.

  • All High School teachers- By educating the young to graduation, you decrease the chances of poverty
  • Environmentalists- Having a healthy environment, both for work and play, has a tremendous impact on our overall health
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors- A healthy mind is also included in being considered a healthy person.
  • Environmental Health Emergency Response Expert- These are the people that coordinate for disaster relief during an earthquake, hurricane, flood or other disaster.
  • Consumer Safety Officer- These are the people that make sure producers are following the FDA’s regulations and guidelines to ensure that the food supply is health.
  • Researchers- Be it Vaccine, Treatment, Development or any other kind, they play an essential role in moving our health forward.
  • There are many more and the list would go on and on if everyone was put on here.

Eating Disorder Awareness 2017: What’s your take on food?

When you go to a restaurant or have a meal at home, what’s your first response? For most people, their mouth waters and their stomach grumbles. This response is usually considered normal. However there is a part of the population that does not see food as everyone else does. This is where eating disorders could come into play. Individuals with eating disorders are the same as you and I. They go to school or work, interact with the community, and even have successful relationships. These individuals run into problems with food, however, in a way that is not considered normal to the average human. In the United Stated today about 20 million females and 10 million males suffer from some type of eating disorder at some point in their life.

Eating disorders are classified as “Serious conditions that involve extreme emotions, behaviors, and attitudes surrounding food”. There are three main types of eating disorders, although some can be classified as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED) which do not fall within the three main categories. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating are the three most prevalent types of eating disorders in America today. These disorders have the highest mortality rate among all mental illnesses because most individuals tend to hide there habits from family and friends.

Anorexia Nervosa is classified in the DSM-5, a manual for the diagnosis of mental disorders,  as the restriction of food leading to low body weight, an intense fear of becoming fat or gaining weight even though the individual is under weight, and the distorted perception of body image in regards to weight and shape. People with this ED have a distorted image of themselves where they view their body as fat and overweight when in reality they are severally underweight. This perceived image often leads to food restriction and purging behaviors. Of all the people with anorexia 90 to 95% are young females.

The next is bulimia nervosa. With bulimia, as according to the DSM-5, there are episodes of binge eating in which a large amount of food is consumed in a short amount of time coupled with a sense of no control of behaviors during the episode. The next key piece of bulimia is the recurrent behaviors of purging to prevent weight gain. These behaviors must be present at lease once a week for three months. Individuals with bulimia also have a negative self image in regards to weight similar to anorexia. Today bulimia affects one to two percent of adolescent and young adult females. This illness is also often associated with symptoms of depression.

The last of the three main EDs is Binge Eating. Although binge eating can be associated with bulimia, on it’s own binge eating is something different. The big difference between binge eating and bulimia is that binge eating is not associated with a negative purging behaviors. These binge eating episodes can include eating faster than normal, feeling uncomfortable full, eating a lot when you do not feel hungry, isolated eating due to shame, and a feeling of disgust at oneself. An individual with BED, or binge eating disorder, will tend to eat large amounts of food in isolation but will not follow up with purging activities such as throwing up or excessive use of laxatives.

Treatments for eating disorders include what is know to be a team approach. Each treatment plan is tailored to the individual and their needs. A team of a psychologist or psychiatrist, a social worker, and the individual’s primary care doctor work to provide psychotherapy and most times medication to assist the patient. The treatment will take time and patience in order to work successfully. Individuals with eating disorders can get better with the help of their team and the support of family and friends.

So let me ask, what’s your take on food? The answer to this question is up to you and you alone. If you suspect that you or someone close to you may have an eating disorder it is best to talk to someone that can provide access to help. Eating disorders, like any other mental illness, do not define people. This is only a part of what they go through and who they are. Individuals with EDs are no more different that one person to another and should be treated with respect along with the everyone else.




Burn Awareness Week

Lets play out a scenario, shall we? You are at home with your young child making cookies in the oven and dinner on the stove top. Your little one decides to reach for the pot of boiling water on the stove and scalds himself. Do you know what to do? This is just one example of what could possible happen within a home on any given day. The key is how you can prevent this from happening and how to act once the injury has been done. Burns can come in many forms such as scalds, which can range from mild to severe, to burns obtained in a house fire.

There are three main types, or degrees, of burns that can occur. First degree burns are classified by the area being red and non-blistered. Second degree burns can be classified by the affected area having blisters with some thickening of the skin. Lastly are third degree burns, which require medical attention and can be classified by the affected area having widespread thickness of the skin and a white leathery appearance. Besides the three main types there are also fourth degree burns which have all the characteristics of third degree burns. Fourth degree burns, however, go deeper than the skin and have an affect of the tendons and bones beneath. In situations like these, medical attention is necessary to prevent long term harm.

Most household or daily burns that occur tend to be mild and most often scalds from hot liquid or minor burns from hot surfaces. These injuries are mostly accidents, such as bumping the stove and spilling that pot of boiling water or putting something in the oven and accidentally bumping the edge. While these are fairly common and minor, action needs to be taken to prevent damage to the skin and other areas.

There are a few special considerations when it comes to burns, which are the elderly and young children. To start off, the elderly have a higher risk for burn injuries. These could range from a cooking accident to a house fire. Some simple prevention tactics are to use oven mitts in the kitchen instead of a rag. Another is to be cautions when cooking with oil. If an oil fire should happen, cover the pan with the cover to smother the flames and never put water on an oil fire as it could cause more damage.

Next is young children. It is advised that parents establish a “no kid zone” in the kitchen around the stove, oven, and when taking out or moving hot items and liquids. This is just one way to prevent pediatric burns. Another is to use the back burners of a stove top with any handles of pots or pans facing away from the edge, or toward the wall. These tactics can help reduce the average annual cost of burn injures currently sitting at 44 million dollars. Implementing prevention techniques can also help prevent deaths associated with pediatric burns. On average 1,100 children die each year from burns and fire injuries.

Treatment of burns is fairly the same across all ages. The first step is to run the burned area under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. Should the burned site be surrounded by clothing, remove the clothing and then run the area under cool water. After that, wrap the area in sterile bandages or a clean towel. These should be changed periodically depending on the burn. As stated before, if the burn classifies as a third or fourth degree medical attention is required to prevent long term damage.

Overall, burns can be prevented and treated if caught soon enough. By following basic prevention techniques and remaining aware of what is going on you can avoid injury. Elderly individuals and people with young children should take extra precautions to assist in preventing injury. Only you can control what happens and it’s up to you to make the choice to prevent burns from happening.

Diabetes Awareness Month


Diabetes is a disease that occurs when one’s body has an impaired ability to produce insulin. Without the insulin to break down the glucose, it begins to build up in the blood stream. Untreated, this build up of glucose can cause heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and extremity amputation. These effects are what makes diabetes the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more per year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. 1 in 11 Americans lives with diabetes. 3 in 11 Americans are at risk of developing diabetes.

There are two different types of Diabetes, types 1 and 2. Type 1 Diabetes has been called juvenile diabetes before because it usually occurs early in one’s life. People with type 1 diabetes are usually dependent on insulin injection or other therapies in order to survive. Type 1 diabetes makes up 5-10% of the existing Diabetic community. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be prevented by your lifestyle choices. Type 2 is caused later in life from an inactive lifestyle.

The American Diabetes Association was founded in 1995 to help fund research for Diabetes and improve those that are affected by it’s life. They help the Diabetic community by:

  • Providing credible information
  • Giving voices to those discriminated against
  • Research new ways to prevent, manage and possibly cure Diabetes

Their theme this year is This is Diabetes. They are showcasing stories of people that challenge the limitations they have and overcome them. Help spread awareness by using #ThisIsDiabetes to share your story or the information on their webpage.