IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  July 1, 2004

Know the ABCs of CPR

If you've never taken a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, these simple instructions could help you save a life. If you have taken a CPR course, checking this American Heart Association's procedure will serve as a review of what you learned.

A: Airway. If the person is not responsive, first call 911. If there are no head or neck injuries, gently tilt the head back by lifting the chin with one hand and pushing down on the forehead with the other.

B: Breaths. If the person is not breathing normally, give two rescue breaths. Keeping the head tilted, pinch the nose closed, and place your mouth around the mouth. Blow two slow, full breaths (about two seconds each), while watching to see that the chest rises with each breath.

After giving two breaths, check for signs of circulation such as breathing, coughing, movement, or responsiveness to gentle shaking. Place your ear near the mouth, listen for breathing.

C: Chest compressions. If no circulation is detected, begin chest compressions. Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest (between the nipples), with the heel of the second hand on top. Position your body directly over your hands, elbows locked. Apply 15 compressions, pushing the breastbone down about two inches with each thrust and allowing the chest to return to normal between compressions. Use the full weight of your body.

Repeat the procedure three times.

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Mix up a better bowl of yogurt

Plain yogurt brings powerful health benefits to your table, but the taste can leave something to be desired. Dessert style yogurts aren't the answer because they reduce nutrients and add calories.

You can get the benefits of true yogurt and much more by creating your own mix with fruit and sweetener.

These are some of the great health benefits of natural yogurt:

Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that the potential health attributes of yogurt go far beyond boosting intake of protein and calcium. They include the ability to make the immune system more resilient.

The live and active cultures found in yogurt help to protect the intestinal tract. They have great potential as anti-infection agents. And they may help to increase resistance to immune-related diseases such as cancer and infection.

The recommended daily intake of protein varies for different groups of people. In general, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends that most people get two to three servings of high-protein food such as yogurt each day.

Calcium in yogurt does more than keep bones strong. Studies show a link between calcium and normal blood pressure, to name just one of calcium's other functions.

Consider these suggestions for mixing your own concoction with yogurt:

  • By adding fruit such as oranges, peaches, or pears to yogurt, you get the added nutrients in those foods, including vitamin C.
  • Mix with dessert-style yogurt. Go half-and-half to lighten the calorie load Even if you add a little sweetener, you still get the benefits of plain yogurt.
  • Sweeten smartly. When you add fruit, you can sweeten with sugar-free sweeteners, honey, or applesauce.
  • Use yogurt, or sweetened yogurt as a dip for vegetables or as a salad dressing.

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    Inflammation and hypertension

    A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that inflammation can play a role in hypertension. One large study shows that women with the highest levels of the marker CRP (C-reactive protein) were twice as likely to develop high blood pressure within eight years.

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    Weight Loss and Increased Energy

    If you'd like to take up walking, but can't find the extra time to do it, here's a plan that's just right for you.

    The America on the Move (AOM) program from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center proves you can lose weight and increase your energy. To do it, add about 2,000 steps a day to your daily activities and eat 100 calories less, about what's in a slice of bread.

    Wearing a pedometer is an important part of the program. It helps you determine the number of steps you actually take and how much you are increasing that number. Every step counts and you can see them adding up. Wearing the pedometer, you will be more likely to park farther away from work or the store in the parking lot. You could take the long way to the exit after work. You could take a short walk after dinner in the evening.

    Another plus is the program's convenience. You don't have to drive to a gym, buy exercise equipment, or take big segments of your day to do it. And you take your steps by day or by night.

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    Diet could prevent gout

    Did you know that gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men? It affects 3.4 million American men, causing sometimes excruciating pain in the feet and joints.

    Now, a new study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School brings conclusions that could reduce those numbers.

  • Researchers discovered that eating less red meat and seafood reduced risk. Surprisingly, they found that every type seafood was associated with increased risk.
  • Consuming low-fat dairy products reduced risk. This is the first study to show that dairy products are strongly protective.
  • The doctors say that if men heed these two discoveries, they could reduce their risk of developing gout by half. Study subjects, 47,150 men with no history of gout, were followed for 12 years.
  • Avoiding alcohol and maintaining proper body weight are always advised.

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    Osteoporosis facts

    New studies confirm that smoking is a major risk factor for accelerated bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis, according to a report in the Johns Hopkins Medical Letter.

  • In 1990, 25,000 Canadians suffered hip fractures. In the U.S., there are 300,000 hip fractures annually.

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    Keep your brain nimble

    Exactly how the brain works continues to be a mystery. But you can help to preserve its power throughout your life by making the right choices.

    Here's how to live long and live smart.

  • Exercise. Physical activity increases blood flow, supplying the brain cells with more oxygen. One Swedish study shows that the fitter of any two twins was likely to do better on cognitive tests. In his book, Saving Your Brain (Bantam), Dr. Jeffrey Victoroff recommends 20 minutes of vigorous exercise four times a week.
  • Eat colorful foods. Dr. James A. Joseph, author of The Color Code (Hyperion) says the antioxidant power of fruits and vegetables is contained in their natural dyes. They contain a variety of phytochemicals. Go for a wide assortment of colors.
  • Pick high-powered produce. Vegetables like prunes, raisins, kale, spinach, blueberries, and other berries are best at raising antioxidant levels. Prunes and raisins are high on the list partly because nutrition is concentrated in dried fruits. When researchers at Tufts University gave spinach or blueberry extracts to elderly lab animals, their cognitive and motor functioning return to that of much younger animals.
  • Take vitamin E. It is probably the cheapest, most painless, and best researched way to protect your brain says Victoroff. Studies show that older people with the highest cognitive function were those who had taken vitamin E regularly. They had more free-flowing carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain.
  • Other wise moves include controlling cholesterol levels and keeping your brain working with such activities as reading, playing cards, and learning new skills.

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  • Brush right, guard your teeth

    Dentists say people are brushing too hard. Using the wrong technique or a stiff toothbrush can cause gum recession leading to periodontal disease.

    The American Dental Association recommends a soft or extra-soft toothbrush. Even the softest one, however, causes damage when people brush too aggressively or too long.

    Electric toothbrushes such as the Braun Oral-B 3D Excel or Sonicare Plaque Remover shut off when you bear down too hard. The $15 Alert manual toothbrush lights up when you press too hard.

    Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and work it up and down or in circles to the gum line, never back and forth. Dentists say brushing once a day before bedtime is OK if you do a thorough job and floss.

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    Other signs of diabetes

    Classic symptoms of diabetes are well known: fatigue, recurrent infections, and frequent urination, for example. But lesser known signs include:

  • Bad breath, a smell like nail polish remover caused when excess sugar in saliva prompts bacteria growth.
  • Swollen gums, the increased bacteria can lead to inflammation and bleeding.
  • Frequent thirst, the body uses a lot of fluids in an attempt to eliminate sugar.

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    Threats to liver function

    Long-term alcohol consumption and the hepatitis C virus are the two most widely known causes of chronic liver disease in the U.S.

    Doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center say it has become clear that two other problems that affect liver health are not as well known:

  • Excessive use of the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol and other medications).
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is closely associated with diabetes and obesity. About 25 percent of North Americans are affected.

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    Summer safety hazards

    Open windows

    Now come the nice breezes and open windows. But each year about 5,000 children age 10 and under are injured by falling through windows and 18 die. Screens don't help much. According to the Children's Medical Center in Dallas, screens can easily give way under a child's weight.

    They recommend installing window guards and moving furniture away from windows to keep a child from climbing up to reach a window. Tell kids about the dangers of windows and set a good example by not leaning against windows or sitting on their ledges.

    Jellyfish stings

    The number of jellyfish appears to be on the rise. Carry a small bottle of vinegar or rubbing alcohol in your beach bag. If you get stung, it will ease the pain. Contrary to popular beleif, urine will spread and fire the stingers making it hurt more.

    Bee stings

    More than 500,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for bee stings, and 40 die. Bees are attracted to bright clothing, the smell of perfumes and lotions, and sweet foods and drinks.

    If you are stung, remove the stinger by scraping it away with a credit card. (If you squeeze it, more venom will come out.) Wash the area and apply antiseptic. If you have a history of allergic reactions, ask your doctor for an Epi-kit, a syringe filled with epinephrine, a hormone that prevents shock.

    Poison ivy, oak, sumac

    If you touch poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, remove the irritating resin as soon as possible. Wash the area with rubbing alcohol followed by soap and water. If no alcohol is available, at least wash well with soap and water.

    Mosquito bites

    They itch like mad and mosquito bites can transmit diseases like West Nile Virus. A swarm could even make you fall out of your boat (so be sure to wear a life jacket). Repellents containing DEET offer the best protection. For children under age 6, don't use an insect repellent that contains more than 15 percent DEET.

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    Exercise for foot pain

    Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel and arch pain. Sometimes the condition can last for many months.

    Doctors at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York say 83 percent of patients who had the condition for 10 months or more reported no pain or less pain after doing this exercise:

  • Sit with the ankle of the painful foot across the opposite thigh. With your hand, pull your toes toward your shin until you feel a stretch in the arch. Run the opposite hand along the sole of the foot. You should feel a taut band of tissue down the center.
  • Do 10 stretches, holding each for 10 seconds. Do the stretches before getting out of bed in the morning and twice more during the day, preferably after prolonged sitting.
  • In the University study, a second group did the more common calf stretch. Only 58 percent of the people in that group reported that they had less or no pain after 8 weeks.

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    Hydration

    Keeping your body hydrated by taking in enough fluids is an important part of good health. But even if you don't drink the recommended eight glasses of water each day, you probably don't have to worry.

    Counting the food and beverages people consume each day, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) says Americans are usually getting enough water without purposely drinking more.

    Caffeinated beverages can be counted. IOM's Food and Nutrition board says there is little evidence that caffeinated beverages flush water and its benefits from the body. They do contribute to hydration, but are often full of sugar and phosphates, which can weaken bones and teeth.

    The real problem is salt. The average man takes in two to three times the amount of salt the body needs and women get twice as much as they need.

    The second problem is a lack of potassium, an essential nutrient found in spinach, potatoes, cantaloupe, bananas, almonds, and mushrooms. IOM recommends that adults get at least 4.7 grams of potassium daily, but the average man gets between 2.8 and 3.3 grams. Women get between 2.2 and 2.4 grams.

    Doctors writing in HealthNews say getting too much salt and too little potassium increases the risk of high blood pressure. Balancing these two nutrients is very important.

    Before exercising or when you are outdoors in hot weather, drink extra water to make up for what you lose through sweating.

    By limiting salt, getting enough potassium, and drinking more on hot days, you should keep your body properly hydrated.

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    Don't wait to report an injury

    Never wait until the end of your shift to report an injury. Do it immediately. This is especially true of puncture wounds on the fingers and hands. They must be treated aggressively, especially if foreign debris is present.

    Hand infections travel up the tendon sheath. It could be only 10 or 12 hours before sepsis, a toxic condition resulting from the spread of bacteria, sets in.

    Look around, walk around

    Get away from your computer. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have found that short breaks at the right times reduce eyestrain and muscle discomfort without reducing productivity.

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  • Quotes

    All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.

    As a member of this court I am not justified in writing my private notions of policy into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them or how mischievous I may deem their disregard.

    Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of (achieving) a free society.

    I came into the world a Jew, and although I did not live my life entirely as a Jew, I think it is fitting that I should leave as a Jew. I don't want to turn my back on a great and noble heritage.

    It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.

    It is anomalous to hold that in order to convict a man the police cannot extract by force what is in his mind, but can extract what is in his stomach.

    It must take account of what it decrees for today in order that today may not paralyze tomorrow.

    Judicial judgment must take deep account of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today.

    - Felix Frankfurter, Judge (1882-1965)


    Q & A

    Q: Hi, I would like to know how do you define a 'block' in aerobics. I teach aerobics and I'm at ease to create a combination but I do not know how to write it on paper. Can you help me please?

    A: Started with a simple step up and down, then move to a step up and down with a alternate knee. Switch to the next logical progression, an V-Step and then a knee up at each corner. If you make a mistake, revert back to the step up and down with a knee.

    You can then do an alternate knees on each side changing to a turn step and then over the top at each end. You should never have to put it on paper. If you have to put it on paper, you are thinking to much. Since aerobics class is mostly dance, let your body do the 'thinking' and not the brain. Keep the choreography intense but simple. Remember, most instructors are dance people, most attendees are not. They will love your class for the intense workout and hate it for complex choreography.

    Q: I work with a client who gets weird reactions when exercising here in Florida. He's a great athlete who, when playing tennis or rollerblading breaks out in hives and his face blows up, like an allergic reaction. He doesn't get a stuffy nose or the usual allergy reactions. His doctor thinks it's a histamine thing, but when he goes to Colorado to snowboard, it doesn't happen. I used to live in Colorado and there are plenty of allergens in the mountains. What could this be?

    A: Florida is chock full of mold and mildew due to the humidity. Certain areas are more susceptible. Tucson, which is a very dry climate has a special dangerous kind of mold. So it is not limited to humid areas. It sounds like he is allergic to some of the local flora. However, during normal activities the body is not overwhelmed by them. When the heart rate and respiratory system begins to work overtime as in exercise, it pushes the limits over the top. This same kind of reaction can also be caused by food. If the food is digested slowly under normal metabolic rates, the allergens are easily dealt with. When exercise picks up the metabolic rate the body can't handle the onslaught of the food allergens.

    His diet may have changed, even slightly since moving to Florida. Different places have slight variations in food and water contents. Try changing one thing at a time. Give each a week to determine the efficacy of the change. Start with assessing the diet for differences. If none can be determined, try bottled water.

    If there's no resolution, see an allergist who can provide a definitive solution to identify the allergens.

    Q: Woman is 84 years oldand heart rate is 45bpm. Her mind is confused, hallucinatory, otherwise knows her children and where she is pretty much. Very weak, cannot get out of bed, by herself. She was tested for mini stroke, showed none. Blood pressure is from 160's to 180. Pacemaker, maybe? Is her mental state due to low heart rate. Doctors cannot get it higher?

    A: I'm not a medical person so I cannot make a valid diagnosis. Her condition does seem to warrant a medical person's examination. The heart works as a pump. Too low a rate and a high pressure means that blood is not getting to where it should be and in sufficient quantities. This could be caused by many things of which a doctor can better determine.

    Q: My son is 12 years old and pitches. He throws about 65 mph. He is medium build and muscular (stocky). Although, his velocity is above average of skinny kids can hit 72 mph. I was wondering if you any studies or suggestions that stretching/flexibility may help increase arm speed in a pitchers arm?

    A: It could be a range of motion factor, which can be determined visually. A video on slow motion might help as well.

    It may well be just strength. I would suggest the exercises listed under baseball/softball on our Sports Training pages. You can get to those from the mainpage under Libraries. In addition, he may benefit from specific training. Using a heavier bat will over train the required muscles.

    Q: My knees bother me after workouts, and I wonder if you recommend a certain kind of supplement to take for the joints.

    A: Sounds like you should review the proper form for whatever workout you are doing that incorporates knee movement rather than trying to mask the discomfort with supplements. You will avoid long-term damage and chronic pain.

    Q: I have been doing step aerobic classes for seven years 3 to 4 times a week. Now it is too easy. How can I increase my workout intensity? If I add one more layer to my step should I wear knee braces for support?

    A: Every instructor's class is different. You might want to switch classes and see if that recharges your workout. You can add a step, but you do stress the knees. You may want to use a second step for only a part of the class (switch it during a break). Having to use braces for a workout may be an indication that you are starting to overstress certain body components. Be careful not to cause long term damage.

    Q: I have not trained for almost 5 years and want to start working out again. I am 53 and my health is basically very good. My only health issues are intermittent pain in my hips, lower back and knees, especially when climbing stairs. In the long run, developing stronger muscles will significantly improve my overall health and prevent bone loss. My question is, has anyone addressed the concept of weight training for people with physical limitations?

    A: Depending on the limitations, it may warrant seeking the advice and guidance of a physical therapist to overcome the limitations before embarking on a regular training program. If the limitations are simply due to being out of shape, then I would recommend starting out slowly with walking (treadmill or such). Try to walk everyday even if it's for only 5 minutes in the beginning. This will not only improve the cardiovascular system but tone the lower body as well.

    If you are able to do weights, use a weight that you can lift no less that 12 times. If you can only lift it 8 times, then it will be to heavy for you at this point in time.

    Keep in mind that any type of pain before working out is a matter for a doctor, who, incidentally can recommend a Physical Therapist. Any pain during a workout must cause the workout to be discontinued immediately.

    Q: I'm 21 year old, male, 6'3', 225lbs, and about 2 years ago I was in very good shape because I was very heavily into baseball, but now I'm more into my job which is less physically activity but more stressfull. Recently, however I've been having pounding heart beats. I immediately quit smoking but I'm still getting these different heart rates that are waking me up 2 or 3 times a night. I don't do hard drugs anymore for obvious reasons. Do you think this is a problem?

    A: This sounds like a question for your doctor. Be honest with him as well. He might have to do a stress test. Drugs including some supplements can have some pretty bad effects on the overall system including the heart. Only your doctor can make this assessment.

    Q: My neck is stiff due to a car accident. Are you able to tell me ways to streach my neck so it is not so stiff when I turn it so I will not be in pain?

    A: That is a job for a physical therapist. You need to contact your doctor. After a diagnosis to alleviate any medical considerations, he should be able to recommend a Physical Therapist for you. Personal Trainers are not equipped to deal with injuries or clinical conditions.

    Q: Are there any dangers involved if the deltoid is torn completly away from the bone?

    A: If your deltoid muscle is torn completely away from the bone, you will need to contact your doctor. He can make the diagnosis and determine the course of action. It is not a self-healing condition.