November
26

As we grow old, our body and brain starts to change. While physical features are among the first changes we notice, it’s natural to start to feel ourselves slowing down in general: not being as alert and active with our physical or mental senses. Among the many signs of aging, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the most common form of dementia among older adults, has become a heartbreaking disease that millions throughout the country are suffering from.

Despite Alzheimer’s officially being termed a disease since 1901, it seems to have had a major impact on elderly people in more recent years. AD typically starts around the age of 60, with the risk going up as one gets older. Since 2000, death due to the Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 89%, also killing more than breast and prostate cancer combined. In fact, the disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. To date, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, with the numbers looking to reach as much as 16 million by 2050.

So what can we do to prevent it, or at least make the situation manageable? While there are currently no medicines available to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s, researching and understanding the disease can help. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Alzheimer’s is an age related, non-reversible brain disorder that develops over a period of years. It starts off slowly and first attacks parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. AD can cause people to have trouble remembering things that happened recently, or names of people they know, no matter how close they are to that person or how frequent they see them.

AD will gradually lead to a whole range of behaviour and personality changes, including a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making and language skills. In short, Alzheimer’ ultimately leads to a severe loss of mental function making. While each person can suffer or react to the disease differently, it’s common that those with AD end up forgetting those closest to their heart and how to carry out simple, daily tasks.

Taking note of the early symptoms and seeking help as early as possible can help one  deal with the situation. Being aware of the symptoms may help you pinpoint the disease earlier so you can take appropriate actions for you or your loved one. Mayo Clinic advices you to keep observe the following symptoms of AD:

  • Bad memory that worsens over time including repeating statements and questions over and over, and not realizing that they’ve asked the question before.
  • Forgetfulness of conversations, appointments or events with no remembrance of them later.
  • Getting lost in familiar places.
  • Eventually forgetting the names of family members and everyday objects.
  • Having trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations.
  • Difficulty to manage finances, checkbooks, or anything that includes numbers.
  • Not knowing what to do in a simple situation.
  • Difficulty in planning and performing familiar tasks such as cooking a meal, dressing bathing etc.

Other changes in one’s personality and behaviour to look out for include:

  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Mood swings
  • Distrust in others
  • Irritability and aggressiveness.
  • Changes in sleeping habits.
  • Wandering
  • Loss of inhibitions.
  • Delusions, such as believing something has been stolen.

If you or someone you know is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there are a few things the National Institute of Aging recommends to help plan one’s future. As soon as one is diagnosed, it’s best to ask for certain contact numbers that specialize in AD. This will allow you or the patient to have a support system ready at anytime if needed. Regular medical check ups are also highly recommended, just as considering to see a specialized memory disorders clinic is something that should be on the list.

Where possible, one should also prepare legally and financially for the foreseeing future. You may need a long term care plan which one may prefer to set up themselves while they are still able to. Other more common ways for one to prepare for their journey with Alzheimer’s is getting help with daily tasks from someone that can be trusted, avoiding being alone, avoiding driving if you aren’t confident or easily get confused, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting as much exercise as possible.

Though Alzheimer’s does have a huge impact on the person suffering and any other members involved, there are plenty of support teams available and various care plans one explore. Despite the disease being a tremendously sad way to watch a loved one go, spending time and taking trips down memory lane often help AD patients remember certain things and people, even if it’s only for a limited amount of time.

For more information on Alzheimer’s, see:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350447

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Alzheimers-Disease-Information-Page

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/now-what-next-steps-after-alzheimers-diagnosis

 

November
3

When it comes to indulging in food, sugar is probably one of the most popular ingredients we seek on a daily basis. These days, the amount of sugar in various products we eat has risen to alarming levels. Chocolates and sweets, cakes, and soda are just a few of the items on our ‘can’t live without’ list. The amount of sugar present in products such as these are playing a huge part in causing diabetes for both children and adults.

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose (also known as your blood sugar) levels are too high. While one wouldn’t think something like sugar could cause much harm, it has sadly been the cause of suffering and death for millions globally. So, how do we get diabetes, and how does it really affect our bodies? Glucose comes from the foods you eat, while insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to convert to more energy. You may be familiar with children becoming hyper after having too much chocolate or even yourself having a sudden rush of energy after devouring something sweet. This is the effect of glucose and insulin at work.

To understand diabetes properly, one must understand the two different types of diabetes. According to Medline Plus, those with type 1 diabetes lack insulin, or their bodies cannot produce the hormone needed to help distribute the glucose. This type of diabetes can develop at any age but typically appears during childhood or adolescence. With type 2 diabetes, which is more common, your body does not use insulin well. This means the hormone is present in your body but isn’t functioning how it should be. Type 2 diabetes can also develop at any age; however, it is more common in people older than 40.

Because of the lack of insulin, the glucose stays in your blood, making your blood sugar level high, which can then cause you to have diabetes. There is also a stage called prediabetes: your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. However, those that are suffering from prediabetes have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if the amount of sugar intake isn’t controlled.

With too much glucose present in your blood, a whole range of serious problem can arise. Damage to your eyes, kidneys, and nerves are frequent issues people suffer. Heart disease, strokes, and the need to remove a limb are also possible problems one with diabetes could face. While each person’s level of glucose varies, and each situation is different, more and more people are becoming victims of diabetes with rates increasing over the last few years.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says an estimated total of 30.3 million people have diabetes in the U.S. That’s 9.4 percent of the overall U.S population. While only 23.1 million of the above have officially been diagnosed, there is still another estimated 84.1 million adults, aged 18 or older, with prediabetes. While prediabetes doesn’t mean you officially have diabetes, it means you are borderline and could easily become part of that large diabetes-bearing population. More than 23 million adults aged 65 or older are on the fence to becoming another diabetes patient. That being so, diabetes is a major problem for adults and those that are ageing.

If you are concerned you may have diabetes, then there are a list of symptoms to look out for. Most patients that test positive for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have experienced at least one or more of the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infection.

Blood tests will determine whether you have diabetes and what type it is. The same sort of test can also show if you are suffering from prediabetes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes you may be prescribed medication and recommended various activities such as proper exercise and sticking to a strict meal plan. While each case is different, constant checks of your sugar level is a must, with most people investing in home kits to check their sugar level on a daily basis.

For those that aren’t familiar with diabetes, we highly recommend investing a few hours researching and studying diabetes. While the disease is most common in adults, children can also suffer from it, especially when there is a history of family diabetes. If in doubt, request to see your local health provider.  Diagnosing diabetes early is one of the best ways to keep the disease under control, and to prevent more serious complications from arising.

 

For more information on diabetes, see:

https://medlineplus.gov/diabetes.html

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/diabetes-statistics

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/symptoms/con-20033091

 

November
2

Over the last few months, a recent outbreak of a rare disease has raised concern for those living in Hawai’i. Angiostrongyliasis, also known as rat lungworm, is a parasitic nematode (roundworm parasite) that invades the brain and spinal cord causing illnesses and death. To date, there have been 17 confirmed cases of the disease in Hawai’i, with the latest being an infant of just 11 months old. While 17 cases may seem minute, it’s the highest it has been in the last decade, with 2016 coming in at second place with a total of 11 confirmed cases.

So, why has there been a large increase in the recent years, and what can be done to prevent people from contracting the disease? The disease, which is caused by a parasitic nematode, is normally found in rats when in adult form. However, the disease can easily be contracted by slugs and snails, too. As stated by the CDC, rats host the worm which is then passed on through their feces. Slugs and snails feed on such feces, meaning the disease is now being carried by these creatures which are often found in farms and gardens, leafy greens, herbs, and other various fruits and vegetables.

According to the State of Hawai’i Department of Health you can get rat lungworm by eating food contaminated by the disease. This includes raw or undercooked snails or slugs, or raw produce that contains small amounts of infected snail or slug. In general, rat lungworm isn’t spread person-to-person. The disease can only be contracted through digesting infected produce or direct contact with infected slugs. It’s even more critical we do our part to ensure any food, whether fresh or not, is washed and cleaned as thoroughly as possible.

If you have recently eaten any sort of slug or raw produce which you believe may be infected, there are a few symptoms that may help determine whether or not you have contracted the disease. However, not everyone notices the symptoms, with some only experiencing very mild symptoms which they could easily mistake for something else. The main symptoms you should look out for if you are concerned of the disease are the following, in no specific order:

  • Severe headaches
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Tingling or painful feeling in the skin or extremities
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Other symptoms such as a temporary paralysis of the face has also been known to happen, as well as light sensitivity. It should also be noted that the symptoms may not start 1 to 3 weeks after one has been exposed to the parasite. While there is no current cure for the disease, the symptoms normally last between 2- 8 weeks and can go away by itself. However, if you are concerned, it’s highly recommended you seek medical advice as soon as possible due to the risk of health complications to your brain and spinal cord.

To lower your chances of getting rat lungworm, Hawai’i News Now reported how health officials have provided a list they recommend you strictly follow when there is contact between slugs or when eating various produce.

  • Always inspect, wash and store produce in sealed containers.
  • Make sure your inspections are thorough.
  • Thoroughly wash fruit and vegetables under running water, especially leafy greens that are often the hideouts of snails and slugs.
  • Control snail, slug and rat pollution around your property where possible, making the environment around your home and gardens the priority. Various treatments to kill and get rid of the above can be bought over the counter.
  • Boil snails, freshwater prawns, crabs and frogs for at least 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands when handling slugs and snails or other creatures.
  • Where possible, completely avoid eating snails, slugs and frogs.

 

For more information on the Rat Lungworm Disease, see:

https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/angiostrongyliasis/index.html

http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat-lungworm-angiostrongyliasis/

November
1

Taking care of your mouth, teeth, and gums is a must. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath, all which can cause serious problems throughout your years, and even more so as you get older. One of the best ways to prevent the above is by starting off young, and by that, we mean teaching your little ones the proper way to look after their teeth as soon as possible. While getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a chore, there are plenty of fun and entertaining ways to familiarize them with this daily routine.

Medline Plus explains how helping your child maintain healthy teeth plays an important role in their overall health. Though some may not worry about their child’s teeth till they actually start to grow, there are actually a few things one can do to prepare them for teething as soon as they are born. For babies, it is advised to clean their teeth and gums with a soft, clean cloth or a baby’s toothbrush for those that have already started to teeth. It is also important to keep a close eye on on their teeth for spots or stains especially if you are putting your baby to bed with a bottle. As many babies fall asleep drinking milk, not being able to retrieve the bottle immediately can cause milk to hang around on your little one’s teeth.

While there is a limit of how much you can do to look after your child’s teeth while they are still so young, it’s best to start taking strict action as soon as their teeth break out. This should include familiarizing your child with a toothbrush and what needs to be done as young as 6 months old. Though you baby won’t fully understand what is going on, starting off young should make brushing a lot easier as they grow older. Mayo Clinic advise parents to register their children with their local dentists as soon as they reach 6 months of age. The American Dental Association also recommends scheduling a child’s first dental exam after the first tooth erupts, and no later than his or her first birthday. Baby’s gums and teeth may be examined during well-baby checkups, however, seeking the professional help of a dentist will provide you, the parent, with a better insight of any problems, and the answers and advice you may be looking for.

As soon a your child becomes a toddler, and right up until they reach adolescence, scheduling a dental appointment every 6 months is a must. By doing so you are providing your child with the best oral care they can have. While brushing their teeth will become the responsibility of your child as they get older, making sure you show interest in their teeth’s well being will entice them to also look after their teeth. Forming healthy habits at a young age can help your children have healthy teeth for life.

Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is one of the most common problems when it comes to teeth. Despite doing your best to look after your child’s teeth, cavities can’t always be stopped, and on many occasions you will be surprised to hear your child has cavities when you next visit your dentist. The common problem affects people of all ages, but seem to cause more problems for younger ones. CDC explains how untreated cavities can cause pain, absence from school, difficulty concentrating on learning, and poor appearance. This being so, it’s even more important to implement strict rules when it comes to brushing thoroughly and daily.

A few reminders for dental hygiene for kids:

  • Start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when they are two years old. You might start sooner, if a dentist or doctor suggests it.
  • Provide healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks.
  • Encourage your child to eat regular nutritious meals and avoid frequent between-meal snacking.
  • Make toothbrush time fun and entertaining.
  • Brush your teeth together, or make it a special family moment each morning and night.
  • Educate your little ones on proper dental care, and what can happen if they don’t look after their teeth.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups.

For more information on dental hygiene for kids, see:

https://medlineplus.gov/childdentalhealth.html

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/dental/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-exam-for-children/basics/why-its-done/prc-20013782

 

September
18

Teething can be a rather stressful time for both parents and babies. Being at such a young and vulnerable age, teething can be the most stressful time in a child’s first year. However, understanding teething and what you can do to make both you and your child’s life easier plays a big role in overcoming this delicate stage. Wahiawā Health highly recommends new moms to take the time to understand exactly what happens when teething starts, and how you can help soothe your baby.

Every child is different. In some cases, teething can start as early as 3 months old; however, teething typically starts around the 4th – 7th month. The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first to appear, followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors). The Mayo Clinic describes how certain factors can help determine whether your child has started or is about to begin the process. While you may not see a tooth present, teething can cause pain and discomfort for the child before the teeth actually come out.

Here are a few signs to look for if your child begins to teethe:

  • Drooling
  • Chewing on solid objects
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Sore or tender gums

No parent enjoys seeing their child in pain and discomfort, especially when it’s at an age that communication is challenging. Your child will start to feel constant pain. Because of this, your child may be restless and moody during naps, their normal sleeping pattern is disrupted, and play time becomes stressful rather than playful. While many parents turn to numbing medications to help soothe their infant’s gums, medical research has described how certain treatments could potentially be more dangerous than one would think.

According to the FDA, products with benzocaine should not be used on children that are younger than 2 years old, except under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional. Benzocaine—which, like viscous lidocaine, is a local anesthetic and can be found in over-the-counter products such as Anbesol, Hurricane, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase. These products have become popular when it comes to numbing gums; however, the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare, serious, and a potentially fatal condition called methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia is a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the bloodstream is greatly reduced. Studies have shown that children under 2 years old appear to be at particular risk.

So what other ways can help soothe your infant during the teething period? Kids Health recommends a selection of tips that don’t require medical assistance or products, yet will still provide the comfort your child is looking for.

  • Wipe your baby’s face often with a cloth to remove the drool and prevent rashes from developing.
  • Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
  • Give your baby something to chew on. Make sure it’s big enough that it can’t be swallowed or choked on and that it can’t break into small pieces. A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes makes a handy teething aid. Be sure to take it out of the freezer before it becomes rock hard — you don’t want to bruise those already swollen gums — and be sure to wash it after each use.
  • Rubber teething rings are also good, but avoid ones with liquid inside because they may break or leak. If you use a teething ring, chill it in the refrigerator, but NOT the freezer. Also, never boil to sterilize it — extreme changes in temperature could cause the plastic to get damaged and leak chemicals.
  • If your baby seems irritable, ask your doctor if it is OK to give a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies older than 6 months) to ease discomfort. Never place an aspirin against the tooth, and don’t rub alcohol on your baby’s gums.
  • Teething biscuits and frozen or cold food are only OK for kids who are already eating solid foods. Don’t use them if your child has not yet started solids. And make sure to watch your baby to make sure that no pieces break off or pose a choking hazard.

If you’re worried your child seems exceptionally discomforted or in pain, seeking medical advice is always the best solution. Your local pediatrician may be able to prescribe a safe medication that will soothe your infant’s gums and ease the pain. We highly recommend you get the opinion of a professional who you can discuss your worries and concerns with before buying products over the counter.  

Wahiawā Health has trained and expert pediatricians on staff Monday-Saturday.  For more information or to set up an appointment with one of our staff, call 808-622-1618.  No insurance?  No problem.  Staff will be able to assist.

For more information on teething, see:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/teething/art-20046378

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm385817.htm

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/teething.html

September
18

As we get older not only do we physically change, but we mentally do, too. With age brings a whole range of health concerns, but with the right knowledge and understanding, we can do our part to prevent these issues or and address them with better awareness.

People in the United States are living longer than ever before. More seniors are healthy and active, and can still enjoy their golden years. Knowing and understanding life transitions as one ages is a key factor. While some changes are part of normal aging, others may be a warning sign of a medical problem that may need medical attention.

As humans age, it is common that we start to slow down. We aren’t as active as when we were younger, just as previous simply tasks start to become more difficult and laborious. While our body slows down, our heart rate also starts to change. According to the Mayo Clinic, our heart rate becomes slightly slower as we age with the chances of it actually increasing. Blood vessels and arteries also become stiffer, making it harder for one’s heart to pump blood through to them. Because of this, our heart works harder while trying to provide your blood vessels and arteries with the supply of nutrients they need. This can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

Despite living a healthy life during your earlier years, various health concerns for seniors comes naturally with age. While living a healthy lifestyle can be attained through eating healthy and getting the appropriate exercise, there is a list of common concerns that can affect an older person as they age, even one with considerable health lifestyle choices.

Here are the 10 most common concerns for seniors:

  • Arthritis
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Influenza and Pneumonia
  • Oral Health
  • Shingles

One of the best ways we can contribute to staying healthy is by watching what we eat and getting enough nutrients in the body. Family Doctor explains fiber is one of the most recommended nutrients seniors need. Men over 50 years of age should get 30 grams of fiber per day; women over 50 should get 21 grams per day. But why fiber? How does fiber help improve our health, and how can we be sure we get enough of it?

Here are 3 ways fiber can improve your health. Take note that the following health concerns are among some of the most common illnesses and problems.

  • It helps your colon work better and helps avoid constipation.
  • It reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer
  • It helps lower your blood cholesterol level.

So for reducing heart disease, diabetes, and preventing cancer, having adequate sources of fiber in your diet begins to address some of the top 10 common health concerns for seniors.

In other articles, we will explore in depth how choosing proper foods and making smarter life choices can help address or minimize some of the other common health concerns that happen in later life stages.

For more information on common concerns for seniors, see:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070?p=1

https://familydoctor.org/healthy-habits-at-age-60-and-beyond/

 

June
2

As of February 24, 2017, Hawai’i’s Department of Human Services has amended its rules as it applies to licensed, registered daycare and childcare providers.

Due to increased concerns over SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the DOH has clarified in more depth its regulations by requiring caregivers to adhere to safer sleeping practices for infants and toddlers.

Whether you are a parent, a caregiver, or your infant or keiki attends a daycare, has a babysitter, or has a caregiver outside the immediate family, these amended guidelines are included to ensure safer sleeping conditions and can be beneficial to anyone in direct supervision of young children.

Here are actual provisions added to Sub Chapter 10 under the Rules 17-891.1 and  17-895.

    PROGRAM MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT (17-891.1)

  •    (i) For children less than one year of age, childcare facilities shall follow subchapter 10 of Safe Sleep of this chapter. For children ages one year and older, the following sleep equipment shall be made available:

                 (1) Individual bed, crib, cot, mat, or rug for each child who rests; and

                 (2) Amendment: A clean sheet or cover to be used on the bed, crib, cot, mat, or rug for each child.

   PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  •  (d) The childcare facility shall ensure the following for sleeping children less than one year of age:

              (3) Amendment: A child who falls asleep in a location or equipment other than a crib or playpen shall be moved to a crib or playpen for the remainder of the nap.

   SLEEP ENVIRONMENT

  •   (f) Amendment: The childcare facility shall not use recalled items such as cribs, playpens, and other equipment unless the item has been repaired in accordance with the manufacturer’s standards and the childcare facility maintains a record of the repair.

  PROGRAM MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT (17-895)

  • (g) The following shall be available:

               (4) Amendment: Individual storage spaces for children’s clothing and personal belongings.

For more information, visit Department of Human Services.

 

June
2

SIDS, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or crib death, is something no parent should have to experience. This sudden and unexplained death, usually during sleep, has become a nightmare for many new parents. While SIDS is more common in newborns, or babies only a few months old, it can also happen to babies up to 12 months old. Most recorded SIDS deaths have happened between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occurred before a baby reached 6 months old. This unexplained tragedy can happen to seemingly healthy babies, making it even more devastating and a leading cause of concern when babies sleep at any time of the day.

Although the original cause is not entirely known, Mayo Clinic states SIDS may be associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant’s brain that control breathing and arousal from sleep. (Another reason for the term crib death is due to sudden death while a baby sleeps). Having to struggle with the loss of a child is heartbreaking, especially for mothers and fathers who have only just given birth to their child. Sadly, more than 2,300 babies are dying annually due to SIDS.

Preventing SIDS

While this is an unexpected event that can’t be predicted, one can do their best to prevent it from happening. CDC recommends parents and caregivers do the following to help prevent SIDS:

  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep for every sleep session.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot while they sleep.

It’s also important you create a safe environment for your child while he or she sleeps, especially if they are being left in a crib or a play area where they’ll be left unsupervised for a few minutes. This means keeping their area clear of toys, crib bumpers, loose bedding under, over, or near the baby, and having potential soft objects around that can smother or suffocate, such as stuffed animals.

For those that are concerned about SIDS, visit Safe to Sleep, a registered trademark of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, that covers all areas of SIDS and how you can prevent it. Learning about SIDS isn’t just for the parents, but enlightening other family members and even friends is a way of ensuring they, too, understand the potential seriousness SIDS can have. For a detailed copy and illustrations on how you can prevent SIDS, go to Safe to Sleep and learn the must do’s and don’ts, plus detailed explanations on SIDS.

For more information on SIDS, see:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20020269

https://www.cdc.gov/sids/parents-caregivers.htm

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/about/environment/room/Pages/default.aspx

June
2

With or without children, family planning is an important topic that couples should consider. Not only does family planning help prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it also gives you and your partner time to plan your future with intent. For many, family planning is the perfect way to space out having children and create the ideal age gap, or on the contrary, a way for couples to maintain their “child-free” life, all the more reason to take precautionary steps. Not everyone is in favor of family planning, but for most, it’s seen as the best way to prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, and financially.

Are you really ready to have your first child or add another member so soon? A child completely changes one’s life and brings along a whole range of new responsibilities and financial costs. While you may be eager to have another child shortly after giving birth to your first, one must consider the bigger picture and whether you have the resources available to give your keiki a better quality of life.

The Risks

Alongside being prepared, pregnancy within six months of a live birth is associated with various increased risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests both mother and the unborn baby could be at risk of the following:

  • Premature birth
  • The placenta partially or completely peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery (placental abruption)
  • Low birth weight
  • Congenital disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Additional research also suggests that there is an increased risk of autism in second-born children within less than two years of a live birth. However, the risk is higher for pregnancies spaced less than 12 month apart. While your baby can be at risk, mothers who haven’t had enough time to recover from pregnancy may also suffer from lack of nutrients, particularly folate and iron, while inflammation of the genital tract that develops during pregnancy that hasn’t completely healed before the next baby could also become an issue.

Prevention

The best way to prevent unexpected pregnancies is choosing a contraceptive that suits both you and your partner. With a selection of contraception available today, finding one that fits your wants and needs while also considering any medical issues is easy. To start, CDC explains how implants, an IUD, and both male and female sterilization are the most effective type of contraception with less than 1 woman out of 100 falling pregnant in a year. Other highly recommended contraceptives are:

  • The Pill
  • Injectables
  • The Patch
  • The Ring
  • The Diaphragm

Condoms are also recommended; however, for long-term effectiveness, the above mentioned are more reliable and convenient.

Emergency Contraceptive  

Despite planning, accidents do happen, even when one assumes protection. If this is the case and a backup method is needed, emergency contraceptives are available for those who seek to take action immediately. Emergency contraceptive pills are also known as the “morning after pill” and help prevent pregnancy within 24 hours or up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The pill does this by:

  • Preventing ovulation (release of an egg from the ovaries)
  • Preventing an egg from being fertilized by sperm
  • Preventing a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the wall of the uterus

According to the NCSL, the National Conference of State Legislations, there are two EC’s (emergency contraceptives) legally available in the US that can prevent pregnancies when taken up to 5 days after sexual intercourse.

Emergency contraception pills are estimated to be 75 to 90 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and are available in most states. There are only 9 states that allow pharmacists to initiate emergency contraception drug therapy if they are working in collaboration with a physician, and/or after they have completed a training program in emergency contraception, Hawai’i being one of them.

Emergency contraceptive can be used if:

  • You were not using any type of birth control when you had sex
  • You forgot to take your birth control pills
  • Your partner’s condom broke or slipped off during sex
  • Your diaphragm slipped out of place during sex
  • You were forced to have unprotected sex

Please note emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

While emergency contraceptives can be expensive, they can be the best solution if your form of contraceptive fails and you are not ready to have another child. Family planning is highly recommended, and Wahiawā Health Center encourages all families, couples, and sexually active people to consider taking some sort of contraceptive if they are looking to prevent pregnancy.

For more information on Family Planning, see:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/family-planning/art-20044072

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/UnintendedPregnancy/PDF/Contraceptive_methods_508.pdf

http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/emergency-contraception-state-laws.aspx

 

June
1

On May 26, 2017, Wahiawā Health hosted the Wahiawā Resource Fair, engaging a solid number of organizations and a good showing of volunteers.   With organizing support from ALEA Bridge, another non-profit entity focusing on helping the homeless and at-risk groups on Oahu, the event was an outreach effort that brought hope to many low-income, homeless, or at-risk populations in need of resources, including health care access.

Some of the 20 groups that took part in this event included:

Wahiawā Health, with seven certified, specialized health care practitioners on staff, including Dr. Leo Pascua, Medical Director, former Chief-of-Staff at Wahiawā General and Dr. Bill McKenzie, a veteran practitioner focusing on Women’s Health. Staff welcomed and educated all visitors about their services, insurance concerns, and provided the first steps to beginning a wellness plan for themselves or their family members.

For more information about the event, visit Wahiawā Resource Fair.