Archive for September, 2010
“With new activities, you may be using different muscles and techniques. It is important to take precautions to avoid injury,” says Ankur Desai, a physiotherapist and Professional Practice Leader at The Scarborough Hospital.
While it is impossible to prevent every injury, Ankur offers some general tips to reduce your risk of sports and exercise related injuries:
- Wear the appropriate protective gear for your sport. Items like protective padding, helmets and mouth guards can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
- Always warm up and stretch before you start.
- Never play a sport when you are injured. Wait until you have healed to prevent further injury and the possibility of chronic problems.
- If you are starting a new sport, a new season or a new workout program, don’t overdo it. Increasing the intensity of your exercise should be done gradually to help reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
- Your overall exercise program should include a variety of exercises. A balanced workout should include elements of strength training, cardiovascular training as well as conditioning.
- Stay hydrated before, during and after a workout.
- Use good form. Do not play when you are very tired or in pain. Ask your coach, trainer or physiotherapist if you are using proper form, technique and gear to help reduce the likelihood of sprains, strains and chronic injuries.
“Take the time to enjoy the life growing inside you. It is a wonderful and fascinating experience,” says Dr. Nina Venka, an obstetrician/gynaecologist at The Scarborough Hospital. “Appreciate the joy of being pregnant.”
Dr. Venka shares some tips on how you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy:
- Make sure to take time for yourself. Sometimes second pregnancies seem more tiring and difficult because you are already caring for one child. It is important to plan time for yourself.
- Try to avoid being around people who share negative stories about their own childbirth. They can cause unnecessary stress.
- Remember that not everyone is an expert. Friends and family are excited for you and may want to help by providing advice. If you have questions or concerns, it is best to raise those with your healthcare provider.
- Make sure you have a healthcare provider you feel comfortable with. It is important that you are able to ask questions and share your concerns.
- Take prenatal classes so you know what to expect and are prepared for delivery.
- Prenatal yoga and pregnancy massage can be great for the body and mind.
- Exercise, eat healthy and take prenatal vitamins as advised by your healthcare provider.
- When it comes to weight, don’t get caught up on numbers. How much weight you should gain is dependent on your pre-pregnancy weight. This should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. Tuesday, September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day, an ideal time to get familiar with the warning signs of the onset of this disease.
“Watch for simple signs of forgetfulness; a little bit more than ‘where did I put my keys?’ or ‘where did I put the phone?’” explains Dr. Joel Maser, a geriatric specialist with the Specialized Geriatric Unit at The Scarborough Hospital. “Sometimes, they might repeat themselves, asking the same question over and over, or they miss dates, forget to turn off lights, tap or stove.”
Sometimes they may be temporarily confused: “Where did I put my car in the parking lot?” That happens to all of us at times, but if it happens a little too frequently, it might be a sign of “mild cognitive impairment” that we see in the elderly, and we start getting concerned, “Is this is the onset of dementia?”
Be vigilant and watch for the signs:
- Memory loss that affects day-to-day function (i.e., cooking, forgetting to take pills)
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks (i.e., such as driving, hobbies, etc.)
- Problems with language (i.e., forgetting words and names)
- Disorientation of time and place
- Poor or decreased judgment
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood and behaviour
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative (i.e., feelings of apathy)
Toronto Public Health recently launched the “Check Your Package” ad campaign aimed at creating awareness about testicular cancer and the importance of monthly self exams. Ads for the campaign, which include a photo of a man’s midsection, were denied by Facebook and deemed distasteful and threatening.
“Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer among men 15 to 35,” says Dr. Henry Krieger, a medical oncologist with The Scarborough Hospital for 35 years. “In most cases, the cancer is curable if detected early. It is important to bring awareness to the significance of self exams.”
When conducting a self exam, check for swelling or enlargement of a testicle; a hard lump on the front or sides of your testicles; an increase in firmness; and pain, discomfort or a heavy feeling in the scrotum or lower abdomen. If you have any of these symptoms you should consult a doctor.
Here are the steps to conducting a monthly self exam:
- Look at your testicles in the mirror and get familiar with their size, shape and feel.
- After a bath or shower, hold the scrotal skin in the palms of your hands.
- Check one testicle at a time.
- Using both hands, gently roll each testicle between your fingers.
- Gently roll your thumb over the top of the testicle. You should be able to feel the epididymis, the tube that carries sperm. This is a normal lump at the back of each testicle.
- Repeat monthly.
“Although arthritis cannot be prevented in many cases, there are several things that can be done to help alleviate pain and reduce the severity of the disease,” says Dr. Michael Bushuk, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at the General campus of The Scarborough Hospital.
In this, Arthritis Awareness Month, Dr. Bushuk shares some risk factors for developing arthritis:
- Excess weight puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints like knees, hips and feet. Losing weight can ease pain.
- Although arthritis can affect people of any age, the disease is most commonly found in seniors. A healthy lifestyle can help you age well and reduce your risk of arthritis.
- Injuries to the joints or joint inflammation can lead to arthritis.
- There are several different types of arthritis. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There is a heredity factor in some types of arthritis.
- Staying active is key. Pain, stiffness and swelling of the joint are common symptoms of arthritis. By keeping active, one can keep their weight down and improve muscle strength around a joing which reduces the stress on the joint.
The cautionary bedtime rhyme may be more easily said than done: Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Toronto Public Health has had an increase in calls about bedbugs in the past few years, suggesting the small, nocturnal blood-suckers have increased in numbers. And recent media attention has put bedbugs in the headlines.
“I have seen an increase in the number of patients with bedbug bites,” says Dr. Sophie Hofstader, a dermatologist who has been with The Scarborough Hospital for over 50 years. “I see at least one or two cases a week.”
Not everyone reacts to bedbug bites, says Dr. Hofstader, and reactions can look different from person to person.
What should you do if you are battling a reaction to bedbug bites? Dr. Hofstader shares some tips:
- Get rid of the bedbugs. If you are unsure if they are in your home, use a flashlight at night and shine on your mattress. Bedbugs are difficult to find in daylight. If they are present, you will likely see them trying to escape the sudden light.
- Try to avoid scratching the bites.
- Apply ice to the bites.
- Take antihistamines to reduce the desire to scratch.
- Apply an over-the-counter anti-itch lotion.
- If you have bites, stay covered up when sleeping to avoid getting more. Clothing with elastic around the waist, ankles and wrists will help keep them off your skin.
- For more information about bedbugs, what they look like and how to rid your home of them, visit the Toronto Public Health website. Fact sheets are available in many different languages.