How Poor Posture, Mobile Devices and Back Pain Go Hand in Hand

Raise your hand if you consider losing your smartphone or tablet a slight emergency. Now keep your hand up if you’d stop what you were doing immediately to look for it and buy another one the same day if it didn’t turn up.

Exactly.

We’re addicted to our gadgets—smartphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops and whatever else our favorite tech companies come out with. So much so that nearly ⅓ of us say we can’t live without them, according to a November 2012 study from the Pew Research Internet Project.

And while nobody’s knocking the love we have for our gadgets, if you’re starting to feel pain in your neck and back from spending hours slouched over to thumb a text message, it may be time to do something about it.

 

80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives

Source: American Chiropractic Association

 

Having Text Neck

This excessive use of smartphones and other mobile devices is creating similar strain on the neck and back that developed when people started to spend hours a day hunched over using a computer, says a November 2009 study from the American Public Health Association.

People with a habit of dropping their heads forward pay for it over time. Most cases of back pain are caused by mechanical issues, like slouched posture, and not by diseases and illnesses, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

The red flag is when the head, neck and shoulders are overused from leaning forward to look down at phones, laptops and tablets, according to the Text Neck Institute (Yes, that’s really what it’s called).

This, in turn, leads to a curved posture that resembles a slight hump back—plus neck and back pain, according to a June 2013 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

 

Good Posture Is Important

Where’s my phone?!

 

29% of cell phone owners say they “can’t imagine living without” their cell phones.

Source: PewResearch Internet Project, November 2012

 

If you’re used to hunching over to use your mobile device, send yourself a text message that says, “Sit up straight.”

 

Because the habit has probably become so ingrained that you’re not conscious of it, you’ll have to take extra effort to walk and sit tall, according to the North American Spine Society.

 

This starts with sitting and standing with your chest up and shoulders back. Then, instead of dropping your head forward to see the screen, bring your elbows in to touch your waist and lift the screen closer to your face. There, isn’t that better?

 

If you’re sitting to use your laptop or tablet, sitting up straight will ensure that the weight of your head is supported by the spine; this decreases the stress placed on disks and also supports the ligaments in the neck, says the North American Spine Society.

 

Sit as straight as possible by getting a separate keyboard and mouse for your laptop. Now you can sit further back from the screen and keep it at eye level, rather than slouching over that tiny keyboard. You can also get a stand to raise your laptop closer to eye level or drop the height of your chair.

 

The goal is to get yourself in a position where your shoulders are squarely facing ahead, instead of rounded forward and your head is raised to a straight, neutral position, not dropped downward.

 

Sitting up straight supports the body against gravity, which tends to pull our heads and shoulders forward even more when we slouch. It allows the correct amount of muscle tension and provides balance, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

 

Exercise To Improve Text Neck

There are also a couple of exercises that the North American Spine Society suggests doing twice a day to increase the strength and range of motion in the neck. This will prevent your neck from becoming too stiff. You can do these just about any place where you can send a text message.

 

●     Neck rotations. With your head in a neutral position, slowly turn your head to the left as far as you can and hold it for 5 seconds–do the same to the right. You can do this exercise either sitting or standing. Do this in sets of 5.

 

●     Scapular retraction. Stand with your arms at your side and the head and neck in a neutral position. Pull your shoulders blades back and downward. Hold this position initially for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds. Do this in sets of 5.

 

If your neck or back pain persists or gets worse, use that beloved smartphone to make an appointment with our orthopedic specialists, who can help manage your pain.

 

 

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Prediabetes Vs. Type 2 Diabetes

If you could avoid taking lifelong medications and going to the doctor all the time, would you?

People with prediabetes face that question—whether they know it or not.

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86 million US adults age 20 or older had prediabetes in 2012

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

 

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Prediabetes Is A Warning Sign

Prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose reach levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Think of it as the yellow light on a traffic signal.

 

It means if you don’t make changes to your lifestyle, you’ll probably get full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

 

Source: National Institutes of Health

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Most people with prediabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they make major lifestyle changes, such as:

  • losing 5% to 7% of their body weight
  • eating healthier
  • increasing physical activity

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

cooking940xfull

 

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How to Know If You Have Prediabetes

If you’re overweight or obese and have one or more other risk factors for diabetes, you should ask your doctor to test you for prediabetes, says the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

 

Risk Factors for Diabetes

  • Being age 45 or older
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander descent
  • Having gestational diabetes
  • Giving birth to a baby weighing 9+ pounds
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having a HDL cholesterol level below 35 mg/dL or a triglyceride level above 250 mg/dL
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having blood vessel problems affecting the heart, brain, or legs

Source: National Institutes of Health

 

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Prediabetes and diabetes have many similarities. But with the latter, symptoms are more severe, treatments more involved, and risks of other health issues are greater.

 

So if you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, use the chance you have. Pay attention to the yellow traffic signal, and do what it takes to avoid Type 2 diabetes.

Mountain View Hospital will work with your primary care physician to provide the best possible education and management. Contact our Diabetes Center, MVH Professional Services, today! 801-465-7045

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6 Ways To Care For Your Spouse After A Heart Attack

Your spouse suffered a heart attack. It was frightening. Maybe one of the scariest moments of your life. Thankfully, he survived. Now that he’s home, you’re wondering how to best take care of him.

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1. Take Care of Yourself.

MtnStar_MTNVIEW_6WaysToCareForYourSpouseAfterAHeartAttack_02It may seem strange to think about your own health after your spouse suffered a heart attack. But you’ll best be able to take care of your spouse if you’re in good health.

Caregivers Are At Higher Risk For Mental And Physical Health Issues

● 40-70% of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.

● Caregivers’ hearts react more to stressful conditions, putting them at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

● Caregivers have diminished immune response, which leads to frequent infection and increased risk of cancers.

● Caregivers have a 23% higher level of stress hormones and a 15% lower level of antibody responses.

Don’t put off your own healthcare needs. Take this opportunity to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle together.

Source: Family Caregiver Alliance

2. Rally Support.

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Depending on her condition after the heart attack, your spouse may require a lot of time and attention. This can be very draining for you emotionally and physically. Don’t try to do it all yourself.

Get the physical and emotional support you need to maintain your health and the health of your spouse.

Let your family and friends know about her condition and how they can help. Ask a family member to cook a healthy meal once a week or to drive your spouse to a doctor’s appointment. Or ask a friend for a listening ear.

3. Remind Him To Take His Medication.

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After your spouse’s heart attack, the doctor will most likely prescribe some type of medication. Some medications prescribed after a heart attack lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, relieve chest pain (angina), or reduce risk of blood clots forming. If taking medication on a daily basis is new for your spouse, he may need reminders.

Be creative. Set alerts on his cellphone or stick notes on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door. Whatever will get his attention and remind him to take his meds. These meds are important. They may prevent future heart attacks or stroke.

4. Know The Signs Of A Heart Attack And When To Call 9-1-1.

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Unfortunately, if your spouse had one heart attack, her chances of having another are higher. And symptoms for a second heart attack may look different than the first.

Signs of a heart attack include:

● Chest pain lasting more than a few minutes

● Cold sweat

● Lightheadedness

● Nausea (more common in women)

● Numbness, aching, or tingling in the arm (usually the left arm)

● Shortness of breath

● Weakness or fatigue

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It’s important to understand how angina (chest pain) and a heart attack differ. Angina is chest pain usually brought on by physical exertion. This type of pain goes away in a few minutes after resting or taking medication. Pain from a heart attack is more severe and doesn’t go away with rest or medication.

If you’re unsure whether the pain is a heart attack or angina, call 9-1-1. The faster your spouse gets medical attention, the better his chances of survival and recovery.

Source: National Institutes of Health 1, 2

5. Encourage A Healthy Lifestyle.

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The good news is that cardiovascular disease can be fought by making healthy lifestyle choices. Join your spouse in the new healthy lifestyle so you both can benefit.

1. Eat a healthy diet. This means lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish. Limit salt, added sugars, saturated fats, and red meat. Avoid trans fats.

2. Stay active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, five or more days a week. This can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and keep weight at a healthy level. If you’re not used to exercise, start with 10 minutes a day, then work your way up.

3. Limit alcohol consumption.

Source: American Heart Association

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4. Find ways to manage stress. Stress is an everyday part of life. If left unchecked, it could put you and your spouse at greater risk for disease.

Healthy Ways To Manage Stress

● Talk with family or friends.

● Take up yoga or meditation.

● Try journaling.

● Get regular exercise.

● Sleep six to eight hours a night.

● Remember to laugh.

5. Maintain a healthy weight. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of fat in your body. A BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy.

6. Quit smoking.

Source: American Heart Association

6. Ask Your Doctor About Having Sex.

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Your sex life may be a real concern to you and your spouse. You’re not alone. Many couples have this concern after a heart attack.

Don’t be afraid to bring up this topic with your doctor. It’s probably okay to have sex if your spouse’s condition has stabilized. Your doctor will be the best person to give you the assurance and advice you need.

Source: American Heart Association

To learn more about life after a heart attack, schedule an appointment with a Mountain View physician today.

Posted in Cardiovascular Procedures, Heart Health, Men's Health, Women's Health | Leave a comment

Viral Infections: Should You Send Your Kids to School?

There’s been a lot of hoopla surrounding the recent respiratory illness enterovirus 68 outbreak. A lot of parents are worried about what this means for their children.

If you’re one of those parents, you may wonder: Is it okay to send your child to school if he’s got a runny nose? The sniffles? A cough?

All of these are symptoms of a number of viral infections, ranging from the common cold to the potentially fatal enterovirus 68—the respiratory virus that has hospitalized 30 kids in Missouri and Illinois in August alone.

Here’s what you should know about viral infections:

What Is a Viral Infection?

As their name implies, viral infections come from bugs called viruses. Viruses are little capsule-like objects found inside genetic material—such as a person’s cells, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains. They are many, many times smaller than bacteria.

But when it comes to illnesses, size doesn’t matter. Viruses are the cause behind diseases ranging from the common cold to smallpox.

How Viruses Get You Sick

The fact that they live inside your body’s own cells is what makes viral infections so difficult to treat, the CDC says. They use your cells to protect themselves against medicine, which is why antibiotics don’t work.

The good news is that vaccines—like the flu vaccine—can protect you from viruses. But not all viruses have vaccines.

How Are Viral Infections Spread?

Some viral infections—like the common cold—are spread by contact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains.

Enterovirus D68 is no different.

When someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, their germs spread to anything they come in contact with—from a tabletop or door handle to another person.

You Can Prevent the Spread of Viral Germs

 

So, Should You Send Your Kids to School?

If your child has a viral infection, keep her home from school. If you find out that someone in your child’s class has a Enterovirus D68 or some other viral infection, ask the school how they are ensuring that other students don’t become infected.

The Common Cold Is the Main Reason Kids Miss School

 

 

The NIAID says you can help prevent the spread of viral infections if your child is sick by having him:

●     Stay home from school and other activities while sick

●     Avoid close contact with others—hugging, kissing, shaking hands, etc.

●     Move away from other people when coughing or sneezing

●     Cough or sneeze into a tissue

●     Wash his hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing his nose

If you’re unsure whether your child has a viral infection, you may contact one of the many physicians that work at Mountain View Hospital, just in case.

 

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3 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor If You’re Having Twins

When you’re pregnant with multiples, it may seem like you have more than just twice the amount of baby supplies to purchase. You also have more factors to take into consideration when preparing for your labor and delivery.

That’s because pregnancies with multiples come with a higher risk for certain conditions, including preeclampsia, preterm labor and delivery, delivery via c-section and low birth weight, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves. Here’s what you should know about labor and delivery with multiples.

1) How can I reduce the risk of preeclampsia?

Moms of multiples are at a higher risk for developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition marked by high blood pressure and protein in your urine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) explains. It’s sometimes also called toxemia, says the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).

According to the SART, mothers of multiples are two to five times more likely to develop preeclampsia and it tends to be more severe.

15 to 20% of women who are pregnant with twins will develop preeclampsia  Source: Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology

The causes of preeclampsia are still unknown, but it can lead to long-term health effects for babies, from learning disorders to blindness, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

The American Pregnancy Association (APA) explains that you can reduce your risk of developing preeclampsia by:

●     Cutting back on salt

●     Drinking 8 glasses of water per day

●     Avoiding fried foods

●     Getting plenty of rest

●     Exercising regularly

●     Elevating your feet throughout the day

●     Avoiding caffeinated drinks

2) How can I lower the risk of preterm birth?

Multiples are more likely to be delivered before week 37 of pregnancy, the Office on Women’s Health explains.

Number of Babies vs. Average Length of Pregnancy

 

 

About half of all twin pregnancies are delivered preterm, according to a 2011 article in Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology. In fact, preterm labor and delivery is the most common complication for twin pregnancies, says ACOG.

Babies who are born preterm can have difficulties breathing and eating, and they usually have to stay in the hospital longer than full-term babies. But modern medicine has advanced enough that problems related to preterm pregnancy are usually treatable.

According to ACOG, detecting preterm labor early enough is key.

If your doctor diagnoses you with preterm labor, a corticosteroid may help your babies’ lungs mature more quickly. Or you may take a medication to slow or stop your contractions altogether. The main thing is to keep your doctor abreast of how you’re feeling, especially if you’re feeling contractions.

3) How can I reduce the chance that my babies will have a low birth weight?

More than half of all twins have a low birth weight—less than 5.5 pounds, says SART, which can put your baby at risk for respiratory, heart and other problems.

Number of Babies vs. Average Birth Weight

 

 

They also have a greater chance of developing medical problems later on in life—like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, says March of Dimes.

If you stay healthy, you’ll reduce your babies’ chances of having health issues even if they are born preterm.

You can stay healthy by:

●     Taking a daily prenatal vitamin that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid

●     Maintaining a healthy weight

●     Avoiding exposure to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol

●     Avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals such as paint thinner, as well as undercooked meat and used cat litter

●     Reducing your stress levels

Source: March of Dimes

While labor and delivery for a multiples pregnancy can be more challenging than a single baby, when all is said and done, you’ll have twice (or more) the reward.

If you have any questions about your multiples pregnancy, MountainView Hospital’s maternity team is here to help.

 

Posted in Child Care, Maternity Services, Women's Health | Leave a comment