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HEALTH CHECK 1987

By Mary Candace Evans |

Doctors and their families helping you check-up on the state of your health

Welcome to Health Check, 1987: a place where you can learn more about the hundreds of health resources available in the greater Dallas area, meet health care professionals on an informal basis, and check-up on the state of your own health.

Health Check 1987 marks the biggest turnout yet of the Dallas health care community. Hospitals and support services from all directions-Richardson, Garland, and the soutHern stretches of Dallas-are in gear to feature booths and educational displays along the walkways of NorthPark Center. More screening tests will be offered this year-we’re adding cholesterol testing, mammography education, and Dop-pler testing to vision and hearing testing, diabetes testing, lung function testing and skin cancer/oral cancer screening.

like last year, sonogram testing by obstetricians-gynecologists and sonogram technicians will be available.

On Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28, from 10a.m. until 7pm., wander down to the stage set up in front of The Melody Shop There you II see fitness and aerobics demonstrations from some of the city’s leading studios-places like the Aerobics Center, Mind Over Body Fitness Experience, Goodbodies and the Workout.

Senior Citizens will get a sneak-preview of booths and displays as they walk their way to fitness Friday morning at 9 a.m. at the Senior Citizen Walkfest.

See Baylor University’s new Susan G. Komen Mobile Breast Center. Take your children inside a Dallas Emergency Ambulance. CareFlight, the emergency helicopter, will be on hand for brief tours. And stop by the more than 120 booths and displays to learn something new about healthcare in Dallas for you or a friend.

“last year, one woman was driving through Dallas on the way to Greenville,” says Mrs. Byron I. Brown, Health Check Chairman, “and she heard our public service ad on the radio. She stopped by NorthPark for a blood glucose test and discovered she had diabetes. She got to her physician for an exam.”

Then there was the woman who, while waiting in line for a hearing test, found a wealth of information on juvenile diabetes for a friend. Every year the sonogram booth has found undiagnosed twins-to the surprise and delight of the mother receiving her free sonogram in front of Joskes.

Health Check is not a diagnostic exam. It’s purpose is to raise community awareness of health issues and trends. To accomplish this, Health Check has many activities, including the demonstration of resources available in your community to assist with or screen for certain health core problems and diseases. If, through the screening process, a problem is found, you are encouraged to see your own physician for help. If you do not have a physician, the Dallas County Medical Society offers a physician referral service that will help you find one. (Call 948-3622).

Health Check is sponsored by the Dallas County Medical Society Auxiliary in conjunction with the Dallas County Medical Society. The idea was conceived more than four years ago when Mrs. A. Brooks Chapman, then president of the Dallas County Medical Society Auxiliary, sought to style a health fair in Dallas after similar fairs in Austin and Corpus Christi. Christened Heallh Check, the first two were held at Valley View Mall. This year’s Health Check is twice as big as the pioneer year’s. In fact, 50,000 people from all parts of the city are expected to attend and check-up on the state of their health.


It’s A Matter Of Life And Breath

You say you want to stop smoking, but you Just don’t know how. The Dallas chapter of the American Lung Association may have the help you need.

Although it was created 70 years ago to help wipe out tuberculosis, the American Lung Association today concentrates efforts on control and prevention of all lung disease-and smoking is on top of the list.

The Lung Association trains individuals to run its smoking cessation clinics. It also has a school health education program where students talk to other students about the dangers of smoking. The idea is to catch the youngsters before they light up.

“We have high school students talking to 5th and 6th graders,” says Valerie Robertson, public relations director for the Association. “They are football players and cheerleaders, the ’heros,’ and they make quite an impression on the younger kids.”

These non-smoking heros run 45 minute clinics for their younger peers in the STARS program-Students Teach About Risks of Smoking. Marijuana is also covered in the discussion. Robertson says three local school districts participate in the program-Richardson, Rockwall and Sherman.

If the STARS program doesn’t keep them away from tobacco, their future employers may. Thanks to efforts by the American Cancer Society and the Lung Association, freedom from smoking in the workplace has become a national issue. Employers are discovering that it is cheaper to help employees quit smoking rather than bear the cost of medical care due to smoking-related illness. All employers have to do is see the facts:

■Smoking adds $23 billion every year to health care costs in the U.S. Employers pay almost half of this cost.

■ Each year, more than 80 million work days are lost due to smoking related illness. And the Lung Association says studies have shown that smokers are not as productive as non-smokers.

■Nine out of ten smokers want to quit.

■Two-thirds of the U.S. workforce are non-smokers.

■Smoker’s cigarettes can harm non-smokers: That second-hand smoke can make carbon monoxide levels INDOORS rise above levels permitted for OUTDOOR air. In fact, side-stream smoke (the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette) has higher concentrations of noxious compounds than the smoke inhaled by the smoker!

■Babies and children inhale TWO to THREE times as much of a pollutant per unit of body weight compared to adults. Which means, that second-hand smoke in public places can endanger your child’s health!

The more than 30 million Americans who have kicked the cigarette habit are becoming a clear-and loud-majority. Dallas’ Smoking Ordinance, Chapter 41, has helped clean up the city’s indoor air in City Hall, hotels, hospitals, theatres, and all retail and service establishments with more than 500 square feet of public areas. As for those businesses who would like to help employees kick the sticks-forever-the Lung Association offers several national programs.

Freedom From Smoking in 20 Days: self-help with two manuals-“Get Going” and “Stay Off.” This is a positive behavior modification program available from the Lung Association for $7.00.

Freedom From Smoking Cessation Clinics: These meet at least six times in a three-week period. The clinics help participants identify smoking patterns and triggers, develop healthy alternatives, and stay off tobacco through peer support. The Lung Association will provide trained leaders and small group leaders within a company.

The Lung Association also has videotapes available, both VHS and Beta, which can be used at home or in a company. For information on classes and costs, call the American Lung Association, Dallas Chapter, 3925 Maple Avenue, Dallas. 75219. 521-2183. Besides smoking cessation help, the Lung Association has better breathing classes for adults and children with chronic breathing problems. And- they have plaques available for sale that you may wish to display in your home or office-plaques that read “No Smoking,” Please.”

Smoking and Pregnancy

When a woman is pregnant, she’s not Just eating for two-she’s breathing for two. And cigarette smoke is downright dangerous for babies.

Nicotine tightens and constricts blood vessels, reducing the amount of food and oxygen your baby receives.

Carbon monoxide is a poison. It gets into your blood stream and the baby’s.

Smoking increases the possibility of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, birth defects, death in the first 28 days of infancy, and respiratory illness during infancy and childhood.

“But my parents smoked. In fact, my mom smoked when she was pregnant with me. And I’m OK, I guess.”

Sure, that’s the argument. But children of smokers suffer twice as many colds and respiratory ailments as nonsmoker’s kids. They have lower birth weights, they grow to be smaller and shorter, and score lower on verbal and math tests. Plus, almost all children of smokers get hooked on cigarettes themselves.

“You smoke,” they say. “So why can’t I?” What were you saying about your parents smoking????

The Dallas Smoking Ordinance:Don’t Light Up In Public Places

The ordinance covers City Hall, hotels, hospitals, theatres, and all retail and service establishments with 500 square feet or more of public areas. That includes restaurants with seating areas indoors or enclosed for 50 or more people.

Seating for less than 50 in a restaurant of 500 square feet or more are covered as retail establishments.

The ordinance does not cover offices or other administrative areas not frequented by the public.

A sign must be placed at the entrance stating that smoking is not permitted or allowed only in designated areas. In theatres, smoking is prohibited in the viewing area, counter sales areas, and indoor cashier areas. A portion of the lobby area may be allotted for smokers.

In restaurants, food order areas, food service areas, restrooms and cashier areas must be designated as non-smoking. The ordinance was designed with voluntary compliance in mind. The prosecution of people violating the ordinance will be handled by the City Attorney, based upon formal complaints from citizens. So next time you see someone lighting up in the restroom….

Resolving Infertility



As the saying goes, you never know until you’ve been there.

Judy Sparks (not her real name) never thought it would happen to her. She grew up, went to college, got a great job and got married. When she was 27 years old Judy and her husband, Mike, decided they might want to start a family.

Judy did everything by the book. She saw her obstetrician-gynecologist for a pre-pregnancy counseling appointment. She stopped taking the Pill. She even approached sexual intercourse with her OB’s advice. Five years later, Judy and Mike found themselves at a meeting of RESOLVE for infertile couples. These people sit and discuss the dilemma of being childless perhaps forever while their peers attend PTA meetings, the Better Baby Institute, and compare notes on diapers, breastfeeding and private schools.

“The worst part of it all,” says Judy, “is society’s lack of understanding of the situation. This is a physical problem, not a mental one. People seem to think if we’d Just relax we’d conceive.

It’s a baby-centered world, says Judy.You strike up a conversation with a stranger and they ask you why, at 32, you don’t have any children. Parents and in-laws make subtle remarks, not wanting to be unkind, but just wanting grandchildren. You watch your best friend or your sister get pregnant, give birth, and then ask if she can drop her son off at your house while she goes shopping. Infertility affects men as well as women, maybe more harshly. Urologists say men look upon sterility as a personal failure-the inability to impregnate their wives, to carry on their lineage.

“It’s the feeling that you lack control over your life,” says Judy. “You can’t plan anything. About the only help in your life comes at the RESOLVE meetings where you don’t solve your infertility, but you learn how to cope with it.”

Recent topics of discussion at the Dallas chapter have included dealing with some RESOLVE member’s pregnancies and listening to different infertility experts share the latest trends in infertility treatment.

“There is so much going on in this field,” says Judy. “We act as a clearinghouse for information.”

I nfertility is a costly affliction. Most insurance carriers do not cover the extraordinary cost for procedures such as artificial insemination, sperm washing, or in vitro fertilization-bills that can top $5,000 a month!

The national organization was founded in Boston thirteen years ago. The Dallas RESOLVE chapter was formed in 1980. Anyone who suffers from infertility can join. Attending meetings is not a requirement.

“If we have your name on our mailing list, you will be notified of programs, information, and meetings,” says Judy.

Sometimes RESOLVE members do solve their infertility problems. For example, Judy is in her fourth month of pregnancy. Some parents adopt. Once their infertility problem is resolved, they may elect to remain as a member or join the ranks of Pampers and PTA.

“But after pregnancy, you enter another sub-group. You are no longer infertile, but you still don’t fit in with those people who get pregnant easily and worry about having a boy instead of a girl,” says Judy.

For more information, call RESOLVE at 946-2759. Or write RESOLVE at 4100 Hampshire, Piano, Texas.



Searching For The Perfect Pregnancy

She’s on a diet. She’s loading up on fresh fruits, vegetables, foods rich in protein, calcium and whole grains. Never smoked, now she hardly drinks. She is exercising regularly at a studio, building up her stamina. She has seen her doctor and undergone a series of tests: bloodwork, urinalysis. Is this woman getting ready for a marathon?

In a word, yes. The lady is getting ready for pregnancy. Dallas obstetrician-gynecologist are seeing more and more women these days before the rabbit dies-because they want to get their bodies in perfect shape for their children-to-be.

Women in the 80’s are waiting longer to have families. They read more. And they want to be healthier. Doctors say a woman in her 30’s can have all the stamina and vigor of a 20 year old IF SHE IS IN GOOD HEALTH. That means diet, exercise, and taking care of herself BEFORE she starts taking care of someone else.

Unfortunately, the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is still higher than 16 other western nations due, in part, to the poorer segments of our population. There are twice as many black babies as white born in the U.S. with birth weights under 5 and one-half pounds. Whatever her social status, a pregnant woman has to be aware that her body is nourishing a baby through everything she eats and breathes. By knowing what she’s getting into before she even gets pregnant can only help.

“I think pre-pregnancy counseling actually improves the outcome of pregnancy,” says H. Thomas Smith, an obstetrician-gynecologist who practices at Presbyterian and Baylor Hospitals. “You end up with fewer complications.”

Dr. Smith concentrates on five areas in the pre-pregnancy exam: diet, exercise, testing, family history and medications. Dr. Smith gets his patients off any medications that can harm a growing fetus.

“We start with a complete medical history of the patient’s illnesses, if any,” says Dr. Walter Evans. “So we can optimize treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or whatever before the patient conceives.”

Next Dr. Evans, who practices OB-GYN at Presbyterian and Doctor’s Hospitals, checks through a patient’s family history looking for evidence of birth defects or multiple miscarriages. Next comes the pelvic exam, to make sure the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries feel normal. Finally, laboratory tests check the patient’s thyroid and blood.

“It’s also important to make sure they are immune to rubella, or German Measles,” says Dr. Evans. If not, they receive a vaccination prior to conception. Both doctors discuss weight and diet with their patients.

Doctors now know that what a woman eats before and during her pregnancy determine a baby’s birth weight. The woman who is underweight, for example, should try and reach her ideal weight before she gets pregnant. If a woman is overweight, she should try and lose weight before she becomes pregnant, but never after.

A woman at her ideal weight should gain 20 percent more weight during pregnancy-about 25 to 30 pounds. An overweight woman may gain less, but she should still plan to gain.

In the 1940’s, 50’s and even 60’s, most women got the opposite advice from their obstetricians: don’t gain a lot of weight while you’re pregnant. This was a holdover from the early 1900’s, when obstetricians often undernourished the mother to produce a smaller baby. Many women died during childbirth at this time, and doctors believed they were avoiding difficult deliveries by producing smaller babies.

But large babies no longer pose a problem. Now, doctors worry if their patients don’t gain enough weight. The fetus does not grow on the mother’s fat stores, but on what she eats during pregnancy.

If she eats the wrong kinds of foods-colas, cheeseburgers and potato chips-she is only cheating her body and her baby’s. A pregnant woman needs plenty of protein, at least 75 grams per day. She needs iron, calcium, zinc and folic acid. If a woman doesn’t eat enough calcium, for example, the fetus may draw on her own stores of this nutrient. But if she follows the right diet, the opposite can happen: women absorb calcium twice as well when they’re pregnant.

What if you jumped the gun-you’re pregnant and you never had time to see your doctor beforehand because, well, surprise surprise.

“Start eating well immediately,” advises Drs. Evans and Smith. And if you smoke, put out that butt. The best advice to get you through your pregnancy is this: if you smoke, quit. Drink moderately or not at all. Familiarize yourself with good nutrition and eat well-balanced, healthy foods. And don’t take any pill without checking first with your obstetrician.

If you live in Richardson, there is a new place to have babies.

Richardson Medical Center, 401 W. Campbell Road, closed its maternity unit ten years ago. The reason: demographics. There were not enough babies being born to warrant the space, employees, and upkeep of a staffed OB unit.

But ever since 1977, Richardson’s population has been growing steadily.

“About 25 percent a year,” says H. Kenneth May, FACHE, president of Richardson Medical Center. “Along with that, the number of births in the area has risen substantially. It was this growth that prompted the hospital to review the possibility of adding maternity services.

The new unit opened in September of 1986. It has five post-partum rooms, two labor rooms, each equipped with a private bath, telephone and television, and two delivery rooms, There are no birthing rooms currently,- but R.M.C. plans to add a new floor in the future, and a birthing room will be in the blueprints.

Richardson has grown from a population of 72,700 in 1980 to 82,000 in 1985. By the year 2,000, Richardson’s population is expected to exceed 116,000.

Fit Kids

Children, with all their energy, would have no problem keeping active and fit- you would think. But the facts tell us just the opposite. According to the President’s Council on Fitness and Sports the nation’s youth are in worse shape now than they were ten years ago:

■ 64% of the children between ages 6 and 17 fail to meet the standards of a healthy youngster.

■ Only 36% of these children participate in daily physical education programs.

■ 28% of the nation’s children have high blood pressure.

■ 35% have at least two heart disease risk factors.

■ 42% have high levels of cholesterol. Why are our children in such poor shape physically?

Physicians and experts cite many reasons: with more mothers working, children may be more sedentary-watching more television. On the other hand, most child care centers offer regularly scheduled exercise and sports programs.

Children may be eating more animal-fat rich fast foods and “empty sweets”-skimping on the calorie-wise foods that take more time to prepare such as salads, whole grain foods and vegetables, chicken and fish.

Children are not getting involved in lifetime sports programs, or physical fitness programs. Most of the health clubs available cater to adult needs, not children’s.

“Children need to look at their parents as role models,” says Loura Bittermann, owner of MIND OVER BODY FITNESS EXPERIENCE. Laura is launching a new program for children this spring at her North Dallas studio called FIT KIDS. A physical education instructor will lead a children’s aerobics class in one studio, while mothers get aerobics in another.

Laura, who trained at The Aerobics Center under Dr. Kenneth Cooper, says she was not a fitness buff as a child. In fact, she hated Physical Education.

“If someone had told me when I was in high school I’d be an aerobics instructor now, I would have never believed it,” says Laura.

But a life-threatening illness in college made Laura value her body and her health. She began studying nutrition and fitness-began exercising and running. The results caught her interest so much she abandoned a career in oil and gas to open her own aerobics studio in Victoria, Texas. Her goal in her Dallas studio, she says, is to instill children with as much enthusiasm for safe aerobics as she has.

Some experts don’t believe that instilling children with good fitness habits will necessarily make them stay more fit as adults. Dr. Charles M. Ginsburg, Medical Director of Children’s Medical Center, and Professor of Pediatrics at U.T. H .S.C. D. says fitness at any age is vital. But he worries that changes in society may be pushing our children into organized fitness experiences such as competitive sports.

“For example, we drive to school. We drive to the soccer tournament. Children do not toss around a ball anymore in parks or in the backyard. When they do move, it’s for competition,” says Dr. Ginsburg. “Otherwise they sit in front of the television set or the personal home computer.”

Dr. Ginsburg is not an advocate of organized fitness programs. Instead, he thinks families should incorporate noncompetitive movement and activity into their lives: a family bike-ride to Tom Thumb if you’re Just picking up a few groceries. Or walking. Encourage children to play outside, toss around a ball or play tag. let them run around the neighborhood. Parents might consider taking large groups of children to the park to play freely-let them kick around a ball and play soccer. The point is not to force competition, but to encourage movement and motion.

“Look at a toddler,” says Dr. Ginsburg. “Toddlers run everwhere they go. They don’t walk. We’re the ones that slow them down.”

Taking The Fear Out Of The Hospital Visit

Children and hospitals mix like oil and water. While most every adult enters the sliding glass doors of a health care institution with apprehension, adults can at least understand what is about to happen. Children cannot.

For this reason, many hospitals across the country have established a new concept in removing the psychological trauma associated with hospitalizing youngsters: Child Life Programs. At Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, eight full-time Child Development Specialists provide emotional support for children in the hospital with a myriad of activities ranging from pre-hospital visits to bedside fun and games.

“Our program is based on psycho-social research,” says Janice Rao, a fellow in the Child Life/Child Development department. “We try to reduce the negative effects of stress because when a child is in the hospital or about to undergo surgery, his anxieties and fears are extremely high.”

The program offers support for children undergoing painful procedures. There is support for parents as well, as they try to balance a normal home life for siblings while dealing with a hospitalized child.

One Child Life Specialist and one Fellow is assigned to each floor at Children’s. Everyone working in the program holds a masters degree in Child Development. There is even a DISD teacher-Linda Kovak-who helps the youngsters keep up their studies.

“I mostly work with the longer term children,” says Ms. Kovak. “Children with chronic diseases or the oncology patients. We work on study skills. And the children don’t have to be from Dallas to participate-last year I had a student from Venezuela.”

The Child Life Program actually begins before a youngster is hospitalized. Mom and dad and the sick child, plus siblings, if possible, stop by Children’s for a visit. They tour the hospital, visit their room and meet the staff. The night before surgery, a Child Life Specialist will explain what’s going to happen. The child may go on a tour of the recovery room so he knows exactly where he will wake up after surgery. If a child is too anxious, he may read a story about hospitals curled up in the Child Life Specialist’s lap.

“The assessment process is constant,” says Rao. “We are there to help from the moment a child walks in until they leave Children’s.”

Leaving, hopefully with a positive feeling and a newfound respect for health care, thanks to the Child-Life program.



Mammograms On The Move



Every 15 minutes, a woman in the United States dies from breast cancer.

More women between the ages of 40 and 49 die from breast cancer than any other disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, one out of ten women will incur breast cancer in their lifetime.

Women can detect breast cancer and save their own lives by checking their breasts regularly, by mammography and awareness.

Thanks to the frankness of people like Betty Ford, Betty Rollin and Nancy Brinker, women are hearing more and more about breast cancer these days. Now Baylor University Medical Center introduces the Susan G. Komen Mobile Breast Center-a mammography machine on wheels that won’t wait for women to come in for a mammogram. It GOES to them.

“We will go out to commercial businesses, corporations, even churches, women’s clubs or school districts,” says Patty Morris, Director of Administration and Marketing for the Susan G. Komen Breast Center. “Anyplace where we find 15 women.”

The 30-foot van has two dressing rooms and complete X-Ray facilities. It was delivered to Baylor’s Susan G. Komen Breast Center December 9. Side by side, the Center and the Van’s equipment are almost identical: the mobile unit uses exactly the same Thompson CGR X-Roy equipment used at Baylor. Thanks to improved technology, mammograms today are safer than ever before. A mammogram today gives you the same amount of radiation as you’d get from smoking 1/4 of a cigarette, standing in the sun for one hour, or having a dental X-Ray. Plus the newer Kodak film used in development limits the radiation exposure.

Here’s how it works: a company or organization gets fifteen women together and pro-registers them for mammographies. The Mobile Breast Center arrives at the scheduled time. Each exam takes about 15 minutes. In addition to the mammography, each woman views a breast self-exam tape narrated by Linda Gray.

The unit can handle up to 45 women a day. The cost is lower than that of regular mammographies-two-thirds the cost of going into one of Baylor’s breast centers, for example. Employers pick up the cost gladly, according 1o Ms, Morris, because they have discovered that practicing preventative medicine can save on health care costs. The cost of a mammogram at Baylor or one of the many other breast centers in Dallas is about $100. ($69 for the new mobile center.) The cost of a radical mastectomy may run upwards of six thousand dollars, not to mention pain, suffering, time lost from family and work, and emotional trauma.

“Fear should be in not having a mammogram today,” says Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Kornen Foundation. “It’s good news when you find a cancer early. There is a ninety percent chance for a complete cure.”

She’s right. The five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer has risen from 78% (in the 1940’s) to 91% today. If the cancer is not invasive, or hasn’t spread, the survival rate approaches 100% percent. If, how-the cancer has gone undetected and spread, the survival rate is only 59%.

Ms. Brinker’s sister, Susan Komen, died at an early age of breast disease. She started her sister’s namesake organization in 1982. Two years later Ms, Brinker was stricken with breast cancer herself. She credits early detection with saving her own life.

The Susan G Komen foundation has raised more than 1.5 million dollars over the past four years for breast cancer research and education programs. According to Ms. Brinker, the foundation is now branching off into other states besides Texas to help battle breast disease. For more information, call the Susan G. Komen Foundation at 980-8841.



Mammography Month In Dallas



If you are over age 35, and you’ve never had a breast mammography, you may want to mark your calendar now for one in March. That’s the month for the 1987 Dallas/Fort Worth Breast Screening Project. in conjunction with a national campaign by the American Cancer Society, health care eroviders will oiler screening mammogaphy at a cost that will not exceed $50. hat’s about half the price of an average dammogram fee.

This project comes on the heels of a emendously successful Screening Project held in Chicago two years ago. Eighty chicago-area hospitals and clinics offered 50 mammograms. With the medical comunity’s help and large media support, 1000 women were examined; 43 early east cancers were found, and 164 women with “suspicious” looking mammocams were put on alert.

In addition to cutting the cost, American incer Society volunteers and health care petitioners are working to educate men about breast cancer. Mammoghy, together with monthly breast self mjnations and an annual physical exam, vide the best means of protection from fast cancer.

And at half the price, it’s a sale that could your life.

The Facts:

MAMMOGRAPHY: low-dose X-rays of the breast. Detects breast cancers and cancerous calcium deposits while they are still microscopic in size and undetectable by the finger.

WHEN TO HAVE ONE: Physicians recommend a “baseline” mammography for women between the ages of 35 and 40, This gives you a basis for comparison. Annual or bi-annual mammograms between age 40 and 50 are recommended by the American Cancer Society but not the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which recommend individualizing management of this group. After age 50, women should have a mammogram every year.

IF YOU HAVE A PERSONAL OR FAMILY HISTORY OF CANCER, particularly breast cancer, consult with your physician about self-examination and mammography yearly before age 40.

BREASTFEEDING MAY REDUCE YOUR CHANCES of getting breast cancer. The studies are not conclusive, but they indicate that mothers who nurse have a slightly lower incidence of breast cancer than non-nursing mothers.

NOT ALL LUMPS IN YOUR BREAST ARE CANCEROUS. As a woman gets older, physicians say many things can cause lumps and discomfort in the breast. But don’t ignore them . . . tell your doctor. . . and if you aren’t satisfied with his or her response, get a second opinion.



New Avenu In Ment Health

The blue carpet, laminate and polished-pine furniture brings to mind a renovated college dormitory. A visitor finds two, in some cases three beds to a room. The windows ore large and sparkling. There are no bars, wires, or obvious door locks. The recreation room has game tables, even a stove and refrigerator where patients can bake chocolate chip cookies and watch the world series as often as they wish. Nurse Ratched would have to seek unemployment compensation because the Psychiatric Unit at Doctor’s Hospital of Dallas opens a brand new chapter in mental health care.

The facility opened last August. Since then, more than 60 patients have come through the 30 bed unit seeking help with a variety of mental problems, from depression to specialized geriatric psychology. The unit is also the only NON SMOKING alcohol or psychological treatment facility in the area. Which means, patients with asthma or allergies can breathe smoke-free air while they put their lives back together.

“We are unique,” says program director Rex Cumby, “because we emphasize the shorter hospital slay, The average stay here is 21 days.”

Mcine in general is moving towards shorter hospital stays. A recent study in the American Psychiatry Association Journal indicates that shorter stays in mental rehabilitation programs may be more effective than the long, traditional hospital commitments.

“When you keep people in for weeks and months, they may risk losing jobs and relationships,” says Dr. Johanna Clevenger, medical director of the Psychiatric Unit.

Menial health services-are available 1o a wider range of income levels now, thanks to coverage by Medicare, Medicaid and private commercial insurance. More people seek psychological help themselves, on an out-patient or in-patient basis. Whether they are trying to deal with depression, stress or loss, counseling is available te help them cope.

“We advertise,” says Mr. Cumby. “Our phone is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The treatment really depends on the severity of the problem. Perhaps the individual has certain complaints but is still functional-he or she can work, maintain relationships. We can help on an out-patient basis.”

But when an individual has stopped eating-or has stayed in bed for several days without physical illness-or lacks motivation, in-patient care may be necessary. Sometimes a relative calls in for a patient. According to Cumby, most of the patients at Doctor’s are there voluntarily. Only six percent have been admitted involuntarily by the Mental Illness Court.

Since every minute-counts, the Doctor’s Hospital program jam-packs each day with activity and communication that can bring about results in less time.

The in-patient day begins at 6:30 a.m. Patients have a unit meeting at 7:30 a.m,-so contact with others commences even before breakfast. The morning is filled with group therapy, occupational therapy and learning skills that teach assertiveness, how-to-say-no-type skills. After lunch there is general time, family therapy and special help which become more individualized. But the patients end the day relating to each other again before bedtime.

“There is notas much division (between patients) in this program,” says Dr. Clevenger. “You don’t have someone who’s been here for four months long term having to relate to a newcomer. The program is smaller and these people help support each other. I have one patient here responding for the first time. She was my patient under repeated hospitalizations at another program, I think the size of the program and the shorter stay helped her tackle some growing up issues she had never confronted before.”

One-third of the beds in this unit have been set aside for geriatric psychology. Planned for people aged 55 or older, this section will focus on the needs of older patients.

“Senior citizens have unique needs,” says Rex Cumby. “They suffer from loss-losing relationships, loved ones, financial resources, self-esteem. Sometimes their children take matters over and they lose their power as head of the household. This creates a depression reaction that our staff is trained to deal with.”

The unit is also secure for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Joan Levin, a social worker at the Psychiatry Unit, if is normal to experience frustration and depression over the loss of a loved one.

“The grieving process is normal for six months, or maybe longer, after a loss,” she says. “Some people feel anger. Many feel guilty because they never got to say all the things they wanted to say to the individual they’ve lost.”

If the grieving continues, and the griever becomes unable to cope with life or function normally, he or she may wish to seek professional help. The most important thing, according to Levin, Cumby and Dr. Clevenger, is to reach out and express the feelings, not deny or repress them.

old standbys of gonorrhea and syphilis PLUS chlamydia, herpes, venereal warts, hepatitis B, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), genital cancer and others.

These diseases hit both sexes hard. But doctors now say that women suffer an unequal share of the pain and damage with pelvic inflammations that can block fallopian tubes, causing infertility or dangerous ectopic pregnancies.

Even more, STD can affect future generations, affecting the infants of mothers with the disease. It’s estimated the cost of STD will totol $2 to $3 billion in 1986. One-seventh of the Centers for Disease Control budget now goes to fight these diseases.

Chlamydia has been selected as a special target. Almost unknown two decades ago, this venereal disease is now the most prevalent SID, with almost 4 million new cases occuring every year.



In men, chlamydia can couse symptoms similar to gonorrhea and inflammation of a sperm duct. But if untreated in women, the results can be disastrous: pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy. In newborns, it can produce pneumonia and eye damage. Even worse, women may not even be aware that they have chlamydia until the damage has already been done.

Symptoms:

For women, any change in the pelvic area: discharge, foul odor. Remember that your sexual partner may not worn you about infection. As the infection worsens, or sometimes when it begins, women may experience lower abdominal pain.

Treatment:

Antibiotics such as tetracycline or erythromyacin. Other more expensive antibiotic treatments are also available. Inexpensive, accurate slide testing for chlamydia has only recently become available. Remember, too, you must be checked after treatment.

Protection:

As with unwanted pregnancy, women shoulder the responsibility. If sexually active, they must protect themselves with condoms, even if it means buying them themselves. They must get periodic check-ups with an obstetrician-gynecologist. Or they may wish to re-evaluate their sexual lifestyle to protect themselves and their unborn children.

old standbys of gonorrhea and syphilis PLUS chlamydia, herpes, venereal warts, hepatitis B, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), genital cancer and others.

These diseases hit both sexes hard. But doctors now say that women suffer an unequal share of the pain and damage with pelvic inflammations that can block fallopian tubes, causing infertility or dangerous ectopic pregnancies.

Even more, STD can affect future generations, affecting the infants of mothers with the disease. It’s estimated the cost of STD will totol $2 to $3 billion in 1986. One-seventh of the Centers for Disease Control budget now goes to fight these diseases.

Chlamydia has been selected as a special target. Almost unknown two decades ago, this venereal disease is now the most prevalent SID, with almost 4 million new cases occuring every year.



In men, chlamydia can couse symptoms similar to gonorrhea and inflammation of a sperm duct. But if untreated in women, the results can be disastrous: pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy. In newborns, it can produce pneumonia and eye damage. Even worse, women may not even be aware that they have chlamydia until the damage has already been done.

Symptoms:

For women, any change in the pelvic area: discharge, foul odor. Remember that your sexual partner may not worn you about infection. As the infection worsens, or sometimes when it begins, women may experience lower abdominal pain.

Treatment:

Antibiotics such as tetracycline or erythromyacin. Other more expensive antibiotic treatments are also available. Inexpensive, accurate slide testing for chlamydia has only recently become available. Remember, too, you must be checked after treatment.

Protection:

As with unwanted pregnancy, women shoulder the responsibility. If sexually active, they must protect themselves with condoms, even if it means buying them themselves. They must get periodic check-ups with an obstetrician-gynecologist. Or they may wish to re-evaluate their sexual lifestyle to protect themselves and their unborn children.

Health Check Quiz:

1. Stroke rate is how many times greater for heavy alcohol users than for non-drinkers?

A. Two

B. Four

C. Five

2. A person’s age makes no difference in the response to prescription drugs.

A. True

B. False

3. Cigarette smoke interacts with some drugs to decrease their effectiveness.

A. True

B. Folse

4. The portion of their lives that women con expect to live beyond menopause is:

A. One-fourth

B. One-third

C. One-half

5. A shift from animai fats to vegetable oils helps to protect against peptic ulcers.

A. True

B. False

6. One tablespoon of soy sauce contains what percentage of the doily sodium limit?

A. One-fourth

B. One-third

C. Three-fourths

7. Almost no bleeding occurs in laser surgery.

A. True

B. False

8. Which sexually transmitted disease has almost 4 million new cases occurring every year?

A. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

B. Gonorrhea

C. Chlamydia

9. Exercise can change your metabolism,

A. True

B. False

10. Breast cancer kills how many women each minute in the United States?

A. 5

B. 10

C. 15

Answers:

1.C 6.B

2.B 7. A

3. A 8.C

4.B 9. A

5. A 10. C

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By D Magazine