Archive for March, 2011

Millions of Americans Have Diabetes and Don’t Know It

March 22nd, 2011

Millions of Americans Have Diabetes and Don’t Know It

On Diabetes Alert Day, Take Action to Learn Your Risk

In observance of Diabetes Alert Day (March 22), the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and the Martin County Health Department are encouraging people to take NDEP’s Diabetes Risk Test at   to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes – including an estimated 1,300 Martin Countians.  It is estimated that nearly one-third of the people with diabetes do not know that they have the disease.  An estimated 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing the disease.

According to the NDEP, “Diabetes is a serious disease, particularly when it is left undiagnosed or untreated.  Everyone should be aware of their risk for diabetes.  If you have a family history of diabetes – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes – or if you had diabetes during pregnancy – you need to know that you are at increased risk. 

Other risk factors for diabetes include being overweight, physically inactive, and being over the age of 45. Diabetes also is more common in African Americans, people of African Ancestry, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and even death.  With early diagnosis and treatment, people with diabetes can delay or prevent the development of these health problems.

If you are at risk for diabetes, the good news is that you can take action now to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by making – and maintaining – healthy lifestyle changes.

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing a small amount of weight – 5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) – and becoming more active. Action steps include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days per week. One way to help people achieve their health goal is to write down everything they eat and drink and the number of minutes they are active each day. They should review their notes daily.

The Martin County Health Department will be offering a Diabetes Self-Management course in June.  Call the health department at 298-7752 to register for the course.

FAQ #20 About Colon Cancer

March 22nd, 2011

Can young people get colorectal cancer? If there is no family history and if the person is under 30, should they be concerned about getting colorectal cancer?

In general, it is very uncommon for young people to get colorectal cancer. However, there are two well recognized hereditary syndromes in which cancer can develop in young people. The first is Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). This is a disease in which there is a mutation of a tumor suppressor gene and affected people develop hundreds to thousands of precancerous polyps in the colon. Unless the colon is removed, 100 percent of these patients will get colorectal cancer, usually by the late 30′s. The disease is inherited directly from an affected parent (autosomal dominant inheritance), which means that each child has a 50 percent or 1 in 2 chance of inheriting the abnormal gene. If the gene is inherited, the child will eventually develop polyps. The average age for polyp development in this syndrome is the mid-teens, although children as young as eight or 10 have sometimes been found with polyps.

If a family is known to have FAP, the affected parent and at risk children may be screened for a gene mutation with a genetic test. Children from families who refuse or cannot have genetic tests start having sigmoidoscopies or colonoscopies at about 10 or 12 years old and every 6 to 12 months to look for the presence of polyps. Once numerous polyps start developing surgery is planned. The good news about this disease is that the surgical options are very good and now the colon can often be removed by a mini-or laparoscopic approach. The bowel is put directly back together and no bag is necessary. People move their bowels normally.

The other well recognized inherited disorder is hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). In this syndrome cancers also occur early and develop from polyps. But here, there are not the hundreds of polyps seen in FAP. The disease presents at a later age, too. The standard recommendation is colonoscopy in at risk children of affected families beginning at age 25 and repeated every two years. Genetic testing may also be helpful here. So, there are specific recommendations for children in families with high rates of colorectal cancer. But the specific syndrome must be known. It is very important for kids from families like these to be seen by experts who have experience with these syndromes and in institutions where genetic counseling and testing services are available.

It is possible, although quite rare, for sporadic colon cancer to occur in young people outside of those affected by FAP or HNPCC.


Have Questions About Food Safety?

March 21st, 2011

Have a food safety question?  Just go to  Type in your question and get an immediate answer. 

  • Is is safe to refreeze leftovers?
  • How long should I boil an egg?
  • How long can I keep oil after frying?

Be sure to watch the following information video about


FAQ #19 About Colon Cancer

March 21st, 2011

Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome a risk factor for developing colorectal cancer?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic functional problem of the gut usually characterized by patterns of diarrhea and loose stools alternating with constipation. It may also be associated with abdominal cramping and pain. IBS is not associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Patients with IBS have normal life expectancies. Although patients with IBS are not at increased risk for colorectal cancer, they are not at decreased risk either, and should follow the recommended screening guidelines like everyone else in the population. If your IBS symptoms change from their usual behavior or regular pattern, or if you see blood in your stool, please notify your physician and gastroenterologist.


FAQ # 18 About Colon Cancer

March 20th, 2011

Is there a connection between stomach cancer and colorectal cancer?

There is no association between stomach (gastric) cancer and colorectal cancer, except in individuals with the hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. This is a rare genetic syndrome in which affected individuals are at risk of colorectal cancer at a young age, as well as other cancers, including gastric cancer. Individuals with a strong family history ( three or more affected relatives spanning two generations with at least one affected relative under age 50) of colorectal cancer, or colorectal cancer and endometrial (uterus) cancer, may have this syndrome and may warrant genetic testing and/or screening with colonoscopy. Patients with familial polyposis also have an increased risk of gastric cancer. It should be kept in mind that many individuals may claim a personal or family history of “stomach cancer” when they mean colorectal cancer.


FAQ #17 About Colon Cancer

March 19th, 2011

Is there a correlation between the length of your colon and colon cancer?

There is no known correlation with the length of the colon and colon cancer. Cancer is at least as common in men as women, but women tend to have longer colons.


Why WIC is important!

March 18th, 2011

WIC saves lives and improves the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children. The results of studies conducted by FNS and other nongovernment entities prove that WIC is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective nutrition intervention programs.

Since its beginning in 1974, the WIC Program has earned the reputation of being one of the most successful Federally-funded nutrition programs in the United States. Collective findings of studies, reviews and reports demonstrate that the WIC Program is cost effective in protecting or improving the health/nutritional status of low-income women, infants and children.

The following highlights some of the findings (pertinent references are provided).

Improved Birth Outcomes and Savings in Health Care Costs

  • longer pregnancies;
  • fewer premature births;
  • lower incidence of moderately low and very low birth weight infants;
  • fewer infant deaths;
  • a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care; and
  • savings in health care costs from $1.77 to $3.13 within the first 60 days after birth.

Improved Diet and Diet-Related Outcomes

  • higher mean intakes of iron, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6, without an increase in food energy intake, indicating an increase in the nutrient density of the diet;
  • positive effects on the intakes of ten nutrients without an adverse effect on fat or cholesterol;
  • more effective than other cash income or food stamps at improving preschoolers’ intake of key nutrients; and
  • decline in the rate of iron deficiency anemia from 7.8 percent in 1975 to 2.9 percent in 1985 which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed to both a general improvement in iron nutrition and participation in WIC and other public nutrition programs.

Improved Infant Feeding Practices

  • WIC breastfeeding policy and program activites were strengthened in the early 1990′s;
  • Between 1996 and 2001, the percentage of WIC mothers breastfeeding in the hospital increased by almost 25 percent, from 46.6 to 58.2 percent;
  • The percentage of WIC infants breastfeeding at six months of age increased by 61.2 percent, from 12.9 to 20.8 percent; and,
  • For those infants who are fed infant formula, 90 percent received iron-fortified formula, which is recommended for nearly all nonbreastfed infants for the first year of life.

Immunization Rates and RegularImproved Cognitive Development

  • improve vocabulary scores for children of mothers who participated in WIC during pregnancy; and
  • significantly improve memory for numbers for children enrolled in WIC after the first year of life.

Improved Preconception Nutritional Status

  • women enrolled in WIC both during pregnancy and postpartum periods delivered infants with higher mean birth weights in a subsequent pregnancy than women who received WIC prenatally only; and,
  • the women who received postpartum benefits had higher hemoglobin levels and lower risk of maternal obesity at the onset of the subsequent pregnancy.

Other Improved Outcomes

  • increase the likelihood of children having a regular provider of medical care; and,
  • improve growth rates.


  • WIC reduces fetal deaths and infant mortality.
  • WIC reduces low birth weight rates and increases the duration of pregnancy.
  • WIC improves the growth of nutritionally at-risk infants and children.
  • WIC decreases the incidence of iron deficiency anemia in children.
  • WIC improves the dietary intake of pregnant and postpartum women and improves weight gain in pregnant women.
  • Pregnant women participating in WIC receive prenatal care earlier.
  • Children enrolled in WIC are more likely to have a regular source of medical care and have more up to date immunizations.
  • WIC helps get children ready to start school: children who receive WIC benefits demonstrate improved intellectual development.
  • WIC significantly improves children’s diets.

WIC participation has also been shown to:
Preconception nutritional status is an important determinant of birth outcome. A previous pregnancy can cause nutritional depletion of the postpartum woman, particularly those with high parity and short interpregnancy intervals. One study found:
Cognitive development influences school achievement and behavior. Participation in the WIC Program has been shown to: Source of Medical Care
A regular schedule of immunizations is recommended for children from birth to 2 years of age, which coincides with the period in which many low-income children participate in WIC. Studies have found significantly improved rates of childhood immunization and of having a regular source of medical care associated with WIC participation.
WIC promotes breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding. Studies show:
Studies have found WIC to have a positive effect on children’s diet and diet-related outcomes such as:
Research has shown that the WIC Program has been playing an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs. A series of reports published by USDA based on linked 1988 WIC and Medicaid data on over 100,000 births found that every dollar spent on prenatal WIC participation for low-income Medicaid women in five states resulted in: 

FAQ #16 About Colon Cancer

March 18th, 2011

Are colorectal screening tests done by your general practitioner or should they be done by gastroenterologists or other experts?

There are several types of colorectal cancer screening tests.

1. Fecal occult blood tests are usually provided by your general practitioner for you to take home with instructions for the test and how to return them to the laboratory for development.

2. Flexible sigmoidoscopy, which evaluates the lower 1/3 of the colon with an endoscope, is performed by some but not all general practitioners. General practitioners who do not perform flexible sigmoidoscopies in their office typically refer patients to a gastroenterologist of other specialist for the procedure.

3. Colonoscopy and virtual colonoscopy are a more extensive endoscopic evaluation of the entire length of the colon and is usually not done by general practitioners; it is done by gastroenterologists or other gastrointestinal specialists. The colonoscopy is considered the gold standard procedure for colon cancer screening by the American Cancer Society and many more professional organizations, and it is highly recommended that your general practitioner refer you to a Board Certified gastroenterologist or endoscopist to have the test done.


Community Center is now Tobacco-Free

March 17th, 2011

Another Martin County organization has gone tobacco free.  Beginning March 1, the Roy F. Collier Community Center prohibits smoking and all tobacco products on their entire premises (both inside the building and outside).  You can see their announcement on their Facebook page.

The Martin County Health Department and Martin Countians for Clean Indoor Air commend the Community Center in taking this important step in protecting the health of visitors to the center.

Wash your hands!!

March 17th, 2011