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This Week's Editorial
Another Perspective PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lori Pankonin   

Subtle hint leads to organized drawers

CRASH! Oh no! I knew the staples for that little stapler were in that drawer somewhere. Oops. In my haste, I pulled the drawer out just a tad bit too far to check in the very, very back. And that’s when the drawer tipped, and the majority of its contents splashed to the floor, scattering hither and yon.

If my sweet 4-year-old granddaughter was involved in such an incident, she would look up with innocence and say, “It was an accident.”

Yes, it was an accident. Or was it? Do you ever get the feeling that something was meant to happen to give you a major hint? No doubt about it, it was time to clean out that drawer!

Well, there was no time right then, so the remaining contents in the drawer got dumped into a box with the scattered collection from the floor sprinkled on top. I grabbed a magnet from the refrigerator to capture the mass of paper clips and anything else that came along with them.

What is it that creates crumbs in drawers? I’ve learned I’m not the only one who ends up with little crumbs in the silverware drawer. Only clean silverware gets put in there. Where do the crumbs come from?

The task of sorting through the box didn’t happen until the weekend. And in the meantime, I dumped the contents of two other drawers from the bathroom on top of my original collection. Heck. While we’re at it, let’s get some other areas of my life organized. There’s nothing like wasting time looking for things that should be readily available, only because there’s nonsense “stuff” that is never used in the way.

STOP! I had to draw the line at those three drawers. Temptation hollered at me to dump three more drawers. Then past experience reminded me that it’s important to finish at least one project before starting on three more. Yes, it was a MUST to have the sorting counter totally cleared by the end of the day.


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Holyoke Enterprise July 24, 2014

 
Thinking About Health PDF Print E-mail
Written by Trudy Lieberman   

Who wins the race for patients—the ER or the urgent care center?

Tracy Hume, a freelance writer who lives in Greeley and a reader of Thinking About Health columns, recently sent along this provocative question. “Do ER-affiliated urgent care providers ever try to escalate patients to the ER when it is not medically necessary?” she asked. “Why? How should a consumer respond?”

She explained that over the July 4 weekend, her teenage son had complained of nausea, headache and abdominal pain and was throwing up. Alarmed, she took him to an urgent care center, which was in her insurance plan’s provider network.

A clerk at the clinic inquired about his symptoms and immediately said since he was having abdominal pains he needed a CT scan, and the urgent care center did not have the capability to do that test. He would have to go to the emergency room across the street, part of the same hospital system.

Hume thought twice. The copay at the urgent care center was $75; at the ER it was $250. Plus, she told me, no one at the center had bothered to examine her son to see if he even needed a CT scan, a procedure that researchers say is overused in the country’s emergency rooms.

Dr. Rita Redberg, a prominent cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, has pointed out, “CTs, once rare, are now routine. One in l0 Americans undergo a CT scan every year, and many of them get more than one.” They are becoming common in emergency rooms, where patients are getting scans at rates five times higher than in the mid-1990s.

While some CT scans undoubtedly save lives, if you get one and don’t need it, you’re exposing yourself to needless radiation. Redberg said the use of medical imaging with high doses of radiation, particularly CT scans, has increased “more than six-fold between the 1980s and 2006.”

What’s behind the growing use? Fears of malpractice suits and patient demand for them “just to be sure,” as I reported in my last column, are partly to blame, but so is the presence of more of these machines along with the financial pressures on the hospitals to use them as revenue generators.

And that reason circles back to Hume. Was the hospital system sending patients to a place of higher-priced care to pad its bottom line? Hume did say that there are two “large, aggressively competitive health care systems competing for business” in Greeley, a city of almost 100,000 people, and “each built fancy, fully equipped new ERs on the affluent side of town within a two-mile radius of each other.”

 

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Holyoke Enterprise July 24, 2014

 
Extension Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tracy Trumper   

Fact or fiction: Drink 8 glasses of water daily

90 degrees, 95 degrees, 100 degrees—the temperatures are reaching the typical summer highs. What do studies show about proper hydration for health?

According to the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter’s Special Report, there is little scientific evidence confirming that eight glasses of water should be the daily requirement. Body size, energy expenditures through exercise or work and other factors can cause actual fluid needs to vary among individuals.

The 1945 finding that people needed 64 ounces, or eight 8-ounce glasses, of fluid a day is probably where the “eight glasses a day” myth originated. The key that still is supported today is that the recommendation states “fluid,” not just water per day.

So this “fluid” includes fluids in foods as well as coffee, tea, juice and soda. Fluid content in food accounts for up to 22 percent of the average American’s water intake.

Studies have shown that even caffeinated beverages that can have a diuretic effect should not be canceled out as having hydration benefits. However, these types of beverages are also high in calories, contributing to obesity.

A 2002 study at Dartmouth Medical School and a 2008 review in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology both concluded that there is no scientific proof for the “eight glasses a day” rule of water intake.

So how much is enough? Water is very important for the body as it carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body and carries waste away. Every cell in the body needs water for proper function.

Seventy-five percent of the body weight of infants is water, and about 55 percent in elderly. So there is knowledge about the importance of water for proper body function and how much of the body is water, but there is little known from controlled scientific study about how additional water in hydrated individuals offers any more benefit.

Consequently, “fluid intake, driven by thirst … allows maintenance of hydration status and total body water at normal levels,” according to the Institute of Medicine.

The elderly might need to pay more attention to the body’s hydration needs, as older people often have a reduced sensation of thirst, putting them at risk for dehydration.

Older individuals tend to drink less fluid and have lower reserves to replenish the system from a water deficit. Also, the body’s internal thermostat is challenged in older adults because they sweat less.


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Holyoke Enterprise July 24, 2014