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Key health issues featured in the Recorder

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Cancers, such as prostate, breast and lung cancer dominated the Indianapolis Recorder’s Health section – serving as a warning and as an educational tool for readers.

And in keeping with our theme of preparing a conscious community, we also provided information about diseases that Blacks suffer from disproportionately such as diabetes and heart disease.

Yet there were other health issues that are noteworthy. They are as follows:

In February, the Recorder met a man named Don struggling with Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait.

According to Dr. Michael Sermersheim, board certified neurologist at Josephson-Wallack-Munshower Neurology and St. Vincent Hospital, said Parkinson’s is more prominent in whites, however African-Americans are still highly likely to develop the disease. Its also more common in men than in women.

There has been a steady rise in glaucoma among the African-American community. More than 520,000 Blacks have glaucoma and the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health projects this number will rise to approximately 865,000 cases by 2030, a 66 percent increase. Blacks have the highest prevalence of glaucoma among minority groups.

During May, Recorder readers learned the signs and symptoms of stroke, a brain attack where a disturbance or disease of a blood vessel cuts off blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Signs include the sudden onset of numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; trouble seeing; dizziness; or severe headaches with no known cause. Risk factors include age, ethnicity, family history, previous stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, poor diet, or smoking.

Obesity causes many other health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes, but people can now add gout to the list.

Gout is a form of arthritis and is an inflammatory condition caused by too much uric acid in the body. Acid builds up in the joints of the foot, ankle, knee, finger, elbow, or wrist. Gout flares usually strike suddenly and at night. Gout is typically caused by certain medications; certain foods like liver or mushrooms; or high fructose corn syrup. Anyone is susceptible to gout.

A recent study found that the athletic balls at your local gym may be spreading potentially dangerous germs. The study focused on a type of bacteria that causes staph infections in athletes, however other bacteria and viruses can also be spread among athletes. Exercising is encouraged, but gym goers must ensure their own safety and the safety of others by taking steps such as wiping down gym equipment before and after each use.

Diapers can take a big bite out of any family’s budget, yet there is a portion of the population that struggles to afford enough diapers to regularly change their babies. A July study found that 1 in 12 low-income mothers stretch diaper supplies by leaving babies in them after they’ve been soiled, a practice that can lead to skin and urinary tract infections. Also, cloth diapers were not a feasible solution for this population. To curb this, experts suggest early prenatal care, which connects mothers to necessary social services.

Type 2 diabetes once plagued adults, but is now affecting kids. Approximately 1 in every 3 children born since the turn of this century will be diagnosed with the condition during their lifetime, which if left unchecked, can instigate a number of serious health problems. African-American children are particularly vulnerable. The key to turning this trend around is lifestyle changes that include medication, proper diet and exercise.

On Dec. 7, the Indianapolis community celebrated the opening of the new Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital/Eskenazi Health. Eskenazi Health’s mission is to advocate, care, teach and serve, with special emphasis on the vulnerable populations of Marion County. It is one of the leading providers of health care in Central Indiana, with physicians of the Indiana University School of Medicine providing a comprehensive range of primary and specialty care services within the 315-bed hospital and inpatient facilities as well as 11 community health centers located throughout Indianapolis. Eskenazi Health is also home to the first of two adult Level I trauma centers in Indiana and the region’s only adult burn center, the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health.

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