Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rising Health Problems in Our Youth

The culture we live in is taking a toll on the health of our young people.  Some facts from the latest surveys and some best tips:

In 2012, 33%, or one out of three, children and teens were found to be overweight or obese.  Empty calories from foods such as pop, pizza, ice cream and desserts provide 40% of total daily calories for 2-18 year olds.  Obesity-related illnesses are showing up at younger ages, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.  All of these diseases come with a lower quality-of-life cost to the person as well as a large price tag due to increased medical care.
BEST TIP: Be a good role model for your children and grandchildren!  Eat healthier food, choose smaller portions and include children in discussions about and preparation of healthy food.

Physical Strength Decline
Children start decreasing their physical activity after the age of 7, a new study has found. Activity gradually declines year by year, while screen time increases.  In 2008, children in the UK were found to be physically weaker than children 10 years earlier. Ten year olds could do significantly less sit-ups, as well as having lower arm strength and grip strength.

BEST TIP:  Walk, bike and go to the playground with children. Encourage safe climbing activities. Plan active weekends and active vacations. 

High Blood Pressure
A recent survey found that 19% (1 out of 5) of young adults have high blood pressure and it is increasing in children as well.  This disease has potentially serious consequences to health, such as the early development of heart disease or stroke, yet it is often not checked or treated in youth.
BEST TIP:  Talk about blood pressure with the young adults in your family.  

Diabetes is expected to increase significantly in young people in the next decade.  Recently a survey found 75% of young adults with type 2 diabetes have already developed at least one complication caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
BEST TIP: Healthier eating, increased activity and weight control are the keys to avoid or treat diabetes.

Colon Cancer
A recent study has found that “colon and rectal cancers have increased dramatically and steadily in young and middle-age adults in the US”, according to a Feb 2017 article for USA Today.  Obesity, inactivity and poor diets are thought to be the main suspected causes.  

BEST TIP: Topeka Pharmacy is here to help!  Call for more information about Diabetes and Weight Loss Classes.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sharps Safety and Unwanted Drug Disposal

What are Sharps?
9 million Americans use “sharps”: a term used to describe needles, syringes, lancets, pen devices or other sharp items like used razor blades.  Each sharp has the potential to injure or pass disease to trash workers, janitors, housekeepers and others if not disposed of correctly.

Free Sharps Containers
The safest way to dispose of sharps are to place them in red sharps containers which are clearly labelled as “sharps”. Red sharps containers are free and can be picked up at Topeka Pharmacy or you can call Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District at 1-800-777-5462 to find out where else in the area you can pick up a free sharps container. 

Important points of disposal include:

  • ·         Always place sharps in a red sharps container, which are free to the public.
  • ·         When the Sharps Container is full, close the lid tightly and place the container out for   regular trash pickup.
  • ·         Never place sharps in recycling bins
  • ·         Never throw away sharps while traveling- take along a safe container with you.


Many people also have questions about how to dispose of prescription drugs after they have expired or are no longer used.  Almost all meds can be thrown in the household trash, but some need extra precautions taken.  Some guidelines follow:

1.       Some narcotics will have instructions on them to flush any unused drugs down the toilet.  Although the FDA and EPA have approved this method of disposal for certain drugs, it would be better to take them to a take-back program as listed below.

2.       Most other drugs can be thrown in the household trash. Be sure to:

  •   Remove the drugs from original containers.
  •   Mix them with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds, dirt or used kitty litter.
  •   Place mixture in a sealable container to prevent the drug from falling out of the trash bag.

Unwanted medication take-back programs
If you are uncomfortable throwing away or flushing unwanted meds, you can take them to the LaGrange Sheriff’s office, Topeka Police or Shipshewana Police.  Each office has a collection container in their front lobby.  Topeka Pharmacy also will take your unwanted meds and safely dispose of them as a community service.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Eat Whole Grains to Lose Weight?

If you are looking to lose weight, is low carb eating better?  A recent study shows again that it depends on the types of carbs you are eating. It is generally known that people who eat whole grains and less processed foods like whole fruits and vegetables are slimmer and have less body fat than those who eat mostly refined grains.  Some studies have linked higher whole grain intake to lower risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. 

Can eating whole grains increase your metabolism?
A study completed at Tufts University in Boston and published online Feb 8, 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found some interesting results.  A group of people given a whole-grain diet were found to absorb fewer calories from their food, and to have a higher resting metabolism, than a group of people given a refined-carb diet.  The effect on their metabolism and calorie usage was the same as if the people on the whole-grain diet had walked one mile daily, according to the researchers.

The researchers stated that this does not prove that whole grains cause weight loss.  However, one researcher, Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, stated that “it provides good evidence that consumption of whole grains is an important part of a healthful eating plan.”  She also added that the study shows how whole grains add to fullness during eating and appear to increase metabolism.

How to know if a food contains whole grains
If you would like to add whole grains to your diet, realize that most people will get whole grains from whole wheat bread, oatmeal or a whole grain cereal, but you can also look for whole grain pasta or use brown rice. 

Read the first ingredient on the label, as the ingredients are listed by weight.  It should say “whole wheat flour” or “whole oats”.   Sometimes you will see a label which states the product is made from “100% whole grain”.  

Be careful of ingredients like “wheat flour” and “enriched flour” as these both mean white, refined flour.  Also look for the amount of dietary fiber on the label.  If it is only 1 gm dietary fiber per serving, that food item does not have much whole grain in it.  Whole wheat bread should have at least 2 gm of dietary fiber per slice.  Whole grain cereal should have 2 to 4 gm of dietary fiber per serving.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating at least three servings of whole grains daily.  Your friendly Topeka Pharmacy’s Wellness Program can help you answer any questions you may have about how to improve your eating to improve your health!