HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....

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Individuals who are at risk for pneumonia should discuss prevention and vaccination with their primary care physician. Vaccinations protect against certain bacterial and viral pneumonia's both in children and adults.


Sources and Resources:


Centers for Disease Control

Mayo Clinic

Pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by bacteria and viruses that are present in the air we breathe. The immune system usually fights these invaders off, preventing them from infecting the lungs, but there are occasions when the germs can overpower the immune system.


Pneumonia has been known throughout human history. Hippocrates and Maimonides recognized pneumonia in the early history of medicine. Today pneumonia can be treated effectively with medications, but complications can present serious problems for vulnerable individuals. High-risk groups include infants, children, the elderly and those who are immune impaired.


Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. One of the most serious complications is pleural effusion, which is the accumulation of fluid in the thin space between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity. When this fluid accumulation becomes infected, you may need to have it drained through a chest tube or surgically removed.


Another complication involves bacteria that enters the bloodstream from the lungs. When this occurs, the infection can spread to other organs, potentially causing organ failure. With a lung abscess, pus forms in a cavity in the lung. The abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed into the abscess is needed to remove the puss.

COMPLICATIONS OF PNEUMONIA

When the pneumonia is severe or a person has chronic underlying lung diseases, the individual often develops breathing difficulties. This is when a ventilator becomes necessary to help the patient breathe while the infected lung heals.


Under normal circumstances, only air should enter the airways. Aspiration pneumonia occurs when a person inhales food, drink, vomitus or saliva into the lungs. It is more likely to happen if something is preventing the normal gag reflux. It can occur as a result of a brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, a swallowing problem or excessive use of alcohol or drugs. Some individuals, such as people with cerebral palsy, may find viruses and bacteria get into their lungs through the mouth and cause repeated incidences of aspiration pneumonia.


The epiglottis makes food travel toward the esophagus and away from the trachea. If the epiglottis doesn’t close the way it is supposed to, this causes a gag reflex, which can result in the deterioration of the epiglottis. When it does not work correctly, aspiration pneumonia can occur because food and liquid carrying bacteria enters the lungs.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller