In honor of February being American Heart Month, I’m sharing pearls from my conversations with family members about cardiovascular disease. Even though I am an Ivy-League trained nurse practitioner with nearly two decades of experience of keeping patients healthy, I’ve found that even my loved ones doubt my perspective until it is validated by their own medical providers, the CDC, or even (shudder) a celebrity interview.
“Ask for a statin,” I said to my husband. His cholesterol had been climbing on his annual work health screening and starting a regular exercise program hadn’t done anything to bring it down. Long-term research about statins not only shows that they are proven to reduce incidents of heart attacks and strokes, but that they also reduce the incidence of certain types of cancers. They are not for everybody (especially women at risk of pregnancy), but my experience has shown that very few people have side effects while on statins. Those that do can usually reduce their side effects by taking a daily CoQ10 supplement along with the statin.
Even small amounts of extra cholesterol can accumulate in the blood vessels over the years and lead to hardening of the arteries, so treat slight elevations just as aggressively as very high elevations. When it comes to cholesterol management, it is worth investing in your long-term health.
As for my husband, he eventually had a conversation with his own provider, and I had a happy-dance when he came home with a Pravachol prescription.
By Ginger Blake, ARNP at North County Clinic
February is Children’s Dental Health Month, so what a perfect time to review the best way to care for your child’s teeth! Make sure you bring your little one in by 12 months of age, if you also want to bring them in when the first tooth erupts, that is great too. This early first visit is important for several reasons. First, any dental problems that may be developing can be detected early, and this may reduce the need for costly, extensive care in the future. In addition, the first dental visit is a great time to talk about behaviors that can affect the dental health of your child.
As your child grows, it is important that they come to the clinic every six months to repeat this process. Small procedures such as a toothbrush cleaning, and later a rubber cup cleaning, as well as dental radiographs will be added at the subsequent appointments. The developing dentition will be monitored and your child will be assessed for orthodontic care. Sealants are placed on first and second molars around the age of six and 12 to prevent dental decay. Some tips for lasting dental health:
- Brush at least twice a day
- The ADA recommends that for children younger than three years, begin brushing with a “smear” of fluoridated tooth paste no bigger than a grain rice
- For children between the ages of 3 and 6, use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste
- Parents or caregivers should be actively involved in this process, remember that until your child can tie their own shoes, they do not have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth.
- Any teeth that touch should be flossed
- A diet that is good for your body will be good for your teeth
- Avoid sugary drinks and chewy, sticky foods.
- In the teenage years it is important to help your child maintain a healthy diet also as during the school years candy, soda are more readily available outside the home.
- Do not let your child get an intraoral piercing as this can be responsible for chipped teeth, soft tissue trauma and occasional tooth loss
Try to have patience and keep at it, some children have an easier time than others but patience and persistence will pay off.