Pregnancy can change the size of women’s feet, Health Capsules
Pregnancy and foot size
A scientific study has made official what many women already knew: Pregnancy can change the size of a woman’s feet.
Researchers at University of Iowa measured the feet of 49 women during their first trimester of pregnancy and again five months after their babies were born. Roughly 60-70 percent of the women’s feet grew in length and in width, primarily due to a decrease in the height of the arch of the foot.
Researchers said that the loss of arch height appeared to be permanent. Changes were most significant among women who were pregnant for the first time.
From a medical standpoint, the study matters because compared to men, women – particularly those who have borne children – are at a higher risk for foot pain and arthritis in feet, knees, hips and the spine.
Now, researchers are studying how to protect women’s musculoskeletal health during pregnancy.
Controlling colorectal cancer
“Over the years, I have played some characters you could call controlling. But the truth is, there’s so much in life we can’t control. But here’s something we can: colorectal cancer.”
Those are the words of Meryl Streep, spokesperson for this year’s Screen for Life campaign that aims to inform everyone aged 50 and older about the importance of having regular colorectal cancer screening tests.
Colorectal cancer risk increases with age, with more than 90 percent of cases occurring in people who are 50 or older. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., taking the lives of more than 50,000 of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed each year with the disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), if everyone who is 50 or older underwent a regular colorectal cancer screening, as many as 60 percent of deaths from the disease could be avoided. That is because the screening tests can find precancerous polyps, which can be removed before they become cancerous. Screenings can also find existing cancers early, when treatment often leads to a cure.
The CDC recommends that in general, people begin colorectal cancer screening soon after their 50th birthday and continue with regular screenings until age 75 (and older if recommended by a doctor). However, some people may need to be screened at a younger age or more often than others, including those who have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer; those with a close relative who has had polyps or colorectal cancer; people who have inflammatory bowel disease; and those with genetic syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. Individuals should talk with their doctors about which test is right for them.
ADHD may have long-term implications
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should no longer be regarded as a disorder that mainly affects children’s learning and behavior but rather as a major health condition with lifelong implications, according to the authors of a study published in the April issue of Pediatrics.
“Mortality, ADHD, and Psychosocial Adversity in Adults with Childhood ADHD: A Prospective Study” followed into adulthood children with ADHD and compared them to adults who did not have a childhood ADHD diagnosis. Nearly 30 percent of those with the childhood disorder continued to have ADHD at age 27, and more than half (57 percent) had another psychiatric disorder, most commonly substance abuse/dependence, antisocial personality disorder, hypomanic episodes, generalized anxiety, and major depression.
“We suffer from the misconception that ADHD is just an annoying childhood disorder that’s over-treated,” said William Barbaresi, M.D., lead investigator of the study. “This couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to have a chronic disease approach to ADHD as we do for diabetes. The system of care has to be designed for the long haul.”
Barbaresi advised parents of children with ADHD to make sure their children receive quality treatment and continue that treatment as they enter adolescence.
The study was from Boston Children’s Hospital and Mayo Clinic and was the first long-term, population-based ADHD study. Most previous follow-up studies of ADHD have been small and focused on the severe end of the spectrum rather than on a cross-section of the ADHD population.
Exercise for better sleep
Sleep difficulty often leads to lack of exercise, but new research shows that lack of exercise can be the cause of poor sleep.
Results of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 2013 “Sleep in America Poll” show a strong connection between exercise and better sleep.
“Exercise is great for sleep,” National Sleep Foundation CEO David Cloud said. “For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help.”
Poll respondents who described themselves as exercisers reported better sleep than non-exercisers, even if they averaged the same amount of nightly sleep. According to the NSF, more than three of four (76-83 percent) of exercisers said their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the previous two weeks, compared to 56 percent of non-exercisers. Vigorous exercisers reported the best sleep and were more than twice as likely as non-exercisers to report a good night’s sleep every night or almost every night during the week.
The poll revealed also that exercise at any time of day appears to improve sleep, a finding that contradicts the popular belief that it is not good to exercise close to bedtime. As a result, the NSF has amended its sleep recommendations, encouraging exercise for “normal sleepers” with no caveat regarding time of day, as long as exercise is not at the expense of sleep. The other exception to the recommendation is that people with chronic insomnia should refrain from late-evening exercise, if that is part of their prescribed insomnia treatment.
‘Ironing’ away PMS
An iron-rich diet could be the key to avoiding PMS, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and at Harvard.
In one of the first studies to look for a link between dietary mineral consumption and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), 10 years of data was collected on about 3,000 women, none of whom had PMS at the study’s onset. After 10 years, about one-third of the women had a PMS diagnosis.
According to Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, lead study author at UMass-Amherst, the women with the highest consumption of non-heme iron – the form of iron found mainly in plant foods and supplements – had a 30-40 percent lower risk of PMS than women with the lowest non-heme iron intake.
The study indicated also that a high zinc intake is associated with a lower PMS risk and that a high intake of potassium might be associated with a higher risk of PMS.
Bertone-Johnson noted that the level of iron that seemed to reduce the risk of PMS was more than 20 mg per day, which is higher than the 18 mg per day recommended daily allowance (RDA) for premenopausal women. Because high iron intake can lead to health problems, women should not consume “more than the tolerable upper intake level of 45 mg per day unless otherwise recommended by a physician,” she said.
Likewise, the level of zinc that seemed to lower PMS risk was 15 mg per day, and the RDA is 8 mg daily. Bertone-Johnson said women should avoid taking more than 40 mg of zinc per day without a doctor’s recommendation.
“Our findings need to be replicated in other studies,” Bertone-Johnson said. “However, women at risk for PMS should make sure they are meeting the RDA for non-heme iron and zinc.”
On the calendar
Missouri Baptist Medical Center will offer heart risk/lipid panel screenings from 8-11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27 at Longview Farm Park, 13525 Clayton Road in Town & Country. A 10-hour fast and appointment are required. The fee is $25. To register, call (314) 996-5433.
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St. Luke’s Hospital will present “I Have Hip Pain. What Are My Options?” from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 at the Desloge Outpatient Center, 121 St. Luke’s Center Drive in Chesterfield. Admission is free. For more information, call (314) 542-4848.
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Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will conduct a blood drive from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in the Multipurpose Room at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood. For eligibility information, call (800) 747-5401, or visit bloodcenter.org.
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“Advances in Ankle Replacement Surgery” will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17 at the Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeur. Dr. Gary Schmidt, an orthopedic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, will explain advances in ankle replacement surgery. To register, call (314) 542-9378, or visit barnesjewishwestcounty.org/classes.
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“Knee Replacement. Is It Right For Me?” will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 and again from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8 at Desloge Outpatient Center, 121 St. Luke’s Center Drive in Chesterfield. Admission is free. For more information, call (314) 542-4848.
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Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital will present “Preventing and Treating Diabetes” from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 at West County Family YMCA, 16464 Burkhardt Place in Chesterfield. Jennifer Wessels, M.D., will discuss the two types of diabetes, symptoms and risk factors and explain how changing diet, increasing activity level and maintaining a healthy weight can impact risk. Certified diabetes educators from Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital will share their best advice for management of diabetes. Admission is free. To register, call (314) 542-9378.