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PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

How to Prevent ACL Tears in Teens

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ACL tears happen suddenly, almost without fail, each high school sports season. A teenager jumps or pivots fast to get the ball. The teen may feel a pop in the knee, but usually can walk off the field. Within 24 to 48 hours the teen’s knee is severely swollen.

And if your teenage athlete is a girl, her risk of tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is four to six times greater than a boy’s. Why? “That’s the hot question right now,” says Sally Harris, M.D., a pediatric sports medicine doctor at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. At first, researchers thought hormones and girls’ body structure increased their risk. But studies now indicate those are minor points. More likely, Dr. Harris says, girls are at greater risk for ACL tears because of two factors, both preventable:

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Prostate Cancer Screening: Is the PSA Test for You?

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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer). Although it is a serious disease, it can often be treated successfully. More than 2 million men in the United States are prostate cancer survivors, according to the American Cancer Society.

Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2014 are: Read More

Flu Facts and Fiction

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Each year 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu (influenza) and more than 200,000 end up in hospital due to flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To stay healthy, the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receives a flu vaccine. However, when it comes to the flu, several myths and tales persist. Test your flu facts and fiction knowledge with this quiz from the CDC. Read More

Kids and Pets: A Pediatrician’s Tips

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Kids and pets – this pair seems like a natural fit. Pets for children can bring many health benefits, and they make loving companions. They also provide an excellent opportunity for your child to learn responsibility and commitment, says Cara Barone, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. But before Fido or Fluffy joins the family, there are a few things to consider. Here, Dr. Barone answers common questions about children and pets.

Is it true that pets can improve children’s health? Read More

Breastfeeding and Diet

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You’ve been careful about what you eat and drink during your pregnancy to do what’s best for your baby. Now that you’re breastfeeding your precious little one, can you resume enjoying a glass of wine or your favorite soft cheese or sushi?

“Yes,” says Joanna Koch, a lactation consultant at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “It’s time to return to and enjoy your normal diet.” Here are her answers to new moms’ common questions about what you can and can’t eat during breastfeeding.  Read More

Healthy School Lunches

 

BLOGschoollunchFor many parents, packing their children’s lunches and snacks can feel like guesswork. Will they eat it, or not? Packing sugary, unhealthy items may often seem like the only way to make sure they eat something during the school day.

However, don’t give up on healthy foods, even if your children don’t always return from school with an empty lunch box. The preschool and elementary school years are a critical time to help children learn healthy eating habits for life.

Manisha Panchal, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers these simple guidelines to help you create healthy school lunches. Read More

When Depression Prompts Thoughts of Suicide

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The recent death of actor Robin Williams is prompting many people to take a hard look at depression and suicide. Suicide rates among middle-age Americans – once the least likely age group to commit suicide – is rising sharply. In fact, the rate of suicide among people age 35-64 rose 28 percent between 1999 and 2010.

There are many theories: Baby Boomers facing retirement may be under financial stress. People may struggle to care for both aging parents and their children. Or they may be affected by the growing use of strong pain medicine for age-related conditions such as arthritis.

Meg Durbin, M.D., an Internal Medicine doctor and pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers these insights into depression, and tips on how to help someone at risk for suicide.

What puts someone at risk for suicide?
People who have a diagnosed mental disorder such as depression or bipolar disease are at higher risk of suicide. Substance abuse is also closely tied to suicidal thoughts, as is a family history of attempted or completed suicide. Suicide risk is also higher when someone has a serious medical history, prolonged pain and major life losses. The risk of suicide also increases in people who have a close association with another person’s suicide, and have access to the tools required to take their lives in a moment of despair. Read More