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Tuesday
February 19th, 2019
Healthy Lifestyles

burnBurns do not discriminate and can affect men, women, children, and seniors. The Miami Burn Center advises that burn injuries are the nation’s third largest cause of accidental death, resulting in 6,000 fatalities each year and annually causing 300,000 serious injuries. Because burns are largely preventable, it is important to understand how they’re caused and how to prevent them. Understanding the treatment options available to get on the road to recovery can help burn victims and their families, too.

The health and wellness resource Healthline defines burns  as injury to the tissues of the body resulting in skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die. Burns can result from exposure to heat, flames, ultraviolet radiation, electricity, steam, and chemicals. While many people can recover from burns without repercussions, serious burns can lead to complications and even death.

Burn stages

Burns are classified in one of three stages.

  • • First-degree burn: These are superficial burns that only affect the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. The site of the burn can be painful, red and dry. Long-term skin damage is rare.
  • • Second-degree burns: Burns of this nature affect the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. Symptoms include red, blistered, swollen, and painful skin.
  • • Third-degree burns: With third-degree burns, the epidermis and dermis are destroyed. These burns also may impact underlying muscles, tendons and bones. The burn site appears charred or white, and there is little to no sensation since nerve endings are destroyed.

Burn treatments

Minor burns usually can be treated at home. Avoid ice and cotton balls. Ice can make damage worse, and the cotton fibers can stick to the injury and increase risk of infection, warns Healthline. A cool-water soak, pain relief medicines and the application of lidocaine or aloe vera gel to soothe the skin is advised.

If the burn is oozing, lightly cover it with sterile gauze if available; otherwise, use a clean sheet or a towel. Seek medical attention immediately. Do not try to pull away clothing or fabric from a burn. Cut away as much as possible and then go to the hospital, states the American Academy of Pediatrics. Electrical and chemical burns also require prompt medical attention.

Burn prevention

To help prevent burns, follow these tips.

  • • Check smoke alarms regularly to ensure they’re functioning at full capacity.
  • • Do not play with matches, flammable materials or fireworks.
  • • Do not leave food cooking unattended.
  • • Exercise caution when handling plugs and outlets.
  • • Apply sunscreen and adhere to sun-safety time limits.
  • • Read labels for all chemical products and use them in the manner in which they’re intended to be used.
  • • Adjust hot water heater temperatures.

Burns are almost always preventable. Learning about burns and how to prevent them is a great first step toward reducing your risk of suffering a burn. 

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hearthealthyHeart disease is a formidable foe. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease accounts for nearly 25 percent of all deaths in the United States each year. 

Issues relating to the heart affect both men and women, and an estimated 15 million adults in the U.S. have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease. And heart disease is not exclusive to the United States, as the Heart Research Institute says that every seven minutes in Canada someone dies from heart disease or stroke.

Such statistics are disconcerting, but they can serve as a wake-up call that compels people to prioritize heart health. Fortunately, heart disease is often preventable and people can employ various strategies to reduce their risk.

  • • Stop smoking right now. One of the best things to do to protect the heart is to stop smoking. The Heart Foundation indicates that smoking reduces oxygen in the blood and damages blood vessel walls. It also contributes to atherosclerosis, or a narrowing and clogging of the arteries.
  • • Eat healthy fats. When eating, choose polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats and avoid trans fats as much as possible. Trans fats increase one’s risk of developing heart disease by clogging arteries and raising LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Read food labels before buying anything at the store.
  • • Keep your mouth clean. Studies show that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can travel to the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation. Brush and floss twice daily, and be sure to schedule routine dental cleanings.
  • • Get adequate shut-eye. Ensuring adequate sleep can improve heart health. One study found that young and middle-age adults who regularly slept seven hours a night had less calcium in their arteries (a sign of early heart disease) compared to those who slept five hours or less or those who slept nine hours or more. 
  • • Adopt healthy eating habits. Changes to diet, including eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight, improve cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure — leading to a healthier heart.
  • • Embrace physical activity. Regular moderate exercise is great for the heart. It can occur at the gym, playing with the kids or even taking the stairs at work.

A healthy heart begins with daily habits that promote long-term heart health. 

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reddressHeart disease might be seen as something that predominantly affects men, but women are not immune to this potentially deadly condition. In fact, doctors and healthcare professionals advise women to take serious heed of heart disease, which claims more female lives than breast cancer, other cancers, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s disease combined.

The American Heart Association  indicates that more women are now aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death among females than they were 20 years ago. While just 30 percent of women recognized that in 1997, that figure had risen to 56 percent by 2012. However, the AHA reports that only 42 percent of women aged 35 and older are concerned about heart disease. Initiatives like Go Red for Women in February help shed light on the threat posed by heart disease.

Here are some facts to consider.

  • • Roughly one female death per minute is attributed to heart disease.
  • • Heart disease affects women of all ages. In fact, the AHA says that the combination of smoking and birth control pills can increase heart disease risk in younger women by 20 percent.
  • • Mercy Health System says about 5.8 percent of all white women, 7.6 percent of black women, and 5.6 percent of Mexican American women have coronary heart disease.
  • • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms.
  • • When symptoms are present in women, they are not like the stereotypical clutching of the chest that men experience. Heart disease symptoms in women can include upper back pain, chest discomfort, heartburn, extreme fatigue, nausea, and shortness of breath.
  • • Even fit women can be affected by heart disease. Inherent risk factors, such as high cholesterol, can counteract  healthy habits.

Women are urged to take various steps to reduce their risk of heart disease:

  • • Lose weight
  • • Engage in regular physical activity
  • • Quit smoking
  • • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum
  • • Get cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly
  • • Make healthy food choices
  • • Lower stress levels
  • • Control diabetes

Taking charge of factors they can control can help women improve their overall health and lower their risk for heart disease. Women also should speak with their doctors about heart disease. Learn more at www.goredforwomen.org.  

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