World No Tobacco Day

 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 is World No Tobacco Day.  Organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) focus on this day to create awareness on Tobacco use, the risks involved, and ways to restrict tobacco advertisement/development.

Smoking is the number one cause of death that is preventable worldwide.  In the USA alone 480,000 people die every year from smoking and 41,000 die from second-hand smoke.  About 80% of those who smoke are in the low and middle class population.  Tobacco companies target low income areas by increasing their advertising, have more tobacco shops, and offer price discounts.  Being in the low-income bracket alone increases your chances of smoking.  More than 40% of those who smoke are in the low socioeconomic category.  This was not always the case.  In the 1940s, those with higher education were the ones that smoked the most.  This was most likely due to the public not knowing the health effects of smoking.  Once studies came out showing the negative effects of smoking those of high socioeconomic status quit or never started and the tobacco industry started targeting low income areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) smoking has gone done since the 1960s. Below is a graph showing the decline in smoking in adults and high school students from 1965 to 2014. Surveys were conducted, and these were the results.

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For those who are ready to quit smoking but don’t know where to find help during the grueling process, here are a few places to visit that can help you stay on track.  Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.  Type into the search engine I’m ready to quit and click on the first link.  Here you will be assisted with developing your own “Quit Plan” along with ways to manage your craving and social network support.   Another website to visit would be QuitlineNC.  This website offers a FREE program that you can enroll in that will give you the tools and a coach to help you succeed in quitting. Quitline NC is available to any North Carolina resident. With it being a FREE program, there is no worrying about your insurance or income. By enrolling in this program, you may be eligible to receive FREE nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Begin Your Exercise Program at Physical Therapy

Today is Senior Health and Fitness Day!  Many people may find exercise overwhelming.  It is hard to join a gym where everyone else seems to “know what they are doing” and you do not.  It is often hard to figure out where to start.  It is even more difficult when you have a history of pain, injury or medical condition that may prevent you from activity.  Fear of aggravating an old injury is common and often prohibits people from losing weight and becoming healthy.

“Have No Fear, TBTW Is Here!”

Physical therapy is a great way to begin your exercise program safely.  A skilled physical therapist can help you achieve your goals safely.  A physical therapist can design an exercise program to achieve your goals, maximize your results and allow you to lose weight without increasing old pains.

***THIS IS SO IMPORTANT THAT INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL PAY FOR THIS TRAINING!!***

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There are many different forms of exercise that a physical therapist can incorporate into your program to maximize the benefit and protect your body.  Some of these include:

  • Lumbar Stabilization: This is the form of training that pilates is based upon.  This allows trunk and abdominal strengthening without bending your back.  At all times the neutral spine position is maintained.  Progression to the next exercise generally depends on learning to maintain the neutral spine properly during the current exercise.  The physical therapist or exercise therapist is trained to help the patient learn the proper technique.  This is ideal for people with low back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, or arthritis/deformities of the spine and has a great success rate!
  • Pilates: This has become a very popular form of exercise.  This will increase core muscle strength and provide a lengthening effect of your muscles.  The weight of your body is used as a resistance.  It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing to relieve stress and allow adequate oxygen flow to muscles, developing a strong core or center and improving coordination and balance. It combines breathing techniques, static holds, and slight oscillations of limbs to increase stability.  It is a great way to burn calories and build strength without gaining bulk.  Great for athletes, dancers, and those with arthritis.
  • Yoga: Yoga has been practice for more than 5,000 years, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits.  This low impact exercise provides as much relaxation as it does strengthening.  Although it may not feel like you are “doing anything” during yoga, you will know you have worked up a sweat when you are finished.  It uses the body’s own weight as resistance.  One of the greatest benefits is each pose provides stretching, lengthening, and strengthening at one time…in multiple places!  It is ideal for people with arthritis, osteoporosis, osteopenia, or other bone disorders.  It is also a great choice during pregnancy.
  • Strength Training: Strength training keeps your muscles toned.  It can also build them up to increase muscle mass.  If practiced safely, weight training is a great way to build up strength and endurance.  Unlike aerobic training, resistance training helps build more muscle mass by creating small micro tears in the muscle.  New muscle grows back over the tears and the muscle becomes stronger.  This type of exercise is the most likely form of exercise to cause injury.  This should not be started without clearance from your physical therapist or doctor.
  • Aerobic Endurance Training: Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, which in turn increases your endurance.  It is also the best type of activity for burning calories and fat, and can help reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  This type of exercise requires proper functioning of the heart, lungs, and controlled medical issues such as diabetes.  Your physical therapist can determine whether this type of exercise is safe for your body.  The goal is to add aerobic training into your exercise program slowly and gradually.  Your physical therapist can help determine the appropriate level and type of aerobic training to incorporate into your exercise program.

Remember, the best way to begin any form of exercise is with the guidance of a trained professional. Whichever form of exercise you prefer, a skilled physical therapist can get you started on a safe and effective program.  For people with less complex medical history, an evaluation to develop your program and one follow up visit to ensure correct performance of the program is all that you may need.  For more intense pains or complex medical problems, you may want to more supervised visits to ensure you are progressing well.  Ultimately the goal is to have each person progress to performing their program independently, no matter how complex the situation.  Contact your physical therapist or doctor with any questions you may have about beginning your exercise program.

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Blogger: Dr. Sara S. Morrison, PT, DPT, CDT, FCE, CFT, Cert DN, Cert FMT

Don’t Fry Day!

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Each year, the Friday before Memorial Day is dubbed as “Don’t Fry Day” in order to encourage sun safety awareness.  This is especially important because many people head off to the beach for Memorial Day weekend.

What is Don’t Fry Day?

The purpose of Don’t Fry Day to is encourage people to stay safe when in the sun and remind them to protect their skin!  Skin cancer, caused by too much sun exposure, is the most common type of cancer in the United States.  Today is a day to remind people to enjoy outdoor activities, but to do it while using sun safety.

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Practicing Sun Safety

The following tips will help you practice sun safety and lower your risk of developing skin cancer:

  • Do Not Burn: Being overexposed to sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer
  • Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds:  UV light from tanning beds and sun causes skin cancer and premature wrinkling.  If you want to look tan, use a sunless tanner instead.
  • Cover up: Wear protective clothing, such as a sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses when possible.
  • Use Umbrellas/Take Advantage of Shade:  Look for shade when appropriate.  Take extra caution between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, those are when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
  • Apply Sunscreen:  Generously apply sunscreen to ALL exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30.  Make sure it provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.  Always reapply every 2 hours, even on cloudy days, especially after swimming or sweating.
  • Use Extra Caution When You Are Near Water, Snow, or Sand: Each of these can reflect the sun’s damaging rays, which increases the chance of you developing sunburn.
  • Get Vitamin D Safely: We all know that the sun supplies us with Vitamin D, but you should stick to safer options to get your needed dosage.  Getting vitamin D through your diet, including supplements and food fortified with vitamin D.  Do not rely on sun exposure or indoor tanning as a source.
  • Check the UV Index: Before you go outside it is important to check the UV index for the day.  This provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways which prevent too much sun exposure.

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So enjoy the sun this Memorial Day Weekend, but remember to stay safe to avoid UV damage to your skin!

For more information, check out National Council on Skin Care Prevention or American Cancer Society!

Stroke Awareness Month

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May is Stroke Awareness month, so we are on a mission to raise awareness of different types of strokes, as well as how to identify a stroke!  A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, which deprives the brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients, within minutes brain cells start to die.  A stroke is considered a brain attack and is considered a medical emergency.  Immediate treatment is vital, early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications.  The good news is that strokes can be treated and even prevented, with recent research and advancements over the past decade, many fewer Americans die of stroke now than 10 to 15 years ago.  There are 3 types of strokes: transient ischemic attack or TIA, ischemic attack, or hemorrhagic stroke.  Let’s review each in detail.

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When blood flow to the part of the brain stops for a short period of time, also called transient ischemic attack (TIA), it can mimic stroke like symptoms.  These symptoms appear and last less than 24 hours before disappearing.  While TIAs generally do not cause permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future and should not be ignored! 

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.  This causes blood not to reach the brain.  High blood pressure is the most important risk for this type of stroke.  Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes.  An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways, emoblic stroke or thrombotic stroke.

In an embolic stroke, a blood clot or plaque fragment forms somewhere in the body (usually the heart) and travels to the brain.  Once in the brain, the clot travels to a blood vessel small enough to block its passage.  The clot lodges there, blocking the blood vessel and causing a stroke.  About 15% of embolic strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation (Afib).  The medical word for this type of blood clot is embolus.

A thrombotic stroke is caused by a blood clot that forms inside one of the arteries supplying blood to the brain.  This type of stroke is usually seen in people with high cholesterol levels and narrowing arteries.  The medical word fro a clot that forms on a blood-vessel deposit is thrombus.

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Of the two types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic; a hemorrhagic stroke is the most severe and also the least common.  According to the National Stroke Association, “15% of all strokes are hemorrhagic, but they are responsible for 40% of all stroke deaths.”

A hemorrhagic stroke is either a brain aneurysm burst or a weakened blood vessel leak.  Blood spills into or around the brain and creates swelling and pressure, which causes damage to the brain cells and tissue.  There are two types of hemorrhagic stroke, called intracerebral and subarachnoid.

The most common type of hemorrhagic stroke is intracerebral hemorrhage, which happens when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts and leaks blood into surrounding brain tissue.  The bleeding causes brain cells to die and the affected part of the brain stops working correctly.  High blood pressure and aging blood vessels are the most common causes of this type of stroke.

Sometimes intracerebral stroke can be caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).  AVM is a genetic condition of abnormal connection between arteries and veins and most often occurs in the brain or spine.  If AVM occurs in the brain, vessels can break and bleed into the brain.  The cause of AVM is unclear but once diagnosed, it can be treated successfully.

The other hemorrhagic stroke is subarachnoid hemorrhagic stroke, which involves bleeding in the area between the brain and tissue covering the brain, known as the subarachnoid space.  This type of stroke is most often caused by a burst aneurysm.  Other causes include:  AVM, bleeding disorders, blood thinners, and head injury.

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How to Identify a Stroke (Signs/Symptoms) Provided by the National Stroke Association

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is the first step to ensuring medical help is received immediately.  For each minute a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain continues to be blocked, a person loses about 1.9 million neurons.  This could mean that a person’s speech, movement, memory, and so much more could be affected.

Learn as many stroke symptoms as possible so you can recognize a stroke FAST and save a life!

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Do You Know The Facts of Strokes?

Although the stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability, strokes may be preventable if you are aware of what to look for and know the facts.  Test how much you know about strokes.

FACT: Up to 80% of strokes are preventable

FACT: At any sign of stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Treatment may be available.

FACT: Stroke can happen to anyone at any time.

FACT: Stroke is a “brain attack”.

FACT: Stroke recovery is a lifelong process.

FACT: There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the US and stroke is the 5th leading cause of death.

FACT: Family history of stroke increases your chances for stroke.

FACT: Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIA).  They are warning signs prior to actual stroke and need to be taken seriously.

For more information on strokes, please review the National Stroke Association website or you may call the Stroke Help Line, at 1-800-STROKES (1-800-787-6537).

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Blogger: Amanda Jaynes, PTA, CDT

World Lupus Day

May 10th is known as World Lupus Day.  It was created and sponsored by the World Lupus Federation.  The day is meant to bring attention to lupus’s impact around the world.  It focuses on the need to improve the patient’s healthcare, increase research into causes and cures for lupus, being able to earlier diagnose lupus and better treatment options.

So…What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that can damage any part of one’s body, including the skin, joints, and/or organs.  It is labeled as chronic because it lasts more than 6 weeks, oftentimes it lasts for many years.  When a person has lupus, there is something wrong with his/her immune system.  In those without lupus, the immune system protects the body from foreign bacteria, viruses, etc.  The immune system does this by producing antibodies.  When a person has an autoimmune disorder, like lupus, their immune system cannot determine the difference between the body’s healthy cells and those foreign cells that it usually fights against.  The immune system starts to create antibodies which attack and even destroy healthy tissues within the body.  This attack can end up causing inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.

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Who Gets Lupus?

It is estimated that more than 5 million people worldwide are living with lupus.  It is known as a potentially fatal autoimmune disease, which can attack ANY part of one’s body.  It is found all over the world, among different ages, races, ethnicities, and genders.  Some groups do tend to develop lupus more frequently.  This is what makes lupus a global health issue, therefore World Lupus Day was created to raise awareness.

Symptoms of Lupus

  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Painful/Swollen Joints
  • Swelling in Feet, Legs, Hands, and/or around Eyes
  • Sun/Light Sensitivity
  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Pain in chest with deep breathing
  • Hair Loss
  • Abnormal Blood Clotting
  • Fingers turn white/blue when cold (Known as Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Mouth or nose ulcers

Different people with lupus have different symptoms associated with it.  It is important for your doctor to be made aware of your different symptoms so they can keep up with progression of the disease.

Treatment for Lupus

The key for successful treatment of lupus is finding a doctor who will coordinate your treatment based on your specific condition.  The right doctor will be able to treat your specific form of lupus, as all cases are different.

There are a wide variety of medications available to treat lupus and its symptoms.  Only a few have been labeled by the FDA as appropriate for treatment of lupus, but some are used to simply treat symptoms of lupus.

The goal of lupus treatment is pretty much the same across the board for all people diagnosed with lupus.  The goal is to reduce inflammation, suppress the overactive immune system, prevent flare-ups and treat them as they occur, control joint pain and fatigue, and minimize any damage to your organs.

It is important that you stay in communication with your doctor about any symptoms that you may be having.  Regular visits to your rheumatologist are important for your health.

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It is also vital for individuals who have been diagnosed with lupus to remember that they are not alone!  There are many support groups either online or actual live meetings that individuals can attend to talk to people who are in similar situations to them.  A diagnosis of lupus can be a tough pill to swallow, so it is nice that there is support for those individuals in this situation.

For more information about lupus, check out this sites:

Treatment for Lupus

World Lupus Day

Hurricane Safety Preparation

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May 7th through the 13th is National Hurricane Preparedness week.  In the spirit of this week, we wanted to discuss how to be prepared for a hurricane.  One key to being ready for a hurricane is preparing in advance.

Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit:

Basic Supplies Should Include:

  • Water – one gallon per person, per day
  • Food – nonperishable, easy to prepare items
  • Flashlights
  • Battery powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7 day supply)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Family & emergency contact information
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blankets
  • Maps of the area

Have a Household Evacuation Plan

Due to the unpredictable nature of hurricanes, it is necessary that you and your family prepare a household evacuation plan.  This plan should include what will happen with the entire family, including your pets.  Discussing this plan with your family will allow things to run more smoothly in the event of an emergency.

Keep important documents, insurance policies, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.  There may be a situation where you need quick, easy access to these documents.  Keeping them in a safe place allows them to be less likely to be damaged by a hurricane or flooding.

It is always beneficial to stay informed about the risks and response plans in the event of a coming hurricane.  Staying informed is one of the best ways to keep your family safe.

For more information on how to prepare your household for a hurricane, check out the Red Cross website!

 

Better Sleep Month

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Sleep…that one thing that we’re all trying to get a little bit more of.  That is on of the reasons why Better Sleep Month was created, to encourage people not only to get more sleep, but refreshing sleep.  May was deemed Better Sleep Month by the Better Sleep Council to raise awareness of the benefits of better sleep, as well as to bring attention to how inadequate sleep can affect one’s life.  Sleep is just as important to one’s physical, emotional, and mental health as their diet and exercise.

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Consequences of Getting Poor Sleep

Getting poor sleep can have drastic consequences, including a reduced ability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, stress, and even a weakened immune system.  With an increase in stress, the body can release extra stress hormones, which make it even more difficult to sleep!  This creates a very unhealthy sleep cycle for the individual and ends in even more lost sleep.

What Causes Poor Sleep?

Stress is a huge cause of losing sleep in adults.  Worry about family conflicts, personal relationships, schedules, your children, and even financial concerns can be a reason for lost sleep.

There are also many physical factors that play a role in preventing a person from getting adequate sleep.  Many of these may include: pain, excessive sweating, noise, needing to urinate etc.  All of these can prevent a person from getting a restful night’s sleep.

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How much Sleep Is Enough?

Although experts often say that 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night is optimal, many are now arguing that quality of sleep is much more important that quantity.  A good way to remember this is that getting better sleep is considered to be more quality sleep.  A person who is getting only 6.5 hours of refreshing sleep per night is getting sleep more beneficial than someone getting 8 hours of lighter, interrupted sleep.

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How Can I Get Better Sleep?

Often, it is easy to make small lifestyle adjustments to get better sleep.  The purpose of Better Sleep Month is to get people to evaluate their habits and see if any of these habits are causing them to get less than adequate amounts of sleep.

The following suggestions may help you achieve more quality sleep:

  • Develop a sleep ritual
    • This means doing the same routine every night before bed
  • Unwind early in the evening so that worries and stress do not keep you from getting a good night’s rest
  • Avoid eating right before bed to avoid acid reflux at night
  • Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine late in the day
  • Create a restful sleep environment
    • sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room
    • Keep all electronics, including phones, out of the bedroom
  • Avoid alcohol at least 4 hours before sleep
    • Alcohol first makes you sleep, but then it is a stimulant, so it can keep you up at night

Try making these changes for Better Sleep Month and see if you find yourself resting more peacefully and waking up more easily!  And let us know how your sleep changes go!  Here’s to more restful sleep for everyone!

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**If you adjust your sleeping habits and are sleeping enough and still find that you are tired during the day, talk to your doctor, as you may have a medical condition that is interfering with your sleep.

 

For More Information on Better Sleep Month…

Better Sleep Month

Better Sleep Council

Swinging into Golf Month

 

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May is considered to be National Golf Month!  In honor of this wonderful month, we would like to highlight Total Body Therapy’s very own golf program!  We are proud to announce that we have our very own TPI certified therapist, Andie Cahoon!  Andie attended a Titleist Performance Institute Level 1 Program and became certified.

To help celebrate National Golf Month, we sat down with Andie to talk to her about golf and why she wanted to start a golf program at TBTW.

Q: Andie, how did you get into golf?

A: My Grandfather attempted to teach me how to play when I was a teenager, but I wasn’t interested.  I was more intrigued with “contact” and “action” sports.  To be honest with you, I thought golf was boring when I was younger.  Throughout my educational experience, I became more knowledgeable of body mechanics, kinematics, and athletic movements.  For an assignment, I analyzed the swing of a golfer, breaking down every movement at every joint, and I was fascinated with how much power, coordination, balance, and flexibility it takes to hith tiny balls with tiny club heads really, really far.  So I started to get back into playing golf to challenge myself to swing better, hit farther, and to score lower.

Q: What is your favorite club to use?

A: I love to use my driver.  I love the feeling of hitting a golf ball long distance.

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Q: Why did you start a Golf Program at Total Body Therapy & Wellness?

A: I started a golf conditioning and training program to help adult amateur and experienced golfers of all ages improve their golf swing.  In no way am I trying to coach, teach, or improve someone’s golf game (I’ll leave that to the golf professionals), but my job would be to connect physical body limitations which may result in faulty or inconsistent golf swings.  I recently became level 1 certified from the Titleist Performance Institute.  They believe there are multiple ways to swing a golf club, but it’s most important to fit a swing to the golfer’s body.  I hope to help golfers improve swing power by focusing on proper alignment and body mechanics, while preventing injury, in order to return to playing the sport they love!

So take this time to get out and get golfing this May!  And if you need help with improving your golf swing, come see Andie at TBTW!  Call us for more information at (910) 893-2850!

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World Immunization Week

April 24th through April 30 is known as World Immunization Week.  The purpose of this week is to promote use of vaccines in order to protect individuals of all ages against diseases.  Immunizations save millions of lives and are seen as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.  The problem is, even though vaccinations are so widespread, there are still 19.4 million unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in the world.  We wanted to discuss childhood vaccinations and how they can help your infant in honor of World Immunization Week.

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There comes a time where new parents will have to decide whether or not to vaccinate their baby.  It can be an overwhelming decision, as there are a lot of concerns with the different kinds of vaccinations and their side effects.  One main concern that is still widely discussed is if vaccinations can cause autism.

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Do Vaccinations Cause Autism?

According to the Developmental Disabilities Institute, there is not one ultimate reason as to why there is a rise in autism diagnosis.  Nevertheless, there has been an increased awareness on the topic, therefore it is becoming more recognized by doctors and parents.  With the environment/society changes this can also play role.  Research has also shown that certain genetic changes/mutations are linked to developing autism. With all the research that has been conducted, there is NO evidence that getting your child vaccinated will cause autism.

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How Do Vaccinations Help Your Infant?

When bacteria or viruses invade our body, they multiple and attack, causing us to feel ill.  Your immune system will step in to attack and kill the infection.  Your immune system will then make antibodies.  Antibodies are responsible for recognizing bacteria and viruses, that once invaded your body, and killing them before they make you ill.  Vaccinations help the immune system by creating a “false attack” to the body.  This “false attack” still activates the immune system to respond and create antibodies forever remembering how to defeat it if attacked again by the real deal.  For example, when your infant receives the Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine they are being injected with the dead chickenpox virus to trigger an immune response.  With the chickenpox virus already dead, this will NOT cause a chickenpox illness.

Many of us take medication every day that was prescribed by our doctor and just like medication, each vaccination may have possible side effects.  The side effects, if experienced are usually minor and rarely will people experience severe side effects.  Minor side effects can be skin irritation at the injection site, fatigue, low grade fever, etc. The serious side effects which, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, are rare and can range from having an allergic reaction, severe stomach pain, rashes, seizures, organ failure, etc.  The CDC states the benefits of getting vaccinated out-weigh the risk of side effects.  By not vaccinating your child, you are only putting your child at risk for contracting a potentially fatal disease but the other children that come into contact with your child are also potentially at risk as well.

With that being said, there are some groups of people that should not get certain vaccinations.  This information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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Deciding whether or not to vaccinate your child is ultimately up to you.  Always consult with your doctor about the different vaccines that your child may need as he/she has your child’s best interest in mind.

References

For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children

Developmental Disabilities Institute: Autism Facts BCBA-D, Ph.D

Autism Speaks: Diagnosis, Causes, & Symptoms

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Possible Side-effects from Vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated

Blogger: Christina Williams, PTA

Sensory Integration and Autism

Individuals who have been diagnosed with autism, as well as other developmental disabilities, may have what is known as a dysfunctional sensory system. This can mean that one or more of an individual’s sense are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation. These individuals would be considered to have a sensory processing disorder.

What is a Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory processing is known as the brains ability to process the different sensations being received at a given time.  Proper sensory processing is imperative for the development of motor, social, and behavioral skills.  When this information is not organized properly in the brain, a sort of neurological “traffic jam” occurs.  An individual experiencing this would be suffering from a Sensory Processing Disorder.  Studies have reported that nearly 1 in 20 children are affected by SPD.

Individuals Presenting with Sensory Processing Disorders May Present With:

  • A decreased attention span
  • Frequent tantrums and irritability
  • Decreased and inappropriate social skills
  • Decreased balance and increased clumsiness
  • Self stimulation behaviors
  • Difficulty remaining alert or calm

Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorders

Treatment for this disorder is usually laid out by a occupational or physical therapist.  General goals for the therapist are:

  • Providing the child with sensory information which helps organize the central nervous system
  • Assisting the child in inhibiting and/or modulating sensory information
  • Assisting the child in processing a more organized response to sensory stimuli

Specifically, physical therapy helps to address abnormal sensory integration with a sensory diet, which includes the appropriate amount of sensory stimulation to help the child function in their environment.  At TBTW, we have a sensory rich pediatric treatment room that includes multiple swings, ball pits, and other sensory stimulating activities.  Child directed therapy keeps the child engaged with therapeutic activities and provides the most benefit for the child.  Our goal is to improve social interaction, self esteem, self regulation and motor skills.  If your child has a sensory processing disorder, contact your physical therapist today to learn more!