April 2008 News Tips

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.

Children’s feet grow fast, so check them often to head off problems

It’s no secret that children’s feet grow rapidly. Parents should check their youngster’s shoes every few weeks to ensure there is adequate space to expand.

“The wrong shoe size can cause foot problems,” says Dr. Philip Wilson, an orthopaedic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Parents should check the fit of a child’s shoe when the child is standing and pay particular attention to the front of shoes. There should be one-half the length of an adult’s thumbnail between the tips of the toes and the front of the shoes.”

Dr. Wilson also recommends that shoes be wide enough so they don’t cramp the child’s toes from side to side. Shoes are unnecessary for infants except in cold weather or if the child has started walking and is on a hazardous surface.  

“When shoes become necessary, parents should purchase inexpensive, well-ventilated soft shoes with flexible, soft soles,” Dr. Wilson suggests.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/pediatrics to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in pediatrics.

Contact: Erin Prather Stafford

April is Foot Health Awareness Month

Exercise may reduce risk of developing breast cancer

Exercise not only keeps you fit — it also could reduce your chances of developing breast cancer.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center speculate that a regular routine of brisk walking, swimming or bicycling may protect against breast cancer by lowering estrogen levels. They believe that estrogen may deactivate genes in breast tissue that suppress breast-cancer development. When estrogen silences these so-called tumor-suppressor genes by a process called methylation, which is reversible, the risk for breast cancer increases.

“So many of the risk factors for breast cancer cannot be modified, such as being a woman, getting older or having a family history,” says Dr. Yvonne Coyle, a physician who researches the epidemiology of cancer. “However, physical activity may be a modifiable risk factor allowing for breast cancer risk reduction.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/cancercenter to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto

April is Cancer Control Month

Options abound to manage irritable bowel syndrome

Embarrassed by frequent abdominal cramping, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation? Relax, you are not the only one with those symptoms. The problem could be irritable bowel syndrome, which affects as many as 20 percent of adults in the U.S.

“You don’t have to suffer from abdomen discomfort in silence,” says Dr. Prabhakar Swaroop, a gastroenterologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Your doctor has probably heard what you have to say before.”

Though there is no cure, irritable bowel syndrome can be controlled in a variety of ways, including: eating smaller, more frequent meals; adding fiber to a diet; managing stress; taking medication; and exercising.

“A person doesn’t have to miss another day of work or a social outing because of a manageable condition,” Dr. Swaroop says.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/digestive to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in digestive disorders.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month

Patient-doctor cooperation eases blood-pressure treatment

Of the more than 32 million adults in America taking medication for high blood pressure, only half successfully keep up with the sometimes complex regimens. Dr. Joseph Ravenell, an internist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has some tips for keeping hypertension regimes manageable and more cost-effective.

“Never hesitate to ask your doctor,” he says. “If cost or side effects is the reason for not taking your medications, let your doctor know. There are more than 100 medications to treat hypertension. By working together, you and your doctor can find something that is both tolerable and affordable.”

Other tips from Dr. Ravenell include:

  • Take medication at the same time each day;
  • Keep medications visible, on the kitchen table or on the nightstand next to the bed. Hiding them away in the medicine cabinet makes them easy to forget;
  • Use a daily pill organizer. These small plastic organizers are provided by many pharmacies for free;
  • Ask your doctor if your pill count can be reduced by combining medicines. There are many single pills that combine two different antihypertensive medicines;
  • Enlist the support of your family: tell your spouse or significant other your medication schedule so he/she can help you remember; and
  • Add your medication schedule to your PDA calendar or set an alarm for when your medication is due to be taken.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/primarycare to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in primary care.

Media Contact: Katherine Morales


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