Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Dangers of Lead Toxicity

EPA Info Graphic

The use of lead paint has been banned for many years, and the Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 banned the sale of leaded gasoline. But lead continues to exist as a toxic hazard in the environment.

Lead is a naturally-occurring element which has been employed in mining, manufacturing, fossil fuels, and the production of batteries, ammunition, metal products like solder and pipes, paint, ceramics, caulking, crystal, stained glass, and x-ray shields.

Lead is NOT biodegradable. It clings to soil particles and can be found in air and water.

Lead is considered a Group 2B toxic substance, which means it has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

In adults, lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and reproductive system.

Lead's greatest threat, however, is to children. Premature births, low birth weight, learning disabilities, anemia, stomach ache, muscle weakness, brain damage, low I.Q., and growth retardation have all been associated with high blood levels of lead.

The CDC recommended in 1991 that all children between the ages of 9 and 72 months be screened for lead poisoning.

In Arizona, laboratories and healthcare providers are required to report cases of lead toxicity to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).

If you live or work in a structure built before 1960, chances are good that it was painted with lead-based paint. According to ADHS statistics, approximately 13-26% of buildings built in the older populated areas of Mohave County were built prior to 1960.

The ADHS has also compiled a list of zip codes which are considered high risk areas for lead poisoning. Oatman, Yucca, and Valentine are the targeted high-risk areas in Mohave County.

The ADHS recommends that children in high-risk areas be screened at 12 and 24 months of age. Children between the ages of 36 and 72 months should also be screened if they have never been tested. 

Feeding children a diet rich in calcium and iron can help reduce their risk of developing lead-related health problems.

Dawn Pisturino
March 3, 2007
Copyright 2007-2019 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Walking Meditation

Walking meditation began when the Buddha traveled on foot around Northern India disseminating his message.

Its purpose is to discipline the mind, improve concentration skills, and develop a deeper level of body awareness.

Walking meditation can be performed either indoors or outdoors, with or without shoes and socks. You can walk along a favorite path, around in a circle, or simply back and forth.

Stand quietly in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and your arms at your sides. Do a mental scan of the entire body. Working slowly from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, make a mental note of any sensations, tension, pain, and fatigue. Feel the earth beneath your feet. Breathe deeply and relax.

Slowly shift your weight to your left foot, focusing your complete attention on the movement of the body and the sensations in your feet and legs. Then slowly shift your weight to the right foot, repeating the process.

Gradually shift your weight back to the center and ground yourself in the earth. Then carefully begin to lift the heel of your left foot, focusing all of your attention on the feel of that movement. Lift the left foot and take a small step forward, feeling the leg move through the air, and place it on the ground.

Be fully aware of the contact between your foot and the earth. Feel the pressure and weight. Feel the touch of your shoe against the sole of your foot or the feeling of the ground against your bare skin. Note the sensations. Do you feel itching, tickling, or pain? Does it feel pleasant or unpleasant? Do the muscles feel tense or relaxed? Does your leg feel heavy or light?

Repeat with the right foot, then come back to center and begin the exercise with your left foot all over again. Practice for at least 15 minutes.

When you are going about your daily activities, apply this exercise to whatever you are doing. For example, while washing the dishes after dinner, feel the warmth of the water, notice how your hands turn red, smell the dish soap, play with the bubbles, be aware of the circular motions involved in washing a plate or drying a glass. Feel the roughness of the dish cloth against your skin.

This is mindful living -- being fully aware of the present moment and fully experiencing every second of your life.

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH, RN
April 21, 2007

Copyright 2007-2019 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Laughter is the Best Medicine

A man took his wife to the doctor. After a short examination the doctor said, "Your wife's mind is completely gone!" To which the man replied, "I'm not surprised. She's been giving me a piece of it every day for the past 25 years!"

We all know that laughing feels good, but researchers are now confirming that laughter is good for us.

A study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that laughter can actually relax arteries and increase blood flow.

Laughter is good aerobic exercise.  It increases the heart rate, improves our ability to use oxygen, helps clear the lungs, and lowers blood pressure.

When we laugh, our muscles relax and tension is released. The production of stress hormones is reduced, and we feel a greater sense of control over our situation.

Humor and laughter have been shown to reduce anxiety and pain and to enhance the immune system.

Laughing makes us feel good because it stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, natural substances which give us a feeling of euphoria.

Laughter is a form of communication which strengthens our bonds with other people, makes us feel younger, and gives us more energy.

Humor is a form of creative expression which helps us to cope with life's problems and allows us to comment on the human condition.

Laughter therapy is now being utilized by healthcare and mental health professionals to promote more positive outcomes in patients. Corporations have discovered that humor programs are an effective way to reduce stress in the workplace.

The next time you're feeling depressed or stressed, give yourself a little laughter therapy! Watch a funny movie, TV show, or favorite comedian. Pick up a joke book. Hang out with someone with a good sense of humor. Play with your kids. Do something silly and fun. Memorize your own jokes and tell them to everyone you meet. Throw an impromptu party.

As Thomas Edison once advised, "When down in the mouth, remember Jonah. He came out okay."

Dawn Pisturino
April 2, 2007

Copyright 2007-2019 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.