Williams Icare Blog

How to Identify Gluten Intolerance Symptoms

Gluten intolerance is gaining importance and attention. This is a health condition that affects more people than most realize. It may be the source behind various ongoing health and weight related conditions that have gone unchecked. There are a few things about gluten intolerance that you need to understand, including symptoms, before making the necessary dietary changes that will improve your health.

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Topics: Allergies, Diet, Food

July is National Blueberry Month: 7 Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries are often referred to as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Several studies have been conducted on this super-food and results show that the high level of antioxidants benefits the body in many ways. The following list shows seven health benefits of blueberries.


1. High Level of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes found in some healthy foods that counteract the damaging effects of free radical damage to the cellular structure in the body. In layman’s terms, they fight things like environmental damage and damage caused by lifestyle choices to keep us healthy and strong. Blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants found in foods. This means they help ward off infection and diseases such as cancer, and even improve brain function and much, much more. 

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Topics: Diet, Food

6 Summer Safety Tips for Kids Fun & Your Peace of Mind

Summer is full of opportunities to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors. However, it is also a time when many accidents happen, so it’s important to use safe practices when working or playing in the summer weather. The following summer safety tips for kids will help ensure your child has a fun, yet safe, summer season.


1. Use Safety Equipment at all Times

Whether your child is riding a bike or swimming in the lake, it is important to use helmets or life jackets at all times. You never know when something might happen and being protected ahead of time will help avoid injury or even death. 

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Topics: Child Health Care, Safety, Food

Properly Prepare Your Body with these 8 Marathon Training Tips

Preparing your body and mind for a marathon is an arduous task.  However, it’s made much easier with proper planning and a solid schedule.  While you may think that you just need to get up and start running everyday to train, here are eight very important marathon training tips to follow as you aim for the finish line.

Tip 1:  Visit a Doctor for a Physical

It is always a smart idea to make a visit to a trusted doctor for a thorough physical.  Be sure your doctor understands the stresses your body will go through before and during a marathon.  Getting the “all clear” from your physician will ensure that your training and execution of the marathon is within your body’s ability.

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Topics: Sports Healthcare, Exercise

Alzheimer's: If You Have a Brain, You’re At Risk

Did you know that over 88,000 Minnesotans and nearly 5.1 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s? That means every 67 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this brain disease affects memory, thinking and reasoning skills and is a progressive disease.  A progressive disease continually develops over the span of one’s life, and gets worse over time.

24% of all Americans believe they are only at risk for Alzheimer’s if it runs in their family; they are mistaken.  If you have a brain – whether you’re female, male, or if it is in your family history – you are at risk, it’s that simple. In fact, less than 1% of people living with the disease have inherited it. Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, and can evolve at different rates for different people, it is important to begin to recognize the symptoms as soon as possible.


SYMPTOMS

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Topics: Family Practice, Psychological Health

Find a Balance: Vegetable Serving Size vs. Fruit Serving Size

During the month of June, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) works extra hard to promote the importance of fruits and vegetables within our diet, at every age. The USDA has even created the ‘color challenge’. This nutritional challenge includes having at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day – and with a variety of color. Typically, the richer the color of your fruits and veggies, the more nutrients you’ll get.

The key here is finding a balance – it isn’t healthy to eat ALL fruits, or ALL vegetables (or ALL anything for that matter). Below you’ll find recommended serving sizes for all members of the family, as well as explanations for why incorporating fruit and veggies is important. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF FRUITS & VEGGIES

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Topics: Child Health Care, Diet, Food

Sun Safety Week: 10 Tips for Preventing Damage

Summer is finally here and boy, are we welcoming the warmer weather with open arms. While we encourage you to get out and make the most of the sunny weather, it’s important to take some precautionary steps in protecting your body from the potential damage of ultraviolet (UV) rays. The American Cancer Society suggests the “Slip! Slop! Slap! Wrap!” rule – “Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a Hat, Wrap on sunglasses”. In spirit of National Sun Safety Week, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of our own tips for protecting yourself against sun damage.

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Topics: Child Health Care, Safety, Men's Health, Women's Health

4 Necessary Steps for Reducing Risk of Men's Health Issues

At every stage of life, women are healthier than men – it’s that simple. On average, men will die up to five years earlier than women; they lead in all of the top 15 causes of death besides Alzheimer’s, and see physicians far less often than women do.

June officially became Men’s Health Month in May of 1994. Since then, this educational and congressionally supported program’s efforts have continued to raise awareness across the country. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

The health of our patients and community is always a priority at Williams Integracare, and Men’s Health, while sometimes more difficult to talk about, is certainly no exception. Read on to learn 4 steps to reduce the risk of potential men’s health issues.


#1: LEARN YOUR FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY

Your health is strongly related to the health of the generations before you. Family history is one of the most powerful tools you can use to equip yourself when it comes to fully understanding your health. It is a good idea to have some sort of record of your family health history for you (and your doctor’s!) reference.

It may be a tricky subject to bring up to your parents, grandparents and relatives, but the sooner you ask, the better. If you’re able to gather information from a variety of family members you’ll be able to get a better idea of what health issues you may be at risk for. You can begin to be proactive in fighting any illness or disease that runs in your family by learning the history, the causes and prevention methods.

The more openly you talk about health issues, the better off your whole family is. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but you and your family (both older and younger) will feel better having discussed it – and improve your likelihood of improved health and disease prevention.


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Topics: Family Practice, Diet, Men's Health

Stop Over Medicating: Side Effects of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. They are used to treat bacterial and parasitic infections – and to great effect. Some of the most common antibiotics include Avelox (moxifloxacin), Lavaquin (levofloxacin) and Cipro (ciprofloxacin).


ANTIBIOTIC USE AND OVERUSE

Antibiotics should be used to treat infections caused by bacteria and some parasites – and that is it! In some cases it isn’t a bad idea to let milder illnesses run their course so your body can build up germ fighting capabilities. In today’s world, antibiotics are overly or inappropriately prescribed too often – largely because they are simple to prescribe and to take. Little effort is required on the practitioner’s behalf or the patients.

Antibiotic overuse can lead to bacterial resistance. Overuse practices create bacteria that are harder to kill – by your body or by antibiotics. Nemours’ Kids Health website states this:

Antibiotic resistance is a widespread problem, and one that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls "one of the world's most pressing public health problems." Bacteria that were once highly responsive to antibiotics have become increasingly resistant. Among those that are becoming harder to treat are pneumococcal infections (which cause pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis), skin infections, and tuberculosis.

Although antibiotics can be used very effectively to treat specific infections, their overuse can lead to major problems. If you or your child is prescribed an antibiotic by your physician, make sure you use them as prescribed. Not taking the entire dosage, taking the wrong amount of dosage or using old or outdated antibiotics is very dangerous. You run the risk of not curing your existing condition as well as developing other nuances that cause health problems

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Topics: Family Practice, Medication

The Dangers that Exist with Arsenic and Rice Products

Rice has been a staple in diets for centuries. According to Lundberg Family Farms, rice feeds more than half of our world’s population. We use it in stir fries, soups and burritos, on salads and baked into puddings, cakes and more. Its uses are many and we get energy and satisfaction from eating it. So the question is, are we at risk of arsenic poisoning because we consume rice and rice products?

Arsenic is a semi-metallic element that is colorless and tasteless. It is more commonly known to exist in our drinking water. The FDA actually has a safety limit set for water, and they are now considering whether or not to set one for rice as well.

Arsenic is carcinogenic. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, arsenic in any form has been linked to bladder, kidney, liver, skin and lung cancer. It may also contribute to prostate cancer. Outside of the various cancers, exposure to arsenic is believed to affect proper and healthy development, plus it has also been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and negative effects on the male reproductive system.

THE PROBLEM WITH RICE

The way rice absorbs and stores its nutrients lends poorly to its consumption and health benefits. In a New York Times article titled, The Trouble with Rice,

“The issue with the rice plant is that it tends to store the arsenic in the grain, rather than in the leaves or elsewhere,” said Jody Banks, a plant biologist at Purdue University, who studies arsenic uptake in plants. “It moves there quite easily.”


This is also why brown rice is believed to be worse for you, in terms of arsenic levels. Consumer Reports found that brown rice from some brands has more arsenic than white rice. Brown rice, considered very healthy, includes the outer layer of the grain and this is where some of the chemical is stored. For this reason, polished white rice was found to have less arsenic in comparison to brown rice.

The levels of arsenic in rice vary based on where it is grown. It is no longer permitted to be used as in fertilizers or as a pesticide, but it still lives in the soil due to its uses in the past. Plus, it exists naturally in our environment. Consumer reports state that, “White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account for 76 percent of domestic rice, generally had higher levels of total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in our tests than rice samples from elsewhere.” If you buy a rice that is imported, or from another area of the US, your rice is more likely to have lower arsenic levels.


CONSUMPTION RECOMMENDATIONS

The grain that we cook in water until soft is not the only rice product holding arsenic that we consume. Rice cereal, often the first solid food fed to infants, as well as rice cakes, rice drinks, rice pasta, rice crackers and ready-to-eat cereal can contain levels of arsenic.

It is advised to diversify and eat other grains such as oats, wheat cereals, corn grits or polenta, barley, and quinoa. Rice and rice products don’t need to be cut out completely, but they should be limited. Consumer Reports recommends that parents feed babies only one serving of rice cereal per day. Oatmeal, wheat and other infant cereals contain lower or no concentrations of arsenic, according to the magazine's study, and are therefore a good alternative.


MONITORING THE CROP

Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring the crop in different states to determine the levels of arsenic in rice. The Rice Federation supplies samples for the labs to check. In addition, many growers are conducting their own analysis of their crops.

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Topics: Diet, Healthy Recipes, Food