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DECEMBER 7, 2015

Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition in E. Ky. helps counties take charge of this disease that affects 15.2 percent of the area's population

The Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition in Eastern Kentucky works to help the communities it serves take responsibility for ensuring quality systems of diabetes prevention and care are accessible and utilized by its citizens, according to an article in the Appalachian Translational Research Network's fall newsletter.

"We believe that if there is a problem in the community, the solution is also in the community," says the article.

This coalition serves the Big Sandy Area Development District, which includes Magoffin, Johnson, Floyd, Martin and Pike counties. Its goal is to decrease the incidence, morbidity and mortality of diabetes in these counties.

Toward these goals, the coalition held health fairs throughout the fall that offered diabetes screening and outreach programs. The fairs were a community effort, involving local hospitals, health departments, universities, colleges and Medicaid managed-care organizations.

Diabetes is more prevalent in Eastern Kentucky than in any other area of the state. It is the leading cause of amputations, blindness and kidney failure, which often leads to dialysis. It is predicted that the total cost of diabetes in Kentucky for 2015 is estimated to be $5.6 billion, according to the Kentucky Diabetes Data and Forecasts, says the article.

The area served by the Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition has a rate of 15.2 percent, compared to 10.6 percent statewide. Overall, Kentucky's Appalachian diabetes rate is 13.6 percent, according to the 2015 Kentucky Diabetes Report.

The BSDC meets bi-monthly the last Thursday of the month and is open to anyone interested in joining the group. For meeting information, please contact Brittany Martin, at 606 886-8546 ext. 1109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted by Melissa Patrick at 2:56 PM

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

NOVEMBER 30, 2015

Pat Machir, Sr. Community Outreach Worker for the Lawrence County Health Department recently attended a training to become a facilitator for the "Freedom From Smoking" tobacco cessation program, sponsored by the American Lung Association. The Health Department plans to begin a "Freedom From Smoking" class for interested Lawrence Countians after the first of the year. The following article, which was taken from the ALA's website, describes the program.

About Freedom From Smoking

The American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® (FFS) program is for adults who are ready to quit smoking. Because most people know that smoking is dangerous to their health, the program focuses almost exclusively on how to quit, not why to quit.

How The Program Works

The Freedom From Smoking® group clinic consists of eight sessions. It is delivered by a Lung Association-trained facilitator in a small-group setting (usually eight to 10 people), so participants receive personalized attention. At the same time, individuals benefit from the support of their peers, who are going through the same stages at the same time. The curriculum includes the latest research about nicotine replacement therapy and other smoking cessation medications.

Each clinic session uses techniques based on pharmacological and psychological principles and methods designed to help smokers gain control over their behavior. Because no single cessation technique is effective for all smokers, the program includes a comprehensive variety of evidence-based cessation techniques.
Program materials are available in English and Spanish.

The Freedom From Smoking® self-help manual complements Freedom From Smoking® group clinic lessons. It provides smokers with additional reinforcement, motivation and information they need to quit. The workbook format gets smokers involved as they customize the book for their own reasons and motivations to quit, thus making it more effective.
Why Use Freedom From Smoking

Since it was first introduced over 30 years ago, the American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program has helped over a million Americans end their addiction to nicotine and begin new smokefree lives. Freedom From Smoking® was ranked the most effective smoking cessation program in a study by Fordham University Graduate School of Business.

Freedom From Smoking® is based on proven addiction and behavior change models. The program offers a structured, systematic approach to quitting. Its positive messaging emphasizes the benefits of better health. Because no single cessation technique is effective for all smokers, the program includes a comprehensive variety of evidence-based cessation techniques.

Evaluation studies have shown that individuals who participate in Freedom From Smoking®:

* Experience immediate health benefits

* Learn to address the physical, mental and social aspects of their addiction.

* Are six times more likely to be smokefree one year later than those who quit on their own.

* When used in combination with smoking cessation medication, up to 60 percent of participants report having quit smoking by the end of the program.

The benefits of providing the Freedom From Smoking® program at your workplace include:

  • Reduced long-term smoking-related illness, disability and associated costs.
  • Decreased absenteeism.
  • Access to the knowledge and support of the American Lung Association.

For questions regarding this program or for further information about the class, please call the Health Department at (606) 638-4389, extension 58, and speak with Pat. The class time and other information will be forthcoming shortly. > Stop Smoking > Join Freedom From Smoking

NOVEMBER 20, 2015

Steady control of your glucose levels is the best way to maintain good oral health when you have diabetes.

Diabetes can cause a variety of other health problems, ranging from cardiovascular disease to nerve damage. Many people with diabetes don't know that they are also susceptible to gum disease that, if left untreated, can lead to a loss of teeth. What’s more, advanced gum disease can also cause diabetes to progress due to its negative effect on your blood glucose control.

Diabetes and Dental Problems

Diabetes increases your risk of developing dental issues, specifically early gum disease, known as gingivitis, and advanced gum disease, called periodontitis. Poor control of blood glucose levels means that your body isn't able to fight off bacteria that invade your gums, causing infections that can lead to the loss of teeth. Another oral problem caused by diabetes is dry mouth, which sounds like a minor issue, but can lead to cavities.

Because of this relationship between diabetes and your teeth, it's important to tell your dental hygienist and your dentist that you have diabetes and about any medications you take. If you find that your blood sugar is out of control when it's time for a dental appointment, postpone the visit unless it's an emergency.

Signs of Gum Disease

Be aware of the symptoms of gum disease — signals that your teeth are in danger:

  • Gums bleed, especially when you floss or brush.
  • Pus oozes from your gums or between your teeth.
  • Gums are swollen, red, or tender.
  • There is a change in how your teeth fit together; bridges and partial dentures don't seem to fit correctly.
  • You seem to have bad breath all of the time.
  • Your gums appear to have pulled away from your teeth or your teeth look longer.
  • Your teeth become loose.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your dentist.

How to Avoid Dental Problems


The first and most important step to prevent problems with your teeth and gums is to maintain your target blood glucose level consistently. Next, take these steps:

  • Brush after every time you eat, using a soft toothbrush. Be sure to gently brush your gum line, too.
  • Don't delay dental work if needed.
  • Floss every day to avoid a buildup of plaque, which solidifies and grows under your gums to cause infections.
  • Have a dental check-up and cleaning at least twice a year.
  • If you have partial dentures, be sure to clean them daily.
  • If you notice any problem with your teeth or gums, make a dentist appointment immediately.
  • If you smoke, quit.

Finally, it's important for those with diabetes to plan carefully for dental work. Talk with both your doctor and dentist before a visit because they might adjust your medicine. If you need dental work, you may have difficulty eating afterwards and you should seek guidance on changing your medications, how often to check your blood glucose, and what to eat and drink.

With good planning, you can maintain a healthy mouth while at the same time managing your diabetes to keep your blood sugar level on target.


Talking to teens about sex makes them (especially girls) have safer behavior, here's expert advice on how to talk about it

As uncomfortable as it may be to talk about safe sex with a teenager, it can have a positive impact, especially for girls, according to a new study published in the Pediatric Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Sexual communication with parents, particularly mothers, plays a small protective role in safer sex behavior among adolescents; this protective effect is more pronounced for girls than boys," says the study report.

"Sexual communication with parents, particularly mothers, plays a small protective role in safer sex behavior among adolescentsThe study examined the link between parent-adolescent communication about sex and safer sex practices among youth. It analyzed 52 studies on the topic from more than 30 years of data and included more than 25,000 adolescents.

"Our results confirm that, across more than 50 studies, parent-adolescent sexual communication is positively associated with adolescents' use of contraceptives and condoms regardless of communication topic or format," says the report.

It is a message many Kentucky teens need to hear.

According to the 2013 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 44.7 percent of Kentucky's students have had sex at least once, and almost one-third (31.7 percent) of them are sexually active. Almost half of them (46.9 percent) did not use a condom during their last sexual intercourse and 15.1 percent of them did not use any method to prevent pregnancy. And while Kentucky's teen pregnancy rate is at an all time low of 39.5 per 1,000 girls between 15 and 19, it's still much higher than the national rate of 26.6 per 1,000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for about half of all new cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. each year, says the CDC.

Despite the risk of disease and pregnancy, nearly one-fourth of youth report that they have not discussed sexual topics with their parents, and even fewer report they have meaningful, open conversations with them about this subject, the study found.

The study attributes this poor communication to parental embarrassment, parents' lack of accurate knowledge of the subject, and poor self-efficacy. It suggest physicians and other health care professionals should encourage these discussions and encourages parents to seek formal instruction on how to discuss safe sex practices with their children.

CBS News asked several experts for some do's and dont's to help parents talk about sex with their teens.

Dr. Anna-Barbara Moscicki, chief of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and professor of pediatrics at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, told CBS that parents should start talking about sex early "so it's never awkward." She said parents should answer all their children's questions about sex, but "keep it age-appropriate." She reassured parents that "talking about sex does not make your kid want to have sex."

Moscicki also advised that you should never confront a teen with questions such as, "Are you having sex? Are you using condoms?" Instead, she says you should be a resource and ask, "Do you know where to get condoms or get birth control?"

Dr. Leslie Walker, division chief of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital, told CBS that "parents need to be informed before they talk with their kids about sex," including accurate information about modern and efficient methods of birth control than weren't available when they were younger.

She said parents should not be afraid to share their family values and that talking about safe sex should not be a "one time chat," but instead an ongoing conversation.

Walker also said that parents need to push through the awkwardness of the conversation and not be judgmental or punitive, which she said will allow teens to know they can rely on their parents for help if something were to happen, like an unplanned pregnancy or a sexual assault.

"Don't shut kids down," Walker told CBS. "Don't shut down the lines of communication, like saying, 'If you ever do this, then you're out of the house.'"

Both experts agreed that parents shouldn't overshare. Walker said, "Kids don't want to know about their parents' sex life, or what happened to you when you were a teen." But they might if you lecture them about their behavior and make them defensive.

Posted by Melissa Patrick 

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky



NOVEMBER 12, 2015

The American Lung Association and Kentucky Radon Coalition partners support strategies to reduce exposure to second leading cause of lung cancer - radon gas

LOUISVILLE KY (11/12/2015)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association has joined three federal departments and eight national organizations to announce a strategy to prevent 3,200 lung cancer deaths by driving change to reduce radon in 5 million high-radon homes, apartments, schools and childcare centers.

The National Radon Action Plan: A Strategy for Saving Lives sets out strategies to drive the changes needed to reduce exposure to radon, a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless gas. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, and causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually.

"In order to eliminate lung cancer caused by radon, we desperately need to improve the way we protect people indoors. Approximately 42% of all Kentucky homes will test above the EPA action level, meaning that millions of Kentuckians live in homes with levels of radon that can cause lung cancer. In some areas, greater than 65% of all homes will test above the action level. This means that nearly half of our population is exposed daily to toxic levels of radioactive radon," said Heather Wehrheim, Advocacy Director with American Lung Association in Kentucky.

Four key approaches to reduce radon exposure are the focus of the National Radon Action Plan, including 14 specific strategies to achieve them. Strategies target specific approaches to reduce the growing problem of radon exposure. Because it is invisible and odorless, dangerous levels of radon often exist indoors without occupants' knowledge.

What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from natural processes in the ground. Nearly all soils contain uranium, which naturally decays over time to produce radon gas. Radon seeps up from the soil into the air, concentrating in buildings. While radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, effective measures do exist to reduce radon indoors, which can prevent radon-caused lung cancer and save lives.

With a focus on reducing exposure to this carcinogen in homes, there is great potential to achieve the long-term goals by making sure radon testing is standard practice in mortgage transactions and that radon reduction measures are part of building codes. . The partners are meeting with groups, including housing finance and building code developers, to put the initial steps in place.

"The Kentucky Radon Program seeks to continue its efforts to educate builders and real estate professionals and grow local coalitions that can adopt new radon policy that requires homes and apartments to be tested for radon," says Clay Hardwick, Kentucky's State Radon Program Coordinator.

Others joining the American Lung Association in committing to put these changes in place are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other organizations including the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, the American Society of Home Inspectors, Cancer Survivors Against Radon, the Children's Environmental Health Network, Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction, the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, the Environmental Law Institute and the National Center for Healthy Housing. The partners welcome others who support these actions to join our effort/endorse the plan.

In 2011, the Federal Radon Action Plan was released and has led to the protection from radon in more than 105,000 multi-family homes that have financing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, among other measures. However, that 2011 plan focused solely on actions that federal agencies could take, while the new plan broadens the tools to include actions that the private sector and the non-governmental organizations can put in place.

The new National Plan can be found at