Teen Perspective on Health

Teen Perspective on Health

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    ADeborah Beauvais, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    A well-nourished child is a child ready to learn. Kids that are fit are more likely to have the energy, stamina and self-esteem that enhance their ability to learn. 

    Healthful eating, both Breakfast and Lunch; along with regular physical activity, helps kids get and stay fit. Severe nutrient deficiencies are linked to many issues: improper growth, mental development and very low energy levels. These things will have an impact on a child's ability to learn. 

    For example, iron deficiency among children leads to poor behavior, difficulty concentrating, and poor performance. Choose lunch meal options that include a variety of foods from all the food groups. Lean meats and low-fat dairy for protein, whole wheat or whole grain servings of breads and grain for energy from carbohydrates and a variety of fruits and vegetables, preferably fresh, to round out the meal. Eating from a variety of foods gives one a full complement of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients essential for growth and development. 

    As a Registered Dietitian, I must emphasize that a child will do his/her best in school if three regular meals are consumed daily along with healthy snacks. You just cannot teach a hungry child.

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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    Breast pain is common before periods, and even earlier in the cycle when the ovaries produce estrogen. This causes the breasts to swell, which can indeed hurt. Support bras or sports bras can make a big difference, as can regular exercise. You can try avoiding salt (that includes diet foods and diet pop, which usually contain high salt loads), caffeine, and chocolate, all of which can cause temporary breast swelling. Drinking a natural diuretic such as cranberry juice may help, but don’t use diuretic pills, as they can affect your electrolyte levels and cause bigger problems.

    Other remedies for breast pain with periods include hot showers or warm baths, relaxation and breathing exercises, 400 milligrams of ibuprofen up to four times a day, and even cabbage leaves placed over the area. (They’re said to draw out the pain.)

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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Yes, growing pains are real. And they can be very uncomfortable. Hot showers, hot baths, and occasional use of ibuprofen can help. Save the latter for times when you can’t get comfortable due to the pain, but the normal twinges of growing pains usually do not need meds. If pain is waking you from your sleep, it is worth asking your doctor about it. He or she can help assess whether these are simple growing pains, or whether something else may be going on.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    If you’re going to get one, you need to think carefully about where you have it put, and who you want to see it at what ages and stages in life. Remember, you may have bare arms, thighs, back, shoulders, whatever, at some time. Ideal sites for tattoos to be shared with only a privileged few include around your waist, hips, or upper cheeks--those on your backside, not on your face. That means you can hide them for that college interview, as opposed to tattoos emblazoned on your arms, chest, or ankle. Careful if it’s in a foreign language: Does it really say what you want it to say? Are the letters backward, the way they would be if you looked at yourself in a mirror versus reading them on a page?

    If you do get a tattoo, you need to make sure that the artist uses a new needle (watch him remove it from the sterile package), and pay more for new unopened ink, so that you don’t get any blood-borne infections such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C. Also, getting rid of a tattoo is a lot harder than getting one in the first place. It requires several expensive laser treatments, and sometimes even then you’re left with a shadow. Laser bubble tattoo paints, which can be totally busted and removed with one laser treatment, are just coming on the market, so ask for them if you’re not sure that you’ll want to live with that tattoo forever.
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    ADoris Day, MD, Dermatology, answered
    Corticosteroids, such as oral prednisone, are the gold standard for anti-inflammatory medications. Strong topical corticosteroids are limited by the potential for delayed side effects, including thinning of the skin, stretch marks, new blood vessel formation in the skin (commonly called broken blood vessels), papulopustular flares of acne, and skin addiction to the steroid so that when the drug is stopped there is a rebound flare of the acne.

    When topical or oral steroids are used in high enough doses over long periods of time, adverse effects exist that go beyond the skin, such as the risk of developing cataracts and suppression of the body’s own production of cortisols under periods of stress, which can be very serious; however, a short course (5 days to 2 weeks, depending on the part of the body) may be useful as part of the initial strategy in treating severe inflammatory acne.

    One of the main benefits of this approach is to kick start the improvement and get quick control of the situation. Oral steroids may be preferable in very severe inflammatory acne because a short course will immediately reduce the number of inflammatory lesions. As with topical steroids, this can have a significant positive psychologic effect. In addition, the reduction in the severe cystic lesions reduces the pain and/or itching associated with them. When oral steroids are used, they are most commonly given along with oral antibiotics or isotretinoin. If oral steroids are recommended, your doctor will review with you the potential side effects. It is important to understand that this class of steroids, called glucocorticoids, is very different from the anabolic steroids sometimes used by athletes and body builders. 

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