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Immunizations Needed to Maintain Health

As flu season approaches, we are reminded of the need for annual immunizations. For example, flu shots. The influenza vaccine represents one of the several immunizations that the Center for Disease Control and others recommend some adults and children receive. These vaccines help the body’s defenses to become sensitive to particular bacteria or virus. As a result, the immune system is prepared to fight off the infection before it can take hold.

The influenza vaccine protects the body against specific strains of the influenza virus. Each year the Center for disease control develops a vaccine based on what they think will be the predominant and most serious flu viruses that year. Although not 100% accurate every year, the vaccine has been very successful and decreasing the number of deaths and miss workdays each year related to the flu. In recent flu epidemics, at least 10,000 deaths have been reported. Much of this might be preventable if people are immunized annually. This is especially important for folks over for 65 years of age or those of any age with certain underlying illnesses. However, in 1989, only 30% of people over 65 received the vaccine.

If you’re wondering if you need the vaccine, talk to your doctor. Pneumococcal streptococcus is a bacteria that has been implicated in pneumonia and meningitis. Pneumococcal disease causes approximately 40,000 deaths per year with most of these deaths occurring in the elderly or in persons with long-term diseases. Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for a person 65 years or older who have chronic illnesses or week immune system’s and possibly other groups.

The two currently licensed pneumococcal vaccines have the potential to provide protection against 23 different types of the bacteria that cause most cases of pneumococcal infection. Diphtheria is a very serious disease. It can make a person unable to breathe, cause paralysis or heart failure. About one out of every ten people who get to Diptheria dies of it. Tetanus, sometimes called “lockjaw”, is a very serious disease that can occur after a cut or wound gets the germ into the body. Tennis makes a person unable to open his or her mouth or swallow and causes serious muscle spasms. In the United States, tetanus kills three out of every 10 people who get the disease. Not many cases of tetanus or diphtheria occur in the United States because people have immunizations that can protect them. Booster doses are recommended for both of these as adults. If you think you need a dip Syria or tennis immunization, speak with your doctor.

It is recommended to be vaccinated every 10 years for these. I encourage you to talk with your doctor about these and other immunizations available for adults. Julie L. Reihsen M.D. is a family practice physician and owner of Dallas Family Medical in Addison, Texas.

The Answer Is In

The answer is in. 

In a review article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers noted Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are the most reliable systems for maximizing the chances for long-term weight loss.  Jenny Craig participants had the best outcomes in their review article.  In one study it was noted, people who used the Jenny Craig program lost more weight after one year than their counterparts who received either diet education or behavioral counseling.  Weight Watchers was endorsed as the most cost-effective option.  The researchers noted, in another set of clinical trials, people who used Weight Watchers dropped 2.6% more weight after one year as compared with people in a control group who received education only.

In my personal experience, Weight Watchers provided me with an effective system to track my food choices and to monitor my progress.  I was able to eat the food of my choosing and it was cost-effective.  Due to the fact I was eating less both in volume and in eating out, I probably saved money overall even with the costs of the program!  I also found that teamwork and having a group for support and for a healthy competition was even better!   Having the team approach took the work out of losing weight and changing my lifestyle and put the fun in!

As you know there are more medication options both over the counter and prescription than ever.  Remember the following:

1.  Medications do not replace a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet choices.
2.  Medications may have side-effects.
3.  Medications can interact together.
4.  Medications need to be medically monitored in most cases.
5.  Medication options should be discussed with your doctor before beginning to take them.

Surgery is also an option for a select group of people.

I would encourage you, if losing weight is a goal you have, to look at these programs.  If you need help, to consider medications, recognizing a healthy lifestyle and diet are the basis for weight loss and long-term weight control.  If you would like to talk to us more about diet or medications, please call us.