Frequently Asked Questions

Why do many Hispanic women have diabetes?

Because Hispanics have higher risk factors for diabetes, the incidence rate is higher in women of Hispanic origin than in non-Hispanic, Caucasian women. The primary cause is genetics. This means that the disease tends to occur repeatedly in the same population when people marry and have children all within the same population group. Following this logic, Mexican-Americans whose parents have diabetes have twice the risk of developing the disease.

Another important risk factor is obesity. Forty-seven percent of Mexican-American women are overweight in comparison with only thirty-three percent of white, Non-Hispanic women. Also, glucose intolerance has been observed in nineteen percent of Mexican-Americans compared to only fifteen percent of white, Non-Hispanic people. Resistance levels also have been greater among Mexican-Americans.

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What can I do to obtain more calcium without getting more calories and fats?

Dairy products are the main source of calcium but contain a lot of fat. Therefore, use 1% low-fat milk in place of whole milk or cream, and try to consume low-fat cheeses, yogurt and ice cream. Other than dairy products, you can include different foods in your diet that are rich in calcium and low in fats, such as salmon, soy, green leafy vegetables and legumes (peas and beans).

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Why is folic acid so important for women?

Folic acid can prevent birth defects called Neural Tube Defects. Neural Tube Defects are defects of the brain and spine. These can occur during the first months following conception and before women become aware that they are pregnant. The two most common forms of Neural Tube Defects are: Spina Bifida and Anencephaly. Babies that are born with Spina Bifida can suffer paralysis or have many other problems. Babies with Anencephaly do not develop a brain or may possibly develop a partial brain. These babies generally die soon after being born. Seventy percent of neural tube defects can be prevented by taking folic acid prior to and during pregnancy.

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How are symptoms of lactose intolerance treated?

A person that suffers from lactose intolerance can relieve his/her symptoms. Although it is not known how to increase the amount of lactase in the body of a person, there are supplements that one can take prior to eating or drinking dairy products. These lactase supplements can be in liquid or pill form, and may be purchased in any pharmacy or supermarket. Also, there are some reduced lactose products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream. The least expensive and easiest way to control the symptoms is to avoid foods containing lactose.

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Do I need my doctor's permission to start an exercise program?

The majority of people do not need to see a doctor prior to starting a gradual and sensible exercise program. However, consult your doctor prior to starting or adding to your exercise program if you: (1) have heart problems or have had a heart attack; (2) are taking medication for high blood pressure or a heart condition; (3) are over 50 and not accustomed to physical activity; or (4) have a family history of cardiovascular disease at an early age.

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What is the significance of having abnormal cells in a Pap Smear exam?

Approximately 5% to 15% of Pap smears performed in the United States are reported as abnormal. The types of abnormal cells include:

  • ASCUS - atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. Squamous (scaly) cells are thin and flat, and form on the surface of the cervix.
  • LSIL - a low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. The word lesion refers to an area of abnormal tissue; intraepithelial means that the abnormal cells are present only on the surface of these cells.
  • HSIL - a high grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. High grade indicated a large number of pre-cancerous cells that look very different from normal cells.

The types of abnormal cells ASCUS and LSIL are considered mild abnormalities. HSIL is more severe and has a greater probability of evolving into an invasive cancer.

If the exam results are unclear, your doctor may repeat the exam to insure accuracy. If the Pap smear shows significant abnormality, your doctor may perform a test known as a colposcopy. For this exam, your doctor will use a magnifying instrument to inspect the tissue found around the vagina and cervix to check for abnormalities. The doctor may also perform a Schiller test. For this test, your doctor covers the cervix with an iodine solution. The normal cells turn brown and the abnormal cells white or yellow. Both procedures can be done in the doctor's office.

Lastly, your doctor may also remove a small amount of cervical tissue for examination. This procedure is called a biopsy and is the only sure way of knowing if the abnormal cells indicate cancer.

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What is the best type of protection for sexual relations?

If you elect to have sexual relations, condoms or prophylactics offer you very good protection, as they act as a barrier that keep you apart from the sexual secretions of your partner. Using a condom is not 100% safe when trying to prevent pregnancy or to shield a person from sexually transmitted diseases - only abstinence offers this safeguard - but the use of condoms offers the greatest protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Other contraceptive methods, such as birth control pills, only protect you from an unwanted pregnancie.

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Can I acquire HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or any other sexually transmitted disease by getting a tattoo or through piercing?

There is a risk of contracting HIV or other infections transmitted through the blood (like Hepatitis B or C) if the instruments that are used for piercing or tattooing are not well disinfected or sterilized. Any instrument that is used to cut the skin must be used only one time and thrown away, or cleaned very well and sterilized in order to be used again.

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When should I call the doctor if my son or daughter has a fever?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the a doctor should be called if:

  • A baby that is 3 months old or younger has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher.
  • A baby that is 3 to 6 months old has a temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) or higher.
  • A baby that is more than 6 months old has a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or higher.

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How should I treat a child with a fever?

  • Babies 3 months old or younger need an immediate medical evaluation.
  • Babies that are nursing receive sufficient liquid from mothers' milk. NEVER give water to babies younger than 6 months without checking with your doctor about how much water you can give them.
  • Give older babies and children extra liquids. High fever causes a rapid loss of liquids and can lead to dehydration, especially in small children. Water, broth or soup, popsicles and gelatin can be easily consumed. Drinks that contain caffeine, including colas and tea, may act as diuretics and must be avoided.
  • If a baby or child is vomiting or has diarrhea, you can give him/her an electrolyte solution made especially for children. These solutions may be found in pharmacies or supermarkets. Sports drinks are not designed for small children and the added sugars can worsen diarrhea.
  • In general, let your child eat what he/she wants (in reasonable amounts). If the child has diarrhea, limit the intake of fruit and apple juice.
  • Do not take him/her to school or day care. Most doctors recommend that children return to school or day care after their temperature has been normal for 24 hours. Dress your child in light clothing.
  • For children whose temperature is less than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius), medication is generally not required, unless they feel very uncomfortable. If their temperature is greater than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius), administer acetaminophen or ibuprofen following the recommendations on the package according to age and weight. If you do not know the recommended dosis, call your doctor. Aspirin is not recommended for children younger than twelve years of age.
  • If your child's temperature is greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).  Your doctor may recommend a sponge bath.  If a sponge bath is recommended, use lukewarm water.  Cold water may raise their temperature and cause them to shiver.  Do not rub your child with alcohol, as it may be toxic.

If your child's temperature is greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Your doctor may recommend a sponge bath. If a sponge bath is recommended, use lukewarm water. Cold water may raise their temperature and cause them to shiver. Do not rub your child with alcohol, as it may be toxic.

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