Archive for Health

Are You at Risk for Shingles?

Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on February 21st, 2013

Childhood diseases can hit adults and when they do, they often strike with a vengeance. Barbara
By Theo Hodge, Jr. MD

Walters learned that this year when doctors discovered that she has chicken pox. “She’d never had it as a child. So now she’s been told to rest, she’s not allowed any visitors — and we’re telling you, Barbara, no scratching!,” said her The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg. After having chicken pox, 83-year-old Walters in now a risk of contracting shingles.

If you have ever had chicken pox, then you are at risk for developing shingles. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. Following recovery from chicken pox, the virus becomes dormant in the body. When shingles develop, a rash or blisters appear on the skin, generally on one side of the body. This is a sign that the virus that was asleep in the nerve cells has reactivated and travelled from the nerve out to the skin. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) can occur in people of all ages and the risk increases as you get older.

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Z Gospel and Z Go-Go: The New Face of Fitness!

Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on January 9th, 2013

By Kennedra Tucker

“Down, Down Up. Down, Down Up,” members and non-members of Purity Baptist Church shouted to fitness instructors as they performed three squats in a row and returned to a standing position while getting down to R&B artist Ciara’s “Gimme Dat.”

From the youngest participant, a seven-year-old, to the oldest, my 90-year-old grandmother, the Z Gospel class exercises drenched everyone in the room with sweat. And at the door, some would be participants came to see what the fuss was about and hoped to get enough courage to move and groove to Kirk Franklin’s “Before I Die.”

What is Z Gospel? It is a new fitness craze sweeping the nation tied to the popularity of Zumba, which has sparked millions of people to get off their bottoms and move and groove to funky Latin rhythms. Some regular Zumba attendees have been inspired to attend training, get licensed and start teaching Zumba in their own communities. Danette Tucker, my sister, is one such instructor. After getting her license, she began creating her own routines to her favorite music genre and DC’s favorite, Go-Go. She discovered that others loved dancing to Go-Go as much as she did and developed her own flavor of class, Z Go-Go. 

“Much like Beto, the creator of Zumba, we’ve taken our love for our favorite genres of music, Gospel and Go-Go, and incorporated them into our faith and love for the Lord, all to inspire a dance fitness program that is fun, exciting and a fellowship,” says Danette. “Oh! And by the way, we just so happen to be working out while building a sisterhood that will hold us together spiritually as well as physically. It’s truly a blessing,” she added.

Joining Danette and myself at Purity is our mother, Cynthia. Aside from breaking to care for her children, she has acted on her passion for fitness for a long time. Mom is not only a retired federal government worker, but a licensed Zumba instructor who calls teaching Z Gospel one of her post-retirement accomplishments.

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Sexual Freedom Summit Encourages Americans to Talk About Sex

Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on October 3rd, 2012

The Sexual Freedom Summit in Silver Spring, MD was more than about who is having sexual relationships with whom or how and when they have sexual encounters. “It’s about making society more inclusive,” says Robin Mandell, who led the discussion, “Sexual Rights for Disabled People: Group Homes, Grassroots and Beyond .” For many of the participants, the biggest barrier to sexual freedom in the United States is the view that sex is only for reproduction and not for pleasure, too.

During the discussion, Mandell reminded the audience about the liberated view former U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day Connor publicly shared when she discovered that her husband, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, was having an “affair” with another woman at his nursing facility.

Audience members added more examples of what sexual freedoms means including: In Amsterdam, the government will pay for the sexual pleasures of the disabled.

For the United States to become more progressive, participants called for more erotic materials in braille for the visually impaired to enjoy and creating space for disabled youth to learn about sexual encounters from their peers just as other young adults are able to create their own spaces to do the same.

Noting that sexual health is part of our general health, one participant discussed (for mature audiences only) erotic dancing from a wheelchair (for mature audiences only).

However, the biggest audience agreement came when Mandall (pictured left) discussed how social service agencies will encourage the cognitive and physically disabled to take birth control pills to prevent the birth of children. “They don’t want to provide the support to any children they may have,” Mandall explained. However, the agencies will not place the same pressure on physically and mentally abled people who cannot provide for their children without government assistance, but continue to have them.

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Are You at Risk for Hepatitis C?

Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on September 17th, 2012

By Theo Hodge, Jr., MD

All too often serious medical concerns remain hidden until the damage done announces its presence. Many times this announcement is accompanied by irreversible consequences. Such is the case for Hepatitis C.

An estimated 3.2 million persons in the United States have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection. Most people do not know they are infected because they do not look or feel sick. Such a person can unwittingly spread the virus.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types are Hepatitis A, B, and C.

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic”.

Acute Hepatitis C

Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people acute infection leads to chronic infection and 75%-85% of the people who become infected with Hepatitis C develop chronic infection.

Chronic Hepatitis C

Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis C virus remains in a person’s body. Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. 

Some people are at increased risk for Hepatitis C including:

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African People’s Response to HIV/AIDS at 2012 AIDS Conference

Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on August 9th, 2012

Other celebrities in attendance included Sheryl Lee Ralph, Danny Glover and Elton John. “The AIDS disease is caused by a virus, but the AIDS epidemic is not. The AIDS epidemic is fueled by stigma. By hate. By misinformation. By ignorance. By indifference,” said John.

Given the stigma, hate, misinformation, ignorance and indifference toward AIDS and those who have the disease, various groups from around the world discussed how they approach eradicating the disease:

  • A Washington, DC Response
  • Some African Responses
  • Sex Workers, Cops and Condoms
  • $5 to $8 for a “Feel” in China
  • Grandma Has AIDS by Theo Hodge, Jr MD
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    Welcome to Port Of Harlem Snippets Blog

    Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on May 21st, 2012

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