Question of the Week

October 13, 2003


"October 4, 2003 PORT ST. LUCIE St. Lucie West Centennial High School's student council president died of 'cardiac dysrhythmia,' or poor functioning of the heart, the medical examiner said Friday....'She's been a cheerleader; she's been an athlete. None of this made sense to us,' her father, Thomas Clinton, said of her heart condition....Mittleman said the heart condition can run in families. He advised Clinton's family to get checked.",1651,TCP_997_2320731,00.html

"Each year, millions of youngsters participate in organized sports in more than seven million in high schools alone. Nearly all have to undergo evaluations before they participate. The goal is to prevent injuries, some of them possibly permanent or even catastrophic. Often these exams are done en masse in school gyms or at a local medical clinics, where it may be hard to obtain the kind of information needed....Preventable sports-related disasters, like sudden cardiac death and heatstroke in young athletes, happen rarely, but in nearly all cases, properly performed exams can identify vulnerable children....In a telephone interview, Dr. Koester said: 'History is the key, including family history. More than 90 percent of problems that limit participation can be determined through a good history. In general, this exam is too superficially done. The right questions are not being asked. If you don't ask, you won't get the answers you need.'"

Some schools limit participation if students have certain risk factors.
Some doctors recommend limitations.
Sometimes, risk factors are missed because students, doctors, and parents are unaware of what might be considered a potential problem.

As students get older, parents are less likely to attend physicals. This means that teens are more and more responsible for providing the doctor with the information he or she needs.

At your next physical, would you be able to answer "questions about:

  • illnesses that you had when you were younger or may have now, such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy
  • previous hospitalizations or surgeries
  • allergies (to insect bites, for example)
  • past injuries (including concussions, sprains, or bone fractures)
  • whether you've ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain, or had trouble breathing during exercise?"
Kids Health

Questions of the Week:
What information does your doctor need in order to help you make safe and healthy choices? Do you know your medical history, and that of your family? Do you take any medications? herbs? vitamins? or other supplements that your doctor should know about? How can you determine what information is essential to share, and what is less important to discuss in the limited time you have during the appointment?

Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum

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