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."
"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
- 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?"
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