May 4 is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day. While recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that teen births in the United States have reached an all-time low, this data should not tempt parents, educators, health care providers and community leaders to let down their guard.
Starting preschool is a milestone for any child, but imagine being a 3-year-old who was accepted into a preschool but later denied admission because of a food allergy. That was the case for the Guiffreda family of Hawaii Kai.
We've all been struck by a bad cold or the flu. The aches and congestion are never pleasant and always inconvenient. In our fast-paced society, we've been conditioned to want immediate relief. Surely there's a pill you can take to make that pesky cough go away in no time, right?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Hawaii. Although preventive screening to detect and treat colorectal cancer early can result in a 90 percent survival rate, fewer than 50 percent of cases are diagnosed early enough for lifesaving treatment to be effective.
According to HMSA claims data, the average person in Hawaii fills 10 prescriptions per year -- and seniors fill three times as many. Medicine helps keep us healthy, saves lives and curbs pandemics, but when medicines aren't taken as directed or are combined in unsafe ways, they can have harmful effects.
As family doctors, we hear every day from patients who have trouble paying for medications and who have stopped or skipped their drugs. Last month we sent a woman to the hospital because she hadn't taken her diabetes medication ("too expensive") and she ended up with a bad infection in her leg when her blood sugar went too high.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease consists of several diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD blocks airways, making it difficult to breathe. It's the fourth-leading cause of death in Hawaii and the nation. COPD can't be cured but it can be managed. Getting tested early can help you keep the disease from worsening.