Tag Archives: General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser In the News: Lead Poisoning


In the news is the story of dozens of cases of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, resulting from elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water supply. This followed inadequate preventive treatment of the water supply, a necessary step in the provision of public health. It appears that the water had become contaminated from aging pipes in the Flint river, which became relevant after the city switched its water supply from Detroit sources in 2014. The number of poisonings has been so high the city has declared a state of emergency. In case you’re wondering, yes this could happen to you, but if you read on, we’ll tell you how to minimize your exposure.
What is lead poisoning? Why is it dangerous?
Lead is a chemical element (“mineral”) that is quite poisonous in humans. Swallowing or breathing lead dust can cause major health problems, both immediately (with a very high exposure), or more commonly, over time with ongoing exposures to low levels. The particular concern is in exposure to children. As is the case with head injuries or most any other type of insult to a developing child’s brain and nervous system, a significant risk to one’s mental development occurs. The younger the child, the more dangerous the exposure is; the highest risks are in the unborn.


How does one get poisoned? What are the risk factors?
Lead used to be very common in gasoline and house paint in the U.S., but lead based paint was banned in 1978. It is estimated that approximately 4 million Americans are still significantly exposed to potentially toxic levels of lead, because lead basically is everywhere, including old house paint, new toys, dust, dirt and gasoline. Children living in cities with older houses are more likely to have high levels of lead.
Here’s a quick list of lead exposures (there are many other potential exposures):

  • Homes, toys and furniture painted in the US before 1978 and any toys made outside the US (no, the paint doesn’t have to be peeling);
  • Plumbing, pipes, faucets and the water flowing through them;
  • Soil contaminated by car exhaust (think near expressways or busy streets) or house paint scrapings (think old abandoned buildings); and
  • Storage batteries

Take these exposures seriously, because lead exposure comes from swallowing, touching and/or breathing objects containing lead particles. Once in the body and bloodstream, it spread, causing damage throughout. Two notable areas of concern are the effects of lead on blood cells (causing anemia) and on bones (preventing healthy, strong teeth and bone function due to reducing the absorption of calcium.


How does lead poisoning get identified? What are the signs and symptoms?
Lead poisoning can affect many different parts of the body, and symptoms can range from nothing obvious to dramatic mental impairment. Symptoms are more prominent as blood lead levels get higher.
Lead is much more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children’s developing nerves and brains. The younger the child, the more harmful lead can be. Unborn children are the most vulnerable.
It’s important to reiterate that many with lead poisoning won’t have signs of illness early on. If you believe your environment poses a risk, you should ask to be checked. Symptoms are often nonspecific, but if you can remember groupings of symptoms, you’d be on the right track. Consider the following:

  • Behavioral problems may exist such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, sluggishness or fatigue.
  • Digestive tract problems may exist, such as loss of appetite, a metallic taste in one’s mouth, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation and/or abdominal pain.
  • Neurologic problems may exist, such as headaches, muscle and joint weakness or pain, seizures.
  • Pale skin from anemia is also often a prominent finding.

Over the longer term, health problems include the following:

  • damage to the nervous system (such as poor muscle coordination, speech and language problems), kidneys, and/or hearing
  • decreased bone and muscle growth
  • developmental delay

The next Straight, No Chaser will address prevention and treatment strategies.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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Straight, No Chaser: Powerful Living

At “Straight, No Chaser,” our posts aim to inform and encourage you to manage your health. However, sometimes we experience lapses in health that are beyond our control. Today, in honor of National Women’s Month, we welcome Dr. Sheri Prentiss to the blog. As a breast cancer survivor and Susan G. Komen 3-Day Spokesperson, she shares a message of hope and empowerment in the face of just one such health challenge.

When you think of the most powerful women you know, who comes to mind? Some of us think of political figures like Hilary Clinton. Perhaps you think of Oprah or Beyonce or other entertainers.
It’s easy to recognize “power” in celebrity or status in the newsworthy, but true power is something much more subtle and sublime. Webster’s Dictionary defines powerful as “having power, authority, influence.” According to this definition, being powerful has nothing to do with being a public figure, a multi-millionaire or a politician.
While the world certainly needs revolutionaries, entertainers and politicians, what it needs MORE are everyday women, not using their power to position themselves over others, to re-write history or to be rich and famous, but who are creating awesome lives for themselves and others, just like the women I meet on every 3-Day event!
power 3-day 2
The world is in desperate need of women who channel their power into touching hearts with their authenticity, stirring emotions with their self-expression, and impacting their worlds with their “regular” lives. In doing these things, we DO change the world, we WILL re-write history, we will be remembered as women who knew and exercised their power.
power woman
What are the secrets of power-full living? How can you invite more power into your life? It’s easier than you think:
1. A powerful woman exercises her authority. This doesn’t this mean you go around bossing people around, but it does mean you stand up for your values, refuse to be a door-mat, take full responsibility for your life, reject the victim role, refuse to settle for less than you deserve in life and love and use your power to speak your mind.
2. A powerful woman spots her leaks and patches them right away. We all have an incredible capacity for power. Think of this capacity as a gas tank, power being the fuel that moves you. When you have a leak—even the tiniest pin-hole—you lose your power. Where in your life do you lose power? What people, activities, obligations or thought processes drain you of your power? When you find them, “patch” them by making whatever changes are necessary.
power women
3. A powerful woman surrounds herself with other powerful women. Truth is, you won’t always feel strong and in control. Troubles, fears, and real-life problems have a way of draining our power. Women who are connected to other women can share their power. When one friend is low on power, another can siphon some of hers to share. When you’re driving on E and putter out on the side of life’s highway, a caring friend can pick you up and bring you to the nearest re-fueling station.
power exercise
4. A powerful woman re-fuels regularly. Like fuel, power gets spent the more you move. The more you exercise your power, the more necessary it is to re-fuel. A powerful woman does this by connecting with inspiration on a regular basis, by expressing her creativity, by reading good books, by praying, meditating or exercising. There are a million different ways you can re-power. Pick what appeals to your heart and do it.
5. A powerful woman shares her power. It seems to go against what we think of as powerful, doesn’t it? The good news is, sharing your power doesn’t diminish yours. You can share your power perhaps by mentoring a teenage girl or by raising your kids to be strong and independent or by putting your arm around someone who’s sad and empty. There are countless ways you can share your power, and, unlike those dreadful fuel-leak energy-drains, this one actually works in reverse. When you share your power, the world becomes a little brighter, a little more beautiful, and YOU become even more power-filled.power wings
So my questions to you today are these: “Where is your point of power? What energizes you? Where do you lose power? How do you re-fill your tank? How can you share your power?”
Today, consider your amazing capacity for a power-full life … and start living it. Today, share my motto with me: L.I.V.E Everyday!TMLove myself and others…Inspire those around me…Voice my dreams and ambitions…Enjoy life.
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