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Childhood lead poisoning is preventable

[JULY 2, 2001]  We will observe National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week July 19-25. One of the most common preventable pediatric health problems in the United States today is lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is simply the presence of too much lead in the body and is caused by exposure to lead that is eaten or breathed in the form of dust.

As we have come to a greater understanding of the effects of lead poisoning, crucial legislation has been passed to decrease the amount of lead in the environment. As a result, few children suffer from the serious physical effects of lead poisoning. However, many children continue to be exposed to low doses of lead that can result in more subtle but still serious health problems. Even at low doses of exposure, a child may suffer from developmental delay, lower IQ, hyperactivity, learning disability or hearing impairment. Since children who have elevated blood lead levels may have no observable symptoms, parents may be unaware of the problem until the damage has been done.

People at any age can get lead poisoning, but children are at the greatest risk. The primary source of lead exposure for children is lead-based paint. It is estimated that lead-based paint is present in 74 percent of all homes built before 1978. Lead dust accumulates in cracks over the life of a house. Where you can see chipping paint, there is always lead dust. Children are most likely to swallow lead dust simply because they are closer to the ground, and they frequently place hands or other objects in their mouths. Certain activities such as opening and closing windows can create an aerosol so that children can inhale the lead dust.


Other sources of lead include imported crayons and miniblinds, improperly glazed pottery, the solder that connects water pipes, and some folk remedies. Certain hobbies such as stained glass, target shooting or furniture refinishing carry a risk for lead exposure. Adults with certain occupations are exposed to lead. These include construction workers and auto repair workers as well as others. Workers can unknowingly carry lead dust home from the workplace and expose their families. Children of people who remodel their own homes are at very high risk for lead exposure. Lead has also been deposited in the soil from leaded gasoline and lead paint. Since lead is not biodegradable, once deposited in the soil it stays there.

The only method to diagnose lead poisoning is by a blood test. In 1995 the Illinois Department of Public Health designated areas of high and low risk for lead poisoning throughout the state. This was done by ZIP code. Those children living in areas determined to be low risk can be assessed by using a set of questions designed to determine the risk of lead poisoning to that particular child. Children who are high-risk as determined by the questionnaire and those who live in a high-risk ZIP code area need a blood test.


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According to Illinois law, all children 6 months through 6 years of age must be assessed for lead poisoning one time before entering day care, preschool or kindergarten. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, recommends yearly assessment, especially at 1 and 2 years of age, as these children are at the highest risk for central nervous system impairment.

Lead poisoning can be prevented by taking some simple precautions. These include:

  • Keeping children away from peeling or chipping paint.

  • Washing floors, countertops and windowsills at least weekly with a phosphate-based detergent.

  • Feeding children a diet high in iron, calcium and Vitamin C, low in fat, and offering healthy snacks throughout the day.

  • Using proper procedure when renovating or remodeling, and keeping children and pregnant women out of the work area until renovations are complete and the area has been cleaned.

  • Washing a childís hands, face and toys often.

  • Allowing the cold water to run for several minutes in the morning before using it and using only cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing infant formula.

  • Removing shoes when coming indoors so that lead dust is not tracked inside the house.

  • Laundering work clothes separately when in an occupation that carries a high risk for lead exposure.

  • Never storing food in pottery made outside of the United States.

  • Planting grass to reduce a childís exposure to lead in the soil.

For more information on childhood lead poisoning or for information on how to have your child assessed for lead exposure, call the Logan County Health Department at (217) 735-2317 or ask your health-care provider.

[Logan County Health Department news release]

Part 3

Gender gap in health interest

[JUNE 29, 2001]  Despite decades of research showing men live shorter lives than women and have higher rates of serious diseases, studies show men do not take as much interest in their personal health as women.

[Click here for Part 1]

[Click here for Part 2]

Besides lack of a good diet and enough exercise, many men both locally and nationally
suffer from stress.

"We hear so much about stress. There is a whole population of men that are under increasing amounts of stress. Farmers have unique type of stress that many people arenít aware of, with the bad economy, the weather and other things they worry about. They have traditionally been stoic," Eldredge said. "Stress-related depression and other illnesses are on the rise locally."

Among other findings, the survey also concluded that:

* Men are more likely than women to be overweight, based on a mathematical tool called the Body Mass Index that measures the relationship between height and weight. The survey found that 62 percent of men and 43 percent of women have a BMI score of 25 or more, which puts them at increased risk for such health problems as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

* Among men responding to the survey, 12 percent feel a great deal of stress almost every day, compared with 15 percent of women. Men are more likely than women to relieve that stress by drinking alcoholic beverages (22 percent vs. 15 percent).

* Men are much more likely than women to be concerned about developing colon cancer (43 percent vs. 36 percent), despite statistics from the American Cancer Society which indicate that 51,200 women and 44,000 men will develop the disease this year.


[to top of second column in this section]

Growing interest in menís health

Despite the generally gloomy assessments of menís health awareness, however, there is clear evidence that men are beginning to take better charge of their health. The success of magazines such as Menís Health, Prime and other wellness-oriented, healthy-lifestyle publications underscores a growing interest in wellness and healthy lifestyles among men.

Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Surgeon General David Satcher have issued a plan called "Healthy People 2010," which provides a nationwide blueprint for a program to build on the advances in medicine and health care treatments to improve the nationís health over the next decade. Some of its key goals are to reverse the commonly held view that men simply die earlier than women and to close the gender gap in life spans.

Even if men are reluctant to actually go to the doctor, they can get information by just
using their computer. Many Internet sites are devoted to menís health issues, including
menshealthnetwork.org and menshealth.com. Members of One Health Plan are offered online health risk assessments and a health library at www.onehealthplan.com.

Leading causes of death for men in the United States:

Diseases of heart

Malignant neoplasms

Cerebrovascular diseases

Unintentional injuries

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Pneumonia and influenza

Human immunodeficiency virus

Diabetes mellitus


Homicide and legal intervention

(Source: The Centers for Disease Control, 1995)

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

Part 2

Gender gap in health interest

[JUNE 28, 2001]  Despite decades of research showing men live shorter lives than women and have higher rates of serious diseases, studies show men do not take as much interest in their personal health as women.

[Click here for Part 1]

"Diet and exercise is a problem for everybody ó especially men in the rural areas, who
feel they get enough exercise just working. They do exercise, but itís not consistent," Eldredge said. "Our whole society has become more sedentary."

The statistics

The general lack of understanding and male acceptance of health care has a high cost, medical researchers say. No matter how smart a man is, no matter what kind of professional status heís achieved, he can still ignore things he shouldnít ignore and pay the unnecessary consequences, said a report from The Male Health Institute. The report indicated the consequences can be serious. 

Before age 65, men suffer 2.5 times as many heart attacks as women. By age 65, one in three men suffers from high blood pressure, a primary risk for heart attacks. Yet men are less likely than women to have their blood pressure checked.

One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, yet few will have the easy and painless digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen blood test to detect it, the report said.

Men are at greater risk of stress-related illnesses than women, yet only 20 percent of the people in the typical stress-management program are men.

Every year, more than 50,000 men die of emphysema, one of the most preventable diseases.

It has been estimated that more than three million men are walking around with early Type II diabetes, a disease with major complications, and donít know it.


[to top of second column in this section]

Men make 130 million fewer visits a year to the family doctor than do women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesí Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, according to a nationwide survey of Americansí
health attitudes and behaviors, men are not only avoiding important health checks, they are significantly behind women in their awareness of the importance of their behavior.

The survey, conducted for Menís Health magazine and CNN by Opinion Research
Corporation International, found that one adult man in 10 ó roughly seven million ó has avoided getting regular health exams for more than a decade. Whatís more, the study noted, more than 15 million men have not had a basic health check in five years or more.

Overall, 76 percent of women responding to the phone survey reported they had been to the doctor for a physical exam in the past 12 months, compared with just 60 percent of men.

"Men should make their family physician a partner," Eldredge said.

The study also found that women are more adept than men at understanding and practicing the basic behaviors that lead to better health.

(To be continued)

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

[Click here for Part 3]

Part 1

Gender gap in health interest

[JUNE 27, 2001]  Despite decades of research showing men live shorter lives than women and have higher rates of serious diseases, studies show men do not take as much interest in their personal health as women.

Menís health facts

  • One in three men will die from either a heart attack or stroke.

  • Exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by half.

  • Sixty percent of men do not take enough exercise to benefit their health.

  • Exercise might prevent the development of one in four cases of diabetes mellitus.

  • The current life expectancy of American men is an average of 72.5 years.



"If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

ó Mickey Mantle,
famous Yankees slugger and outfielder

"I donít think men think they will get sick," said Dayle Eldredge, director of the community health program at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. "Itís all tied up with the feeling they have that they are responsible for other things, like work and family."

Eldredge, who is also coordinator of the Rural Health Partnership program, said there are more men taking advantage of the mobile unit now than ever before, and half of the client base is male. She thinks the convenience of the program draws more clients, especially farmers, who find it easier than scheduling a doctorís appointment.

Men continue to have a higher death rate in every one of 10 leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lung disease. The current life expectancy of American men is an average of 72.5 years, while for women it is 78.9.

National health statistics show this gap in life expectancy between men and women has remained steady since the 1950s, and in the case of some illnesses, such as cancer, the gap has actually widened. In 1920, the life-expectancy gap between men and women was only about one year.


[to top of second column in this section]

Even though more men and their families are now aware about the need to get regular health checkups, exercise more and improve their diets, the gender gap between men and women when it comes to personal health and life expectancy continues to be a major national health problem. Health care experts know that regular checkups by a physician can be crucial to early detection and treatment of diseases, such as prostate cancer in men. A study by the American Academy of Family Physicians showed women visited their family physicians more than twice as often as men.

"In general, men know they should go to the doctor, but they donít always do it. In the
past, not very much attention has been paid to menís health issues. Itís just as important
for men to get tested for prostate and testicular cancer as it is for women to be tested for
ovarian cancer," Eldredge said.

Medical experts cite several reasons why men do not have the same level of interest in
their health as women. Men simply do not see themselves as vulnerable to serious illness
and are not as comfortable going to the doctor. Because of birth control and pregnancy
issues, as well as increased public awareness of breast cancer issues, women generally are more attuned to the need for regular health checkups and preventive health care.

As a general rule, men between the ages of 18 and 75 should be encouraged to have
periodic blood pressure, height, weight, dental, vision and hearing checks. Men between
35 and 65 years of age should have cholesterol checks every five years, and men between
50 and 75 should have yearly colorectal cancer tests. It's also advisable that men have
yearly influenza vaccinations and tetanus-diphtheria vaccinations every 10 years.

(To be continued)

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

[Click here for Part 2]

National Menís Health Month

One out of every five American men...

Part 2

[JUNE 25, 2001]  One out of every five American men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime, and local health officials say it can strike men of all ages. Local and state health officials are working to get the word out about this disease this month during Menís Health Month.

[Click here for Part 1]

The best protection against the cancer is to have regular medical checkups that include a thorough prostate exam. Screening procedures can detect prostate cancer in its early stages.

Most cases of early prostate cancer carry no symptoms and are detected only by a screening exam. The best way to find prostate cancer is to have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE) performed. Some prostate cancers may be detected during evaluation of symptoms, which include a slow or weakened urinary stream or need to urinate more often. Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include impotence, blood in the urine, swollen lymph nodes in the groin area and pain in the pelvis, spine, hips or ribs. However, these symptoms can be present with other diseases also.

The IDPH advises men 50 years of age and older to ask their doctors about having the PSA and DRE test every year. Black American men and men with close family members who have had prostate cancer should consider starting screenings at a younger age. A national study shows that while the adult male population is very aware of prostate cancer and knows the risk factors involved, doctors are talking to only one out of two male patients about the disease. At the same time, adult males are not taking the necessary steps to reduce their risk. Health experts advise all men to take care of their health by seeing a doctor regularly, reporting symptoms and taking part in a healthy lifestyle.



[to top of second column in this section]

According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for all stages of prostate cancer combined has increased from 50 to 87 percent over the last 30 years. Due to early detection and better screening methods, nearly 60 percent of the tumors are diagnosed while they are still confined to the prostate gland. The five-year survival rate for early-stage cancers is almost 99 percent. Sixty-three percent of the patients survive 10 years, and 51 percent survive 15 years after initial diagnosis.

Because the cause of the cancer is not known, there is no definite way to prevent prostate cancer. However, the ACS recommends that all men over age 40 have an annual rectal exam and that men have an annual PSA test beginning at age 50. Those who have a higher-than-average risk, including black American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer, should begin annual PSA testing even earlier, starting at age 45. A diet low in fat may slow the progression of prostate cancer. To reduce the risk of prostrate cancer, the ACS recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber, and low in red meat and saturated fats.

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

National Menís Health Month

One out of every five American men...

Part 1

[JUNE 23, 2001]  One out of every five American men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime, and local health officials say it can strike men of all ages. Local and state health officials are working to get the word out about this disease this month during Menís Health Month.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in American men, excluding skin cancer. In Illinois, an estimated 8,300 new cases were diagnosed in 1998, and more than 80 percent of those were in men 65 years of age and older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Dayle Eldredge, program director of the Rural Health Partnership, said that although the disease usually strikes older men, it can affect men of all ages. "I think prostate and testicular cancer and illnesses are very common in men, especially those of middle age and older. Women have a high instance of breast cancer, and men have problems with those two areas. Itís a gender thing," Eldredge said.

"I would say it crosses age lines. Thereís evidence that men in their 30s and even younger men can have problems with these two areas, but it usually occurs later, in men aged 35 and up. Once men reach their mid to late 70s and early 80s, instances are often greater, but the necessity for invasive treatments are often less."

Eldredge, whose own father suffered from prostate cancer, said itís a health issue men of all ages should be aware of. Prostate cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer death in men, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics show that 3 percent of men who develop the disease will die from it ó an estimated 1,800 men in Illinois in 1998.

In the early stages, the disease stays localized and does not endanger life. Without treatment, however, the cancer can spread to other tissues and eventually cause death. Most of the time, prostate cancer grows very slowly but sometimes can grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body ó a factor more common in younger men.


[to top of second column in this section]

Prostate cancer is a disease in which the cells of the prostate become abnormal and start to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors. Tumors that can spread to other parts of the body are called malignant tumors or cancers. Tumors that incapable of spreading are said to be benign.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 1998 at least 185,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed nationwide and were the cause of at least 40,000 deaths. Because it may take many years for the cancer to develop, many men with the disease will probably die of other causes rather than from the cancer itself.

Prostate cancer affects black American men twice as often as it does Caucasian men, and the mortality rate among black Americans is also two times higher. Black Americans have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world.

While the cause of this disease is not known, according to the public health officials, there may be a genetic link that causes some men to develop the disease. Certain risk factors are linked to the disease, including smoking, a personís age or race, and a high-fat diet. While only one in 100,000 men will get prostate cancer under the age of 40, the frequency rise to 1,326 cases for men between 70 and 74 years of age. Workers in the electroplating and welding industries who are exposed to the metal cadmium, as well as rubber industry workers, appear to have a higher than average risk. 

(To be continued)

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]


[Click here for Part 2]

Honors & Awards


ALMH calendar of events for July

[JUNE 30, 2001]   

Senior Sunday ó July 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations required. Call 732-2161, Ext. 195.

Free blood pressure screenings ó July 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26 and 31, 9 a.m. to noon, first floor waiting area. No appointment necessary.

Congestive heart failure and diabetes support group ó Monday, July 16, 7 p.m., Conference Room A. Call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 443 for more information.

Breast Cancer Awareness ó Tuesday, July 17, 7 p.m., Conference Room A. Call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 443 for more information.



[to top of second column in this section]

Pain management service ó July 9 and 23, on fourth floor. Physician referral required. Call (217) 732-2161, Ext.403 or 444 for more information.

Laser clinic ó Thursday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on fourth floor. Call (217) 732-2161 Ext. 243 for more information.

Always In Our Hearts bereavement support group ó Thursday, July 26, 1 to 3 p.m., fifth floor physicians lounge. Call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 405 for more information.

Parkinsonís support group ó Monday, July 23, 7 p.m., Conference Room A. Call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 427 for more information.

[ALMH news release]

Mobile health unit schedule

The Rural Health Partnership has announced the schedule for its mobile health unit. Effective Feb. 1, 2001, the unit will run as follows:


Morning: 9-11 a.m.



Afternoon: 1-3:30 p.m.


1st and 3rd


1st and 3rd



2nd and 4th

San Jose

2nd and 4th






Mount Pulaski



New Holland




1st, 2nd, 3rd





Friendship Manor-Lincoln


1st, 2nd, 4th





2nd and 4th




Maintenance/ special events


special events

The mobile health unit does not operate on the following dates/holidays during 2001:  Feb. 19 (Presidentís Day), April 13 (Good Friday), May 28 (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), Sept. 3 (Labor Day), Oct. 8 (Columbus Day), Nov. 12 (Veterans Day), Nov. 22-23 (Thanksgiving break), and Dec. 24 - Jan. 1, 2002 (Christmas break).

For more information on the mobile health unit schedule and services, contact Dayle Eldredge at (217) 732-2161, Ext. 409.

This family resource list to save and use is provided by the Healthy Communities Partnership (732-2161, Ext. 409) and the Healthy Families Task Force.         

Resources for Logan County families


Phone number



911 (Emergencies)
732-3911 (Office -- non-emergency)

911 Pekin St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital


315 Eighth St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Aging (Department of)


421 E. Capitol, #100
Springfield, IL 62701-1789

American Cancer Society

546-7586 (24 hour)

1305 Wabash, Ste. J
Springfield, IL 62704

American Red Cross


125 S. Kickapoo
Lincoln, IL 62656

Catholic Social Services


310 S. Logan
Lincoln, IL 62656

Chamber of Commerce


303 S. Kickapoo St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Community Action (CIEDC)


1800 Fifth St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Community Child Care Connection


1004 N. Milton Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-443

Crisis Pregnancy Center


513 Pulaski St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

DCFS (Department of Children & Family Services)

(crisis hotline)

1100 Keokuk St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Heartland Community College GED Program


620 Broadway St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Hospice Care of Illinois

(24 hour)
732-2161, Ext. 444

720 N. Bond
Springfield, IL 62702

Housing Authority

732-6312 (24 hour)

1028 N. College St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Illinois Breast & Cervical Cancer Program


LCHD - 109 Third St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Illinois Department of Public Health


535 W. Jefferson
Springfield, IL 62761

Illinois Employment and Training Center (replaces JTPA office)


120 S. McLean St., Suite B
Farm Bureau Building
Lincoln, IL 62656

Legal Assistance Foundation

(217) 753-3300

730 E. Vine St., Ste. 214
Springfield, IL 62703

Library - Atlanta

(217) 648-2112

100 Race St.
Atlanta, IL 61723

Library - Elkhart

(217) 947-2313

121 E. Bohan
Elkhart, IL 62634

Library - Lincoln


725 Pekin St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Library - Mount Pulaski


320 N. Washington
Mount Pulaski, IL 62548

Lincoln Area YMCA


319 W. Kickapoo St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Lincoln/Logan Food Pantry


P.O. Box 773
Lincoln, IL 62656

Lincoln Parentsí Center


100 S. Maple
Lincoln, IL 62656

Lincoln Park District


1400 Primm Rd.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Logan County Department of Human Services (Public Aid)


1550 Fourth St., P.O. Box 310
Lincoln, IL 62656

Logan County Health Department


109 Third St., P.O. Box 508
Lincoln, IL 62656

Logan Mason Mental Health

(crisis line)

304 Eighth St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center


760 S. Postville Dr.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Oasis (Senior Citizens of Logan County)


501 Pulaski St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Project READ


620 Broadway St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Salvation Army


1501 N. Kickapoo
Lincoln, IL 62656

Senior Services of Central Illinois

(crisis line)

109 Third St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

Sojourn Shelter & Service Inc.

(217) 726-5200 (24-hour hotline)

1800 Westchester Blvd.
Springfield, IL 62704

U. of I. Division of Specialized Care for Children



421 S. Grand Ave. West, 2nd Floor
Springfield, IL 62704

U. of I. Extension Service


122 S. McLean St.
Lincoln, IL 62656

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