Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Talking About Depression

There has been a lot of talk about depression in the media since the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams last week. Several reports note that Williams suffered from depression before he took his own life. But what exactly is depression, and who gets it?

The National Library of Medicine notes that "depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a longer period of time." Go here for a easy-to-read printable pamphlet from the National Library of Medicine that explains the basics of depression.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 10 percent of American adults report experiencing depression; major depression especially affects those between the ages of 45 and 64, women, people with less than a high school education, blacks, Hispanics, those of mixed race, the unemployed, people who used to be married but no longer are, and those without access to health insurance coverage.

There is a lot of good information online about depression, including this page from the American Psychiatric Association, which features videos of people describing their personal experiences with depression. If you think that you may be experiencing depression, check out this page from the Centers for Disease Control, which offers ways to discuss depression with your doctor.

While there are several possible causes of depression (everything from stress to hormones to life changes and a multitude of other things), it's important to note that depression often accompanies other illnesses. For information on depression and its relationship to other specific conditions, visit this link list from the National Library of Medicine. In this list, you'll find everything from dementia to HIV/AIDS to chronic pain.

For more depression information, check out the links below:
As always, the St. Louis Public Library has several books that focus on depression. Check the Dewey Decimal call number 616.8527 in the non-fiction section of your branch, or take a peek at the titles listed below:
  • Depression Sourcebook, edited by Amy L. Sutton
  • Breaking Free From Depression: Pathways to Wellness by Jesse H. Wright and Laura W. McCray
  • Depression and Bipolar Disorder: Your Guide to Recovery by William R. Marchand
  • Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions: Self-Management of Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Depression, Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema and Other Physical and Mental Health Conditions by Kate Lorig
  • The Feel Good Factor by Patrick Holford
  • First Steps Out of Depression by Sue Atkinson
  • Dealing with Depression: Understanding and Overcoming the Symptoms of Depression by Caroline Shreeve
  • The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed & What You Can Do to Change It by Margaret Wehrenberg
  • Climbing out of Depression: A Practical Guide to Real and Immediate Help by Sue Atkinson
  • The Depression Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 275 Critical Questions About Medication, Therapy, Support & More by Wes Burgess

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Prostate Cancer Walk This Weekend!

Check out this event featuring one of our community partners!

This Saturday, August 9, 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis will host its annual Community Health Day at Harris-Stowe State University. The event will feature the 12th annual Prostate Cancer Survivor and Awareness Run/Walk, as well as a Zumba session, family workshops, and prostate cancer screening from the Prostate Cancer Community Partnership through our partners at the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities.

Pre-registration for the event is $20, while registration the day of the event is $25 and starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday. For information, call 314-367-7778 or visit www.100blackmenstl2014.kintera.org.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Free Health Screenings for Kids on August 2

Join the St. Louis Public Library for a free Back-to-School Health Fair next Saturday, August 2. The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Locust Street on the north side of Central Library, 1301 Olive St. downtown.

We'll have demonstrations on water safety and plenty of health screenings available, including vision, hearing, lead, and asthma screening, as well as dental, nutrition, ADHD, health insurance, and general health information from a wide variety of partners.

We'll have lots of fun at the fair too, with popcorn, a visit from the St. Louis Fire Department, face painting, and a visit from Snowbaby the Clown. Best of all, everything is free and no registration is necessary!

For more information, call Kara at 314-539-0390. We look forward to seeing you next Saturday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Join the Library for a Chat About Diabetes


According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes. What’s even more startling is that, of those, more than 8 million don’t know they have it.

To help raise awareness about the disease, the St. Louis Public Library and its partners will present “Diabetes: What’s New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?” The program will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22 in the Carnegie Room at Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. It will feature Certified Diabetes Educator Jennifer Markee and pharmacist Amy Drew, who will discuss this increasingly prevalent disease and the ways in which it can be treated and managed.

A consultant for the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition and the OASIS Institute, Markee is a medical social worker and a certified diabetes educator through the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Drew is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a practicing pharmacist at the Ambulatory Clinic at Mercy Clinic Family Medicine.

“In the last 10 to 15 years, there has been such an increase in the diagnosis of diabetes. It’s becoming more pervasive,” Markee said. “One out of five Americans has diabetes so this is important for people to look at and not sweep under the rug.”

Markee said that a diabetes diagnosis often comes with a dose of guilt, as people often automatically assume that they did something wrong to deserve the diagnosis. However, diabetes is part lifestyle and part hereditary. “It becomes this elephant in the room, and people think it’s not valid enough to talk about in conversation,” she said.

At the July 22 event, Markee said she hopes to remove some of that stigma, and to help people learn about the symptoms and warning signs of diabetes, as well as how it is diagnosed, and help them get started on developing a support system to learn more about this chronic disease. She and Drew will also discuss some of the ways that diabetes can be controlled, including exercise habits and reading nutrition labels.

“Diabetes: What’s New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?” is the third presentation in “Can I Catch That?,” the St. Louis Public Library’s 2014 Consumer Health Information Speaker Series. The fourth presentation, “See No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Story Your Eyes and Mouth Tell About Your Health,” will take place on Tuesday, October 28 at Central Library. For more information on this series and other health events at the Library, call 314.539.0390.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Are You At Risk for Diabetes?

All month on the blog, we're talking about diabetes. And we know that some of you are thinking, "Well, I don't have diabetes. Why should I care about this?" Well, considering how many people across the country do have Type 2 diabetes, chances are you know someone who does have diabetes, whether it's a friend, co-worker, or family member.

And then there's the fact of prediabetes, a condition in which someone's blood sugar levels are elevated, though not enough to JUSTIFY a diagnosis of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 79 million Americans, and half of those over the age of 65, have prediabetes. The truly scary part though is that just 7% of those with diabetes know that they have it, and many of those with prediabetes show no symptoms. If only for that reason, it's worth taking a look at prediabetes and the risk factors associated with diabetes.

For good, easy-to-print information on prediabetes, check out this handout from the American Diabetes Association. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse also has some great information on prediabetes, including a list of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to be tested for prediabetes. Among those factors are being over the age of 45 and being overweight in combination with any of the following:
  • being physically inactive
  • having a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • having a history of gestational diabetes
  • being African American, Latino, Pacific Islander, Native American, or Asian American (these populations typically have higher concentrations of those with diabetes)
There are also several interactive tools online that can help you determine your risk for diabetes. While these should not be considered definitive, they can help you figure out what to talk to your doctor about in regard to diabetes. Here are a couple tools to try:
  • The Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University School of Medicine's Your Disease Risk covers diabetes, as well as several other diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
  • The American Diabetes Association has a page devoted to tools to help determine Type 2 diabetes risk, including a short questionnaire.
If you think you might be at risk of diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association's website, which has a whole section devoted to ways in which you can lower your risk through exercise, eating right, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Stay tuned this month for more information about diabetes!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Type 1? Type 2? An Introduction to Diabetes

This month, The Good Health Blog Spot is focusing on diabetes. To kick that off, let's start at the beginning: So what exactly is diabetes?

The National Library of Medicine defines diabetes as "a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there is a high level of sugar in the blood." The definition goes on to explain that diabetes is related to insulin, a hormone created in the pancreas to control blood sugar by breaking down glucose in food; diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, a resistance to insulin, or a combination of both. "People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot move sugar into fat, liver, and muscle cells to be stored for energy."

There are three main types of diabetes:
  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Gestational
Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, and is generally diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. Those with Type 1 diabetes have immune systems that attack and destroy cells in the pancreas, blocking the creation of insulin. For this reason, those with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day in order to survive. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, scientists don't yet know what causes Type 1 diabetes, though it may have something to do with autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors.

The JDRF is an excellent source of information on Type 1 diabetes, especially this list of symptoms and warning signs and this page devoted to common myths and misconceptions about Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, occurring when your body does not produce enough insulin to convert glucose into energy. While this type of diabetes occasionally occurs in younger people, it is most often diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults; it is also the type most commonly associated with obesity and inactivity.

There are several excellent online resources for those who have, or are at risk for, Type 2 diabetes, including the American Diabetes Association (which has a large section of its website dedicated to Type 2 diabetes) and the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Gestational diabetes is the third, and least common, form of the condition. This form of diabetes occurs only in women who have elevated levels of blood glucose while pregnant, even though they did not have diabetes or high glucose levels before becoming pregnant. The NDIC is a good introductory resource for information on gestational diabetes.

For more information on diabetes, join the St. Louis Public Library and our partners for "Diabetes: What's New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22 in Central Library's Carnegie Room. And keep checking the blog during July!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's Talk About Diabetes at the Library

As we head into July, the St. Louis Public Library is turning its focus to diabetes. Diagnoses of the chronic condition is on the rise nationwide, with more than more than 29 million cases across the country, according to the American Diabetes Association. Having diabetes can have an impact on all aspects of your health, including increasing your risk for other serious health problems.

To help raise awareness and educate about diabetes, the Library has partnered with OASIS to provide free 6-week classes to help those with diabetes manage their disease. Led by certified diabetes educators, these classes will take place at several branches throughout the city, starting July 10 at the Schlafly Branch. Registration is required; to secure a spot, call 1-855-805-6168. For a full list of times, dates, and locations, check out our page of Upcoming Events.

On July 22, the third event in our Consumer Health Information Speaker Series will also focus on diabetes. Can I Catch That? Diabetes: What's New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It? will feature Certified Diabetes Educator Jennifer Markee and pharmacist Amy Drew discussing the best ways to prevent and treat diabetes. The event will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22 in the Carnegie Room at Central Library.

Check back to the blog throughout July as we offer more insight into diabetes!