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Childhood growth and development (II)

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Pediatrics, Xanit salud | Posted on 26-04-2013

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The growth and development of a child in the first few years of his or her life establish an important foundation for the child’s long-term future development.  As we already mentioned in the post Childhood growth and development: Xanit Health” the way we evaluate the growth of newborns is through percentiles, specifically weight and height percentiles.

There are four different growth stages, all of which can be affected by genetic, hormonal, and nutritional factors:

  • Intrauterine stage: When the health of the mother and her habits heavily affect the baby’s future development.
  • Infancy and early childhood (0-3 years old): The stage distinguished by rapid growth, especially during the first year.
  • Middle childhood (4-10 years old): The stage when growth is most steady.
  • Adolescence: The stage denoted by the so-called growth spurt.

A lot of parents come to us to ask what it means that their child is in one percentile or another.  For example, a percentile of 25 percent would mean that of every 100 babies, 75 weigh more than more than your child. Consequently, a percentile of 50 percent would mean that your child is exactly in the middle of all the rest.  Following the same pattern, a height percentile of 75 percent would mean that of every 100 babies, 25 are taller than yours.  It is important to keep in mind that weight and height should be considered in comparison to one another.  Thus, if a child is in the 85th percentile for height, this should correspond to the 85th percentile for weight for his or her age as well.

Both the 25th and the 75th percentile are completely normal.  Only in cases where a child is under the 3rd percentile do we follow his or her growth closely to make sure that he or she is developing healthily.

It is essential to realize that this data is primarily meant to be used as a guide, and that the most important thing is to make sure that a child is growing steadily over time.  As such, we aim to verify that your child’s growth is stable, meaning above all that his or her height doesn’t come to a standstill and that he or she doesn’t lose weight for no reason.

It is common for parents to think that being short is synonymous with slow or atypical growth, but this is not necessarily true.  In fact, 3 percent of children who are classified as growing at a normal rate have a lower height or weight than they should for their age without there being anything wrong at all.

It is possible for a child to be born small (both height and weight-wise) and later grow to fit within the normal parameters.  According to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPAP), a minimum height of 47 centimeters and a minimum weight of 2.5 kg are considered normal for a baby born at or after 40 weeks of gestation.

In the cases of babies who have had some form of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), between 80 and 85% reach normal growth rates within their first year of life.  The main causes of IUGR are poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy, circulatory problems in the mother, infections during pregnancy that affect the developing baby, fetal problems, and maternal abuse of harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs.

As a result of the multiple factors involved in a child’s development, at our Unit for Childhood Growth and Development, for each case we see, we keep in mindelements such as family history, dietary habits, hereditary growth patterns, and even the psychosocial conditions in the child’s life.  To do so, we have made availableinnovative check-ups, specific programs for stimulation, family counseling, and our parent school, designed to aid you through every stage of childhood, from birth to adolescence.

Related posts:

Childhood growth and development: Xanit Health

Dr. Juan Pedro López Siguero

Pediatric Endocrinologist at Xanit International Hospital

Preventing vision problems with Xanit Health

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Xanit salud | Posted on 23-04-2013

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Low vision is not an illness, but rather a specific visual limitation typically associated with aging and caused by eye diseases. It is more common in older people and, sooner or later, we could all end up affected by it.

For this reason, the best way to prevent it is through early diagnosis. And, in fact, 80% of the cases of low vision could be prevented via regular eye exams.

In this post, Ricardo Roca, one of the optometrists of the Visual Health Unit at Xanit Health, will explain the diagnoses and rehabilitation techniques that are needed to help maximize the potential of the remaining useful vision of each patient. He will also describe how those suffering from low vision can manage it better in their daily lives and answer some of the questions about it that usually come up most frequently.
What are the main symptoms of low vision?

The loss of visual sharpness can express itself in multiple ways. For example, blurry vision in the middle of the field of vision, overall reduction of the field of vision, glare, or metamorphopsia. Metamorphopsia is also known as distorted vision, and results in changes in the size or shape of images.

Nonetheless, it is important to remember that low vision is not the same as blindness and that, as long as a person can distinguish shapes, there are ways to rehabilitate their vision.

How can we prevent and control low vision?

It is essential to go to yearly eye exams with our eye care specialist, rather than waiting for a change in our vision to make an appointment. We can also keep our eyes healthy by using sunglasses whenever it’s bright outside and by eating a healthy diet.

What is rehabilitation for patients with low vision like?

As long as a person has some remaining vision, there are helpful techniques and different types of training that can increase personal autonomy.

At our Visual Health Unit, we start by observing the visual capabilities of each patient. Then we prescribe the type of assistance that is needed and, after that, there is a period of training and adaptation to allow each person to learn to take full advantage of their remaining vision.

During rehabilitation, the resources used can be optical aids, electronic optical aids (with tools fabricated using the latest technology), non-optical aids (for example, altering posture, light contrast, or work/vision distance), or visual aids (which increase patient autonomy).

How often should I have an eye exam?

Assuming everything seems normal, once a year; however, if you notice changes to your eyes or eyesight, visit your eye care professional as soon as possible. In the case of patients who have an eye disease, it’s best to have an eye exam every six months, or possibly more often if your doctor recommends it. And, in the case of children, it is important that they have their first eye exam by the age of four.

What kinds of tests can the Visual Health Unit do to check for and detect visual impairment in patients?

Our Unit has all the resources necessary to carry out the following procedures: regular eye exams, measurement of intraocular pressure, campimetry (visual field testing), retinography, OCT (optical coherence tomography), and, of course, measurement of visual acuity at various distances.
Ricardo Roca
Optometrist
Visual Health Unit of Xanit Health

The approach to Parkinson’s in our Movement Disorders Unit

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Xanit salud | Posted on 15-04-2013

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Nowadays, we have the ability to greatly improve the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) by reducing the intensity of their symptoms.  Nonetheless, when someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, both they and their loved ones typically have a lot of questions about what the disease entails. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects more than one hundred and fifty thousand people in Spain alone.

In honor of  World Parkinson’s Day, we wanted to debunk some of the myths that surround the disease and answer some of the questions that come up most frequently during appointments:

  • Did you know that Parkinson’s is caused by multiple factors? There are certain susceptible genes that, in association with external factors, start the process of general neuronal degradation and, specifically, contribute to the degradation of the dopaminergic neurons.
  • Did you know that tremor is not the only symptom of Parkinson’s? Although it is one of the most recognizable signs, PD is a disorder that affects the whole body and can manifest itself in other ways.  For example, it can cause motor fluctuations—altering the speed and precision of motor skills—postural instability, tremor or other neuropsychiatric disturbances.  If not treated properly, all of these can increase in prevalence and/or intensity as the disease progresses.  Eventually, PD can affect other neurons and thus result in symptoms in other parts of the body, e.g. cognitive dysfunction, gastric dysmotility, constipation, urinary incontinence, or behavior and mood alterations.
  • Did you know that Parkinson’s doesn’t only affect older people?  Although the disease is more common in the elderly, 5% of the people who have PD are under the age of 40.
  • Did you know that research has revealed new ways to reduce the intensity of PD symptoms?  In addition to drug therapy, surgery has also proven useful to help treat motor symptoms.  Deep brain stimulationinvolves the implantation in the brain of a medical device called a brain pacemaker.  Other procedures that can alleviate PD symptoms are cell transplant therapy for “neural repair” of brain structures, or the use of vaccines to eliminate the abnormal accumulation of proteins.  In the case of genetic forms of the disease, gene therapy can also be useful.
  • Did you know that there are multiple techniques to fight against Parkinson’s?  Physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and biofeedback can all contribute greatly to the treatment of PD.

Here at Xanit International Hospital, we have a Movement Disorders Unit to provide ongoing, personalized care to patients and their families via the most up-to-date techniques available.

Our staff knows how important it is to take a comprehensive, integrated approach to patient care.  We think that it is essential that each person’s diverse needs be evaluated by all the relevant experts.  As a result, our team in the Neuroscience Department is supported by a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, speech therapists, and psychiatrists, in order to ensure that all the needs of every patient are covered.

Dr. Víctor Campos

Director of the Neuroscience Department at Xanit International Hospital

Xanit International Hospital with all our heart on World Health Day

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in cardiology with heart | Posted on 05-04-2013

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This year, to commemorate World Health Day on April 7th, the WHO (World Health Organization) has selected the theme of high blood pressure. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure poses a challenge that we are especially committed to here at Xanit International Hospital.

At our hospital, we have a Heart Care Center that offers patients sophisticated techniques such as cardiac catheterization, the ablation of atrial fibrillation, and treatment for arrhythmias.  The hospital’s department of cardiac surgery is known for its expertise in repairing both the mitral and the aortic valves, among other things.  As such, our Heart Care Center has become one of our most distinguished units.

I’m sure you are already aware that we are committed to always have on offerthe most personalized, state-of-the-art care available for any problem that may arise.

With this goal in mind, our team of specialists in cardiology—made up of clinical cardiologists, cardiologists specializing in hemodynamics, cardiac rhythmologists, and heart surgeons—provides patients with access to the most up-to-date diagnoses and treatments available internationally.

When we found out this year’s theme for World Health Day, we couldn’t help but think how appropriate it was.  At our hospital, we have a longstanding commitment to cardiovascular health. As you already know, Xanit International Hospital is collaborating on the Andalusia, Cardioprotected Territory project, and we’ve always had a soft spot for the promotion of greater awareness of the causes and consequences of cardiovascular disease.

In our country alone, high blood pressure affects more than fifteen million people.  Apart from that, it is a very common problem worldwide, affecting more than 20 percent of adults between the ages of 40 and 65, and almost 50 percent of adults over the age of 65.

In honor of World Health Day, we’d like to give you some advice on how to prevent high blood pressure.  In doing so, we are joining the efforts of the World Health Organization in 2013 to “reduce heart attacks and strokes”:

  • Eating a balanced diet isessential to maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.  The cornerstone of any balanced diet is the consumption of a lot of fruit, vegetables, fish, and legumes, and the reduction of intake of salt and sugar.
  • Regular physical activity, for at least 30 minutes a day, helps keep our hearts strong and our cardiovascular systems in shape.
  • Giving up the use of tobaccohelps reduce the risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes.
  • Furthermore, regular blood pressure monitoring also helps prevent strokes.  It is important to remember that hypertension does not produce advance warning signs.

Because for us, your health is always the most important thing.

Happy World Health Day.

Mercedes Mengíbar, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager

Xanit International Hospital