Thursday, August 15, 2013
Bad habits can catch up to you eventually
If we lose the bet, we are likely to lose our life with it.
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
I sometimes meet people who try to justify their bad habits. They will tell me a story about someone they knew. That individual had a bad habit. It might have been that the person was a smoker. It might have been that the person was obese. It might have been any other bad habit. They then proceed to tell me that despite the habit, the individual lived to a very old age. What these individuals are trying to say is that they plan on being just like the person who lived to a very old age with the bad habit. In fact, that might be the case. However, most of the time that is not what actually happens. In medicine when we discuss bad habits we use statistics. What statistics tell us are the odds. Not everyone who smokes develops lung cancer. Not everyone who chews tobacco develops mouth cancer. Not every alcoholic develops cirrhosis of the liver. However, the chances of those things happening to an individual are high. It is similar to going to the race track. If you bet on the favorite, the horse is likely to win. However, you do not win much money. If you bet on the long shot, the horse is not likely to win. If it does win, then you win a lot of money. They could be able to avoid the problems altogether without the bad habits. But they are thinking that they will be the ones who will be the exception. It really does not matter which bad habit you are talking about. The statistics will remain the same. You just need to hope you are not one of the statistics. For example, I was driving toward Greenwood last week. I passed a woman. She was holding a cell phone up to her ear with her right hand. She had an ice cream cone in her left hand. Her left arm was through the steering wheel so she could use it to drive. When I passed her, I looked in my rear view mirror. She drifted on to the shoulder. She drifted off to the left lane. Then she made a left turn in Greenwood. She beat the statistics that time. However, if enough people drove that way, there would be a lot more accidents. Then someone would have to tell people not to drive that way. Really??? It does not matter if our bad habits might cause accidents. It does not matter if our bad habits might cause illnesses. The bottom line is that each one that we have allows us to flirt with dangerous situations. Yes indeed we might know someone who did that for years successfully. Having those habits is like betting on the horse that is the long shot. It might not be likely to come in. However, if it does, the consequences will be big. If we lose the bet, we are likely to lose our life with it. The question is whether that is a bet that we might not mind losing.

Fall-prevention program expanding for seniors To meet the health needs of Delaware's fast-growing senior population, the Department of Health and Social Services is expanding free fall-prevention classes statewide called, A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls. The program, which is designed to reduce fear and increase activity levels among older adults, has been offered through the RSVP programs in New Castle and Sussex counties with more than 330 people taking the classes. The program will now also be offered in Kent County. "By 2030, Delaware will have the ninth-highest proportion of persons age 65 or older among all states," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "Classes like Matter of Balance will help to provide the supports and services that our growing number of older Delawareans will need to age safely and with dignity in their homes." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls at least once a year. Many of these falls are largely preventable. Because of this anxiety of falling, many older adults often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. A Matter of Balance classes are led by master trainers and are limited to 12 seniors per class to give attendees a personalized experience. The classes utilize a variety of activities to address physical, social and cognitive factors affecting the fear of falling and to teach fall prevention strategies. After completing the class, participants have demonstrated noticeable improvements in their levels of fall management, fall control, exercise, and social limitations with regard to concerns about falling. A class will be held in Sussex County in Millsboro at American Legion Post #28 on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 10 through Oct. 29. For more information or to register, contact April Willey at 856-5815.

Steven Rose, RN, MN, named to AHA board Steven Rose, RN, MN, chief executive officer at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, has been elected to the board of trustees for the American Hospital Association (AHA). Rose's three-year term begins on Jan. 1, 2014. "A big congratulations to our friend and colleague Steve Rose who is the first Delawarean ever named to the national Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association - which dates back to 1898," said Wayne Smith, president of the Delaware Healthcare Association. "Steve will be helping to set national hospital industry policies as our nation moves to implement the Affordable Care Act." Currently, Rose serves as the chair of the Delaware Hospital Association Board of Directors and is a member of AHA's Regional Policy Board 3. He also chairs the Southern Delaware Chapter of the American Heart and Stroke Association Board and has been appointed by Governor Jack Markell to the Governor's Hispanic Commission.

Autism Delaware open house Enjoy an informal evening of information and light refreshments with the staff of Delaware's premier autism agency on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Milton office. On hand to discuss the agency's current status, Autism Delaware's executive director Teresa Avery will also present the challenges of the future and answer questions about Autism Delaware's strategic plan. Come and share your family's most pressing needs. Children are welcome, but child care is not available. R.S.V.P. at or 302-224-6020, ext. 203.

Bike to the Bay for MS Bike to the Bay presented by NRG Indian River Generating Station is Sept. 21-22. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Bike to the Bay is the largest and longest running bike ride in Delaware. The goal is to raise MS awareness and $1 million to support national multiple sclerosis research as well as programs and services needed by more than 1,550 Delawareans with MS. Bike to the Bay attracts more than 1,800 bicyclists. The ride covers much of Kent and Sussex counties, with a choice of six route options, and finishes at the Towers at Delaware Seashore State Park, just south of Dewey Beach. For more information and to register, visit or call 302-655-5610.

Weight management program offered Aquacare Rehabilitation Services is pleased to offer a weight management program to the community. The 8 to 12 week weight management program includes:
  • A comprehensive evaluation in which an individualized weight management program is developed.
  • Weekly hourly sessions with a physical therapist which may include the development of an exercise program.
  • Weekly water aerobic sessions. The water allows patients to exercise with less impact to joints.
  • Nutritional counseling.
  • Unlimited access to gym and pool to independently work toward their exercise goals.
Many times patients with obesity have other underlying problems that may benefit from therapy. If these underlying problems are present, this program will be covered by some insurances. If the individual is referred for physical therapy, the client will work one on one with a licensed physical therapist. To schedule a free screening at the Seaford office, call 536-1774.

DBCC hosts kayaking event The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) will host a "Nurture with Nature" event for breast cancer survivors at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, at Assawoman Bay. Led by teacher/naturalist and 12-year breast cancer survivor, Deloris Donnelly, participants will kayak the shores of Fenwick Beach. Participants are asked to pack a swimsuit and a brown bag dinner for a poolside picnic-dinner at Deloris's home in Fenwick to watch the sun set on the bay. The event is open to all breast cancer survivors and costs $5 for admission; no experience is necessary. Choice between single or tandem (double) kayaks will be offered. For more information, contact Lois Wilkinson of DBCC at 302-672-6435 or 302-242-2895 or email

Memory Café at Ocean View Cheer A Memory Café for people with memory loss and their caregivers will be held on Monday, Aug. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Ocean View Cheer Coastal Leisure Center. "Pets" will be the theme of August's Memory Café, and participants may bring along friendly, sociable pets from home, but call first. Attendees will also enjoy live music, refreshments and a presentation by Paws for People. Educational materials and experts in the field will be available. The caregiver/family member is responsible for their loved one. Registration is requested for planning purposes, but not required. Register or learn more by contacting Yolanda Gallego at or 302-539-2671.

Diabetes education program Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a four-session diabetes education program on Aug. 27, Sept. 3, 10, and 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the hospital. Registration is required. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend the weekly sessions. To register and to obtain additional information regarding the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Walgreens supports Aids Walk Through the month of August, Walgreens stores in Delaware will be selling Red Ribbons in support of the Delaware AIDS Walk, scheduled to take place on Sept. 28, at the Wilmington Riverfront and Grove Park in Rehoboth Beach. The Red Ribbons will be available at Walgreens store cash registers to customers for a $1 donation as they checkout. For more information about the AIDS Walk or to register to walk, call 302-652-6776 or visit