FY 2001 Grants are in Full Swing
In July, Governor George H. Ryan announced the awarding of $2 million in grants to local health departments and other organizations to address the special health problems that women face at every stage of life. A total of 58 grants were awarded in two categorieswomens health initiatives received $1,345,000 and osteoporosis awareness and prevention received $630,000. Governor Ryan pushed for a $300,000 increase in this years grants, which are being awarded for the third year.
Womens health initiative funds are earmarked for innovative programs that encourage healthy lifestyles in women and girls of all ages and support community outreach, health promotion, education and research. In addition to healthy lifestyles, priorities include menopause, mental health, breast and cervical cancer, domestic violence and cardiovascular disease.
Osteoporosis grants were awarded based on priorities that include professional and public education; bone screenings with case management and follow-up; and clinical research to compare, analyze and develop intervention strategies addressing risk factors associated with the disease. Both grant programs are coordinated by staff of the Office of Womens Health.
Fiscal Year 2001 Womens Health Initiative Grants
Adams County Health Department
Crawford County Health Department
Eastside Health District
Menard County Health Department
Moultrie County Health Department
Provena United Samaritans Medical Center
Roseland Christian Health Ministries
St. Clair County health Department
Montgomery County Health Department
Village of Oak Park Health Department
Vision in Progress
Washington County Health Department
White Crane Wellness Center
Winnebago County Health Department
Pilsen Homeless Services
Healthy Families of Chicago
Korean American Community Services
Sinai Community Institute
Female Adolescent Health
DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
Tazewell County Health Department
Lake County Health Department
PCC Community Wellness
A Safe Place/Lake County Crisis Center
South Suburban Family Shelter, Inc.
Northern Illinois University
Rush Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center
Illinois Dental Hygienists Association
Southern Illinois University Medical School
Y-me National Breast Cancer Organization
Sarah Bush Lincoln
Bureau County Health Department
Kane County Health Department
FY01 Osteoporosis Grants
Aunt Marthas Youth Service Center
Decatur Memorial Hospital
DuPage County Health Department
Edgar County Public Health Department
Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department
Howard Brown Health Center
Jackson County Health Department
Jersey County Health Department
John Wood Community College
Knox County YMCA
Lake Forest Hospital
Livingston County Health Department
Logan County Health Department
McLean County Health Department
Mercer County Health Department
Ogle County Health Department
Pike County Health Department
St. Marys Good Samaritan, Inc.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Mark your calendar
October Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Call the OWH Helpline for materials or referrals to agencies in your area.
October 26 2nd Annual Womens Night Out
Held in Clinton, Illinois, the event features screenings, exhibits, speakers on perimenopause and osteoarthritis, and supper. All this for $5! Contact DeWitt County Health Department for details at 217-762-7911.
November 1 and 2 Womens Health Conference in Rosemont
P.S. to the Summer Newsletter
The summer newsletter may have sparked your interest in alternative medicine. For information on licensed practitioners in Illinois, including some alternative medicine practitioners, check out the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations website: http://www.dpr.state.il.us/licenselookup/defaultn.htm
Female: Male Ratios in Autoimmune Diseases
Hashimoto's disease/hypothyroiditis 50:1
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.
Autoimmune Disease in Women
The term "autoimmune disease" refers to a varied group of more than 80 serious, chronic illnesses that involve almost every human organ system. It includes diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems, as well as skin and other connective tissues, eyes, blood and blood vessels. In all of these diseases, the underlying problem is similar--the body's immune system becomes misdirected, attacking the very organs it was designed to protect.
For reasons not understood, about 75 percent occur in women, most frequently during the childbearing years. The accompanying list shows the femaletomale ratios in autoimmune diseases. Hormones are thought to play a role, because some autoimmune illnesses occur more frequently after menopause, others suddenly improve during pregnancy, with flareups occurring after delivery, while still others will get worse during pregnancy.
Autoimmune diseases also seem to have a genetic component, but, mysteriously, they can cluster in families as different illnesses. For example, a mother may have lupus erythematosus; her daughter, diabetes; her grandmother, rheumatoid arthritis. Research is shedding light on genetic, as well as hormonal and environmental risk factors that contribute to the causes of these diseases.
Individually, autoimmune diseases are not very common, with the exception of thyroid disease, diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, taken as a whole, they represent the fourth largest cause of disability among women in the United States.
Autoimmune diseases remain among the most poorly understood and poorly recognized of any category of illnesses. Individual diseases range from the benign to the severe. Symptoms vary widely, notably from one illness to another, but even within the same disease. And because the diseases affect multiple body systems, their symptoms are often misleading, which hinders accurate diagnosis. To help women live longer, healthier lives, a better understanding of these diseases is needed, as well as providing early diagnosis and treatment.
The major autoimmune diseases fall into four categories: Connective Tissue Diseases, Neuromuscular Diseases, Endocrine Diseases and Gastrointestinal Diseases.
Connective tissue diseases
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
An inflammation of the connective tissues, SLE (commonly called lupus) can afflict every organ system. It is up to nine times more common in women than men and strikes black women three times as often as white women. The condition is aggravated by sunlight.
Symptoms: Fever, weight loss, hair loss, mouth and nose sores, malaise, fatigue, seizures and symptoms of mental illness. Ninety percent of patients experience joint inflammation similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Fifty percent develop a classic "butterfly" rash on the nose and cheeks. Raynaud's phenomenon (extreme sensitivity to cold in the hands and feet) appears in about 20 percent of people with SLE.
Treatment: Anti-inflammatory drugs can help control arthritis symptoms; skin lesions may respond to topical treatment such as corticosteroid creams. Oral steroids, such as prednisone, are used for the systemic symptoms. Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors is recommended.
Prognosis: Once a disease with high mortality, SLE is now a chronic disease because of new treatment approaches. It is estimated that 97 percent of individuals with SLE live at least five years, and 90 percent live at least 10 years after diagnosis, as compared with just 50 percent living more than four years in 1954. African Americans with SLE appear to have earlier onset, experience a more severe disease, and die earlier than Caucasians with SLE.
Symptoms: Inflamed and/or deformed joints, loss of strength, swelling, pain.
Treatment: Rest and exercise; anti-inflammatory drugs when necessary.
Prognosis: With proper treatment, education, and changes in lifestyle, most women with rheumatoid arthritis live long and productive lives.
Systemic sclerosis (Scleroderma)
Scleroderma is an activation of immune cells which produces scar tissue in the skin, internal organs and small blood vessels. It affects women three times more often than men overall, but increases to a rate 15 times greater for women during childbearing years, and appears to be more common among black women.
Symptoms: In most patients, the first symptoms are Raynaud's phenomenon and swelling and puffiness of the fingers or hands. Skin thickening follows a few months later. Other symptoms include skin ulcers on the fingers, joint stiffness in the hands, pain, sore throat, and diarrhea.
Treatment: The drug Dpenicillamine has been shown to decrease skin thickening. Symptoms involving other organs such as the kidneys, esophagus, intestines, and blood vessels are treated individually.
Prognosis: No cure exists, but timely intervention can improve the quality of life.
Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic, slowly progressing inability to secrete saliva and tears. It can occur alone or with rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or systemic lupus erythematosus. Nine out of 10 cases occur in women, most often at or around midlife.
Symptoms: Dryness of the eyes and mouth, swollen neck glands, difficulty swallowing or talking, unusual tastes or smells, thirst, tongue ulcers, and severe dental caries.
Treatment: Interventions to keep the mouth and eyes moist include drinking a lot of fluids and using eyedrops, as well as good oral hygiene and eye care.
Prognosis: The disease has a benign course, but in rare cases malignant cancer of the lymph nodes may develop.
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
A disease of the central nervous system that usually first appears between the ages of 20 and 40 and affects women twice as often as men, MS is the leading cause of disability among young adults.
Symptoms: Numbness, weakness, tingling or paralysis in one or more limbs, impaired vision and eye pain, tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait, and rapid involuntary eye movement. A history of at least two episodes of a cluster of symptoms is necessary for a diagnosis of MS. Because MS affects the central nervous system, symptoms may be misdiagnosed as mental illness.
Treatment: The drug baclofen is used to suppress muscle spasticity, and corticosteroids help reduce inflammation. Interferons also are being used to treat this disease.
Prognosis: The disease is degenerative, often with a fluctuating course. Average life expectancy is 35 years after onset of symptoms. Most people with MS can function effectively; however, a rare form of acute MS can be fatal within weeks.
This is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by gradual muscle weakness, often appearing first in the face.
Symptoms: Drooping eyelids, double vision, and difficulty breathing, talking, chewing, and swallowing.
Treatment: The drug edrophonium along with daily rest periods can improve muscle strength.
Prognosis: Treatment can induce remission, and people can lead productive lives.
GuillainBarré syndrome is an acute illness that causes severe nerve damage. Twothirds of all cases occur after a viral infection.
Symptoms: Tingling in the fingers and toes, general muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, and, in severe cases, paralysis.
Treatment: Supportive care until the condition is stabilized, then rehabilitation therapy combined with whirlpool baths to relieve pain and facilitate retraining of movements. A process called plasmapheresis, which removes plasma and nervedamaging antibodies from the blood, is used during the first few weeks after a severe attack and may improve the chance of a full recovery.
Prognosis: Most patients recover after a period of months, but some permanent impairment remains in about 10 percent of cases. The mortality rate is 3 to 4 percent.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the thyroid, the gland that helps set the rate of metabolism. It attacks women 50 times more often than men.
Symptoms: Low levels of thyroid hormone cause mental and physical slowing, greater sensitivity to cold, weight gain, coarsening of the skin, and goiter (a swelling of the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland).
Treatment: Thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Prognosis: Most patients regain normal health with treatment.
Graves' disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 13 million people and targeting women seven times as often as men. Patients with Graves' disease produce an excessive amount of thyroid hormone.
Symptoms: Weight loss due to increased energy expenditure; increased appetite, heart rate, and blood pressure; tremors, nervousness and sweating; frequent bowel movements.
Treatment: Antithyroid drug therapy or removal of the thyroid gland surgically or by radioiodine.
Prognosis: If left untreated, Graves' disease can be fatal. In most cases, however, normal health can be restored.
Insulindependent (Type I) diabetes
Type I diabetes is caused by too little insulin production in the pancreas, and usually occurs in children and young adults, but it can occur at any age.
Symptoms: Increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent infections.
Treatment: Monitoring of diet and insulin.
Prognosis: Diabetes is relatively easy to control with proper medical attention, and acute complications are increasingly rare. However, long-term complications such as disorders of the eye, kidney, circulatory system, and nerve fibers are common. If left untreated, diabetes can result in death.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease describes two autoimmune disorders of the small intestine--Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms of Crohn's disease: Persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and general fatigue.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis: Bloody diarrhea, pain, urgent bowel movements, joint pains, and skin lesions.
In both diseases, there is a risk of significant weight loss and malnutrition.
Treatment: Antidiarrheal pills or bulk formers for mild cases. For more serious cases, antiinflammatory drugs are effective. Corticosteroids are reserved for acute flareups of these diseases. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove obstructions or repair perforation of the colon.
Prognosis: With proper management, patients can continue to function normally. For patients who have ulcerative colitis, the risk of colon cancer increases with time. Physicians may recommend removal of the colon.
Through the Illinois Arthritis Initiative, Illinois Department of Public Health is developing a resource guide listing arthritis-related services and resources for persons affected by the disease. The guide, which will be available in the Fall of 2000, was developed in collaboration with the Greater Chicago Arthritis Foundation (serving Chicago and surrounding counties) and the Greater Illinois Arthritis Foundation Chapter (serving downstate Illinois). These two chapters, along with 13 branch offices, have numerous programs and services offering information and support for persons affected by arthritis. They also sponsor many activities to help people manage their arthritis, to improve daily functioning and to lead more independent lives. For more information about the IDPH Initiative or about the resource guide, contact Rhonda Clancy, M.S., CHES, IDPH Arthritis Program Coordinator at 217-782-3300. To inquire about Arthritis Foundation resources, or to locate a branch office in your area, call the Greater Illinois Chapter at 309-682-6600 or the Greater Chicago Chapter at 312-616-3473.
Research Priorities Set
A national task force of 15 basic researchers and clinicians spent 18 months assessing what is known about autoimmune diseases and proposed an aggressive research agenda aimed at understanding why men and women respond differently to these illnesses
The groups report, published in the journal Science in February 1999, recommends five distinct research areas which may explain these differences and, perhaps, even offer new treatments against the diseases.
The five major scientific questions which should govern future research include:
The primary goal of the study is to increase researchers' awareness of these differences and suggest that they consider gender differences in designing new studies. Funding for these studies is available from the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. For more information, contact Caroline Whitacre at Ohio State University, Whitacre.firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-292-5889
Dont Miss the 2nd Annual Womens Health Conference
Plan to attend the second annual womens health conference, "Shaping the Future of Womens Health", at the Rosemont Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, on November 1 and 2, 2000.
The planning committee has recruited an all-star lineup for this years conference. Listing the highlights is difficult, since every session will contain cutting-edge information presented by dynamic experts in the field of womens health. Nevertheless, here are a few good reasons to register and attend:
The Automated External Defibrillator Training Course
Become certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of the automated external defibrillator.
Positive Psychology and Womens Health: Tools and Strategies for Behavior Change
Learn how to help clients make behavior change using positive psychology techniques.
It is an honor to welcome Dr. Wanda Jones to Illinois as the keynote speaker to kick off our conference. In her role as director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Womens Health, Dr. Jones has focused on eliminating health disparities for women through a variety of programs and initiatives. Meet Dr. Jones and hear her perspective on whats happening nationally in womens health.
The heart of the conference is the workshop agenda. This years 25 sessions (five concurrent sessions of five), range from the "Latest Research and Treatment for Migraine Headaches" to "Cognitive Dysfunction Among Women with HIV." The conference ends with a general session panel, "Beyond Hotflashes: The Impact of Hormones on Heart, Breasts and Bones."
Take time to visit several of twenty roundtable discussion groups lead by staff of successful womens health projects. Besides offering up-to-date information on a variety of subjects, the discussion groups offer a terrific networking opportunity.
Visit with exhibitors and colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere. Hors doeuvres and music will be provided.
For More Information
Call the Office of Womens Health at 217-524-6088 or the Helpline at 888-522-1282 with your questions or to get a conference registration brochure. We hope to see you in Rosemont!