Taking Heart Health Seriously In Young People

Twelve-year-old Amelia very likely could have been looking at emergency dialysis in her 20s. Because her chronic kidney disease was detected while she was still in middle school, Amelia has a fighting chance to keep her disease from progressing.

“This program probably saved this young lady from showing up in an emergency room at age 25, feeling terrible and being told that she has kidney disease and needs to start dialysis,” said Dr. Margaret Bock, a kidney specialist with Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Amelia is being treated.

Bock is talking about UCHealth Healthy Hearts, a 26-year-old program that screened about 7,000 Colorado students in 110 schools in Larimer and Weld counties during the 2017-18 school year. Healthy Hearts teams up with school districts’ health classes to provide heart health education to more than 12,000 kids annually. About 65 percent of these kids also participate in the program’s free cardiovascular school health screenings.

A screening for Amelia detected high blood pressure — generally rare in children, though concerning in a healthy and athletic preteen. The team of nurses followed up and called her mother, Kari.

The call was enough for Kari and her husband, Doug, to schedule an appointment with their family physician.


Something’s not right

Amelia’s blood pressure reading with Healthy Hearts was 156/112. For children, the normal systolic range (top number) falls between 90 and 110.

“Her reading really stood out,” said NaNet Jenkins, manager of Healthy Hearts.

Numerous studies have shown that elevated blood pressure in childhood increases the risk for high blood pressure and other health issues in adulthood, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These kids also experience accelerated heart aging, which is the main reason why Healthy Hearts includes blood pressure in screenings.

Another reason is that high blood pressure — as with chronic kidney disease — usually has no symptoms.

“It was a good thing (Healthy Hearts) caught this,” Bock reiterated. “Now we can work to keep Amelia healthy. She knows what she has and can figure out what to do best to keep healthy.”


The kidneys and high blood pressure

The kidneys — two fist-sized organs located on either side of the spine below the rib cage — serve as the body’s filtration system. They filter the body’s blood — either adding or removing water and chemicals based on the body’s need — and excrete that waste in the form of urine.

But they do a whole lot of things besides excrete urine, according to Bock.

“They also take care of growth in children, bone health, and making new red blood cells,” she said. “Amelia is not at the stage of disease where the kidneys are not filtering the blood (the process which dialysis mimics), but when kidney disease progresses it can also affect intellectual development.”

Kidney disease can result in high blood pressure, and high blood pressure can further damage the kidneys. In Amelia’s case, high blood pressure wasn’t the cause of her disease but a result of it.

Amelia’s cause of kidney disease was actually bilateral renal hypodysplasia, when a person is born with small kidneys, affecting how efficiently they function.

High blood pressure can further damage kidneys, so Bock is treating Amelia’s high blood pressure.


Living with chronic kidney disease

Since Amelia’s disease was caught early, doctors can be proactive in her treatment, Kari said.

“Her kidney function is about 35 percent, but when it drops under 28 to 30 percent, then we’ll need to start a preemptive kidney donor search,” she said. “If she can get a transplant before she hits stage 5 and needs dialysis, then I’m told her body takes better to the transplant.”

In the meantime, Amelia continues to be an active teenager. She’s dancing — something she’s been doing since she was 3 — and she went on a school trip to Ireland right after her diagnosis.

“She doesn’t like to talk about it, but we don’t downplay it because she’ll have to live with it the rest of her life,” Kari said. “She has to manage her health.”

Read the full story at: https://www.uchealth.org/today/2018/08/31/taking-heart-health-seriously-in-young-people/

Ballet Keeps on Trockin’

Some people may not know what to expect when the all-male ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo chassés onto The Lincoln Center stage on January 24. Is it a comedy? Is it a traditional ballet? The answer – it’s both amazingly exquisite dance and it’s a rollickin’ fun time!

Presenting playful yet reverent renditions of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and en travesti (as women), the Trockaderos are widely hailed for their impeccable comic timing and astounding ability to dance en pointe.

Although “The Trocks” have been a popular returning troupe over the years, that doesn’t mean you’ll see the same show when they storm our stage once again.

“The company is always changing,” says Carlos Hopuy, a principal dancer that portrays both Alla Snizova and Innokenti Smoktumuchsky. “Many companies have a similar repertoire, but we bring a different concept to it.” The Trocks are different not only because they are an all-male ballet company, but because each dancer plays two roles: a male and a female.

For Hopuy, who formally performed with the National Ballet of Cuba, National Ballet of Costa Rica, and Ballet San Antonio, joining the Trockaderos was a dream. “I love being able to dance every role,” he says.

When asked how long it takes to put on makeup now that he’s a Trock, he quips, “About 35 minutes. When I was in more traditional ballet, it only took ten.”

The community is in for even more of a treat at The Trocks will be presenting a Master Class at CSU thanks to financial support from the Lincoln Center Support League. The classes are open to everyone, regardless of dance experience. “The students should be very excited because they will see a very different environment than a traditional ballet master class. They will have a lot of fun even as they learn,” says Hopuy. “ Plus, even guys can do point shoe work if they want!”

Don’t miss Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo January 24th! Tickets are limited and start at $15 at LCtix.com.

Mavis Staples: Music to Change the World

Mavis Staples’ soul-stirring voice has been a part of the fabric of gospel, soul, blues, folk, pop, R&B, and rock music for more than 60 years. On January 20th, Staples’ legendary raw and rasping voice, which became an anthem for the civil rights movement, will fill The Lincoln Center Performance Hall.

At 80 years old, the iconic singer is more relevant than ever, collaborating with chart-topping artists like Hozier, Gorillaz, Bon Iver, and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy just to name a few. Staples’ most recent album If All I Was Was Black addresses racism in America today, where the present is filled with ghosts of the past.

Staples recalls a time in 1964 when it almost ended before it started. After performing a Staple Singers show, her family stopped for gas. When Staples asked for a receipt, the gas attendant called her a slur and told her she would have to go back to the office for it. Her father went in her place. The attendant called him the same slur and her father grabbed the slip from the attendant’s hand and hit him. The attendant came after them with a crowbar. The family fled and headed for the state line, but not before the attendant called the police claiming that the Staples’ had beaten and robbed him. At 1:00 a.m. the West Memphis police, brandishing shotguns, demanded she and her family get out of their car.

At that time, Staples says, “black people could just be killed. I thought they were going to lynch us.”

Fortunately, the family survived the night and continued to perform creating Top 40 hits like “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself.” Mavis went on to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Blues Hall of Fame.

Staples’ seeks to lift people up with her music. “Bring us all together as a people—that’s what I hope to do. You can’t stop me. You can’t break me. I’m too loving,” she says. “These songs are going to change the world.”

Mavis Staples plays the Fort Collins Lincoln Center January 20th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20 and are available at LCTix.com.