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Undercover Angel

By Midge Rothrock When talking to Thomas Crow, former narcotics ofcer, it is almost like hearing about an upcoming TV series or movie. His adventures have been plenty, and his contributions to society impressive. Thomas is 59. He is a preachers kid, who grew up in Gaffney, SC near Spartanburg. For a time they were in Thomasville, NC, but mostly his roots and his high school alma mater are in Gaffney. He is the third of four children born to Dr. and Mrs. Raymond Crow. The Crows reside on East Pine Log, ironically near Scotty Richardsons parents. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Folks may know his parents place as that home with the fabulous roses, across from Millbrook. Dr. Crow is a retired Baptist Minister, where he and his family spent many years serving in Gaffneys Baptist Church, which was built in 1845. Thomas older sister Barbara Hallford moved to Aiken in 1984. She worked for twenty plus years for J.B. White: rst at the current site of the Break Room, then, by Home Depot, and nally, in the Mall. Older brother Ray, a retired electrician, lives in Shelby, NC. Mike, the younger brother, worked in the nuclear industry, and now resides near Little Rock, Arkansas. When challenged about being PKs, Thomas retort used to be: We were the worst ones, the reason being we had to put up with the Deacons kids. In 1994, he became a Deacon himself, changing his tune! Thomas has a son and a daughter. A former Gunny Sergeant, son Thomas Earl Crow, Jr., born in 1972, now lives in Boiling Springs., and has two children. Daughter Deandria Dawn, married and living in Gaffney, also has two children. Each has one in high school and one in college. Thomas and Catherine, his wife since 1984, spent a bit of time in Kansas, her home state where they met, before moving back to SC. Catherine had to get used to living in the South, of course. Now, like so many others of us lucky enough to get to Aiken area, shed never leave. They reside in Eureka, actually, an Aiken suburb.... Thomas earned his rst Kansas $20 when a man paid him just to talk, declaring, Youre not from around

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Thomas Crow, former narcotics ofcer, shown in disquise.

Submitted Photo

Long Term Care by Jay Brooks Page 10

here, are you? Thomas quickly replied, Im from the United States. When you cross the Dixie line, you are back in the US. How did Thomas get into law enforcement? He began working in textiles and security. In 1974 when he was old enough, he went into the Sheriffs department. In one year, he had transferred into Narcotics. Gaffney and Spartanburgs challenges with drugs on the street caused him to want to try to do something about it. An institution in Spartanburg is The
See Undercover, page 4


Underactive Thyroid Gland by Cynthia Catts Page 13

SeniorNet Offers New Courses for Fall Session

During the summer months our SeniorNet volunteers have been hard at work installing new software in our classroom computers, and preparing new manuals for use with our courses. Our Genealogy manual has been updated to support the new 7.5 version of Legacy Family Tree. We have also installed Microsoft Ofce 2010 (replacing MS Ofce 2007), and as a consequence our Word Processing and our Excel spreadsheet courses have been updated to support MS 2010. The course Editing Photos with Photoshop Elements has been revised to incorporate the new features included in Photoshop Elements 10, and the course Organizing, Editing & Sharing Photos using Picasa has been expanded to an 8-week course. Our computer courses for less experienced computer users include SRN101: Beginning Computer which is designed for people with little or no experience with personal computers. It describes the parts that make up a computer, how to turn the computer on and off, what the computer monitor (the digital desktop) displays, and how to use the mouse to tell the computer what to do. Since operation of the mouse is so important to operating a PC there are several Mouse Exercises to help students master this vital piece of hardware. In fact, students registered for SRN101 are strongly encouraged to attend a separate Mousing Skills work-shop at no additional charge prior to taking the course. Students can learn the techniques of double-clicking, and click and drag in class and then practice at home, with or without an internet connection. The next course for those less experienced with computers is SRN102: Computer Basics, an 8 week course. This course also uses WordPad for word processing for three lessons and builds on the skills introduced in SRN101. Other lessons include File Management using the Windows 7 Document Libraries system, a lesson on desktop and system settings, and a lesson on email. The email lesson describes the two basic systems for email, web-based programs (cloud mail) and Internet Service Provider (ISP) based mail services. SRN102 teaches how to download and use Thunderbird as your ISP-based email

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system. For cloud mail the Gmail system is demonstrated. Some of our students have requested an opportunity to take SRN102 immediately upon completion of SRN101. We are accommodating this request by offering the four week SRN102 Computer Basics course in October immediately following the September Beginning Computer class. Look for our insert in the Aiken Standard in August that lists all our course offerings. In addition we have our other course offerings which will be described in future articles in the Mature Times. You are also invited to visit us at our web site any time for more news about our courses.

How to Organize Important Papers

Lets face it, people often have different ideas as to what constitutes organization. Some think that organizing important papers means stacking them in piles on the dining room table. Others stow them in a cardboard box. But there are better methods to keeping les, bills and more in check. Having a paper trail can be messy and impractical. Searching for forms or bills wastes time and may result in missed deadlines or payments. There are ways to cull the clutter. Here are a few time-saving organizational tips. Designate a basket or a drawer to serve as a collection point for mail. When it comes time to sort through it, you only have to go to one place. Choose a place where you will store items to le away. A le cabinet is a logical source, but it can be a drawer or a box in the closet, as long as it is organized for easy access. Files can be separated in different ways. Folders can be used to break down les into specics, such as a folder for utility bills and one for insurance papers. The folders also can be organized by date. Try separating paid bills into bi-monthly folders. This way you only have to search in one folder to nd a specic piece of paperwork. Do not keep unnecessary papers. They should be shredded and put in the recycling bin promptly to cut down on the amount of clutter. Consider using a digital method to organize les and paperwork. Use a scanner to copy paperwork and then store the scanned le on your computer. Use a atbed scanner or a speciality easy-feed scanner. The latter type of scanner might even come with programs to organize receipts, bills and whatever else you would like to store. Organize the folders on the computer so that you can easily nd the item you need. Think about scanning childrens schoolwork as well. Students are often sent home with multiple papers and assignments each day. Locate the keepers and create a digital scrapbook. Any documents that are being stored on a computer should be backed up to an external drive or CD. Cut down on clutter at home by opting out of junk mail. Also, opt to have paperless statements for bills. This way you only need to access your e-mail or a bill-paying program when the time comes to pay monthly bills. Routinely go through your les and see which items no longer have to be stored. Most bill stubs can be thrown out after a year. Financial paperwork and receipts should be saved for several years in the event of an audit. Separate les into what can be stored at home and what is best stored somewhere in a safer location, like a safety deposit box. Car titles, credit card policies and numbers, pay stubs, home improvement receipts, medical records, insurance policies, tax re-

cords, and bill stubs can all be stored at home. However, birth certicates, military service records, house deed and title, a list of valuables for insurance purposes, and passports might be better off and safer if they are stored in a safe deposit box. Getting papers organized can take a little work. But once the system is established, it only requires routine maintenance to keep everything in order.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

continued from page 1 Beacon Drive-In. Off the clock, Thomas spent time there, as did many others in law enforcement. J.C., the renowned legally-blind gentleman who greets Beacon diners in his unique way, is a xture there. A foolish guy came in while Thomas was present, pointed a gun at J.C., and said, Old man, this is a hold up, to which J.C. replied, I dont think so...move along. Next, he went to the kitchen and found the beloved Spartanburg philanthropist John W. White, the owner, who reacted in the same manner. Pretty soon, this potential perp heard the click and saw about 30 guns pointed in his direction! (The Beacon is in the Guinness Book of World Records for selling more sweet tea than any other place in the world, and often is the location of choice for national as well as local politicians to campaign.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 If you have not been, you owe it to yourself to have this experience, when next in that area of SC. And, if you go, tell Kenny or Steve, this writer sent you!) In 1980, while working in Narcotics, Thomas helped one of the forces road guys, since he was closer when a domestic disturbance call came in. Thomas was shot in the leg and abdomen, barely missing organs, and was hospitalized about eight weeks. The medical release indicated he could assume light duty. None of that for Thomas: no sir! He wanted back on the streets to do his work. Admittedly, he was not quite as rough, but he still got the job done. The man who shot him was in a cell locally until his much-delaying trial date of November, 1981. What did Thomas do to handle the stress of the relationship with this individual? He went to visit him! The rst visit, the shooter backed up, assuming Thomas was there to kill him. Thomas admitted he would like to have strangled the man, but instead listened to the words in his head, from Matthew 5:44: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. He continued to visit until the man was sentenced and sent away to prison for a long time, hoping Gods words spoken through Thomas might have made an impact. Leviticus 19:18 also continued to come into his mind, which says, You shall love your neighbors as yourself; I am the Lord. Yes, it was hard to love this shooter, but Thomas felt the Lord was guiding his actions. What did Dr. Crow think of his sons actions? At rst he worried that Thomas could be killed, with an attitude like that. However, Thomas assured him that he felt compelled by his Lord, and that if he were killed, he knew where he was headed. From 1983 to 1989, Thomas worked in a key security position in the nuclear industry. In 1989, he returned to Aiken, where he had spent a year previously, and went to the prison system. He began at the youth correction facility, and then in 1995, went to Trenton. In 2007, Thomas retired from law enforcement work. Ironically, inside the prison, he saw some of the guys he had worked to arrest during his years in Narcotics. His proudest effort in law enforcement? Thomas went undercover often, of course. One time, while at The Battery in Charleston, he sidled up to a gentleman seated on a bench looking out to the Bay. Thomas was wearing tattered jeans and a raggedy tee shirt, his ponytail and full beard, and crooked, bent-framed sunglasses. His usual approach was, Hey, a hit? Then, he went into his goofy guy behavior, swatting at imaginary bugs, and pretending to eat them, while goading the man next to him with statements like, Theyre comin to get ya. The criminal told this goofy guy to shut up. Eventually, a cabin cruiser came within
continued to page 5

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 continued from page 4 earshot, and sounded ve long and two short honks. Off the well dressed guy dashed, heading up the plank to board the boat. Thomas leaned to the mike hidden on his shoulder, alerted his colleagues, and they immediately arrested them all. Over $30 million worth of drugs, cash, weapons and the boat were seized, coming from Columbia. They had eluded security points all along the way, but not this last one. The Narcs had been on this case for one and one-half years! When the criminal in the suit passed Thomas in his garb, Thomas smiled, let out several derisive laughs, and said, Told ya they were comin to get ya! The best memories of happy times in his life for Thomas are those idyllic years growing up in a small southern town in a loving family. They did not always have everything they wanted, but did have all they needed. Times were spent in simple pleasures like visiting on front porches, talking under big trees, sharing meals with family and neighbors, and connecting with one another. When did things change, in his opinion? In 1964, when prayer was no longer allowed in schools, and when the Pledge of Allegiance was no longer recited, he felt we began a downhill slide. Thomas feels it is especially difcult to be a teen today. Generations back, when trouble broke out in school, bullies were usually handled with sts. Now, in his opinion, even though the school systems do not like to admit it, gangs are in existence within the schools. These are todays version of bullies, using scare tactics, and weapons like guns and knives to bully. Thomas does not feel the issues are race specic, but cut across socio-economics in all directions. It is harder for parents and other responsible adults to discipline in these politically-correct times. Thomas knows what lls prisons, and feels this has much to do with it. There is a new book which reinforces those To Kill a Mockingbird and Mayberry RFD days people remember. It is Sissy Spaceks bio, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life. Folks do seem to pine for a simple sense of connection. For example, a recent communitywide patriotic worship service was held at St. Johns UMC, and not an empty seat could be found! Attendees dressed in variations of red, white and blue to hear patriotic music, rousing words of praise for this country God has blessed so abundantly, and to sit together at a free meal which honored all those who served. Concerts and the Christmas displays at Hopeland Gardens bring back to a time of community, and are always well attended. Thomas wishes there were more things for youth to do, in addition to the sports now existing. More skateboard parks, or water misters, or places to ride go carts might help make the days more full

for youth. Thomas now does more mentoring than he did during his pre-retirement years, and loves to meet youth where they are, talk and listen, and try to inuence them to consider the Lord as an option other than violence. More opportunities for employment are desperately needed to solve some of our communitys present issues. Thomas strongly urges youth to stay in school, nish their education, and be ready, rather than ruling out their chances. (Working with young people delights him so that he claims he would adopt them all, if he could). He and seven others from his local church family just returned from a mission trip and revival to Akron, Ohio. They go in support of a small start-up church with 20 members. Help is provided in the dangerous downtown area, which is home to 44,000 people. Homes are boarded up busted drug labs, and thugs walk about with guns in their
continued to page 6

continued from page 5 belts. Police in plainclothes watch from every corner, while trying to protect the missionaries and innocent citizens. (This is in Ohio, not in some remote third-world country!) 2012 revival work yielded 22 people choosing another way to live, including eight baptisms. These Aiken area missionaries will return next year, continuing to offer their help. Why do people choose addiction? Thomas offers this informed view: new concerns with names like bath salts and spike continue to crop up. Since the mid-90s, prescription drug abuse has added to the complex world of addiction. Some people do not really wish to be free of drugs, and show an example to their offspring of taking food off the table, clothes off their backs, and transportation away to feed their drug habits, indicating a hopelessness that drugs are the only way they can feel better. Grateful are the narcotics ofcers when they can collar a user who will give information they can put into the system, leading to the eventual arrest of someone larger up the chain. Drugs continue to emanate through the drug cartels of Bogot who use I-85, I-95, 20 and 26 to transport their vile wares.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thomas Crow, former narcotics ofcer, shown present day.

Photo by Julie Lott

Not exclusively in these places, but living can get rough in Crosland Park and Hahn Village. Things seem not as bad lately in Nicholson Village, so it is not all gloom and doom. For now, Thomas and his wife plan to continue to serve through their church and the youth of this community by their example and through their personal outreach. He is a humorous and heroic man, easy to talk with, and willing to come and speak to youth groups and others in the community.

Each year thousands of senior citizens are exploited, abused or neglected. This behavior is classied as elder abuse and can occur by way of strangers or even family members. In many cases, trusted friends and members of the family are the perpetrators of the abuse. Elder abuse is something widely recognized by courts, and there is legislature passed in all 50 states to protect against elder abuse. In terms of what constitutes elder abuse, here are offenses that are broadly dened as abuse and may be punishable. Sexual abuse: Nonconsensual sexual contact. Physical abuse: Pain or injury caused to a senior, including injury from restraining by physical or chemical means. Exploitation: Illegal use or concealment of funds/property/assets of a senior used for someone elses benet. Neglect: The failure to provide necessary resources, such as food, shelter, health care, etc. for an elder. Abandonment: Failure to perform assumed responsibilities by a person who promised care or custody of a vulnerable elder. Self-neglect: The failure to perform self-care tasks that can threaten ones own health or safety.

Explaining Elder Abuse

Boomer Briengs
relatively inexpensive legal documents that help young adults and parents bridge the semi-independence years. We are all familiar with the worries, headaches and tales of woe when a young adult goes off to college and ends up in the hospital and the parents cant talk with the doctor or get access to medical records; or there is a car accident where Junior is not severely hurt and focusing on nals, but you cant help deal with insurance adjusters and settlement negotiations; or Junior is failing plus on disciplinary suspension and Mom and Dad are clueless, unable to get a report car and still doling out the dollars. Of course there are far more serious things that can hap-

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Q. Saw your sign at the USC Aiken Health Fair. We are part of the Sandwich Generation - you know squeezed between caring for our parents, working and saving for our own retirement, and moving the kids toward independence. Any words of wisdom before we send Junior off to college? A. Many of my readers understand your challenges. Let me give you some peace of mind on how you can step up and step in, if necessary, to help your legal adult. A health care power of attorney and durable power of nancial attorney are sometimes referred by estate planners as The Parents Sanity Kit. College administration and those materials for parents rarely mention these great and

pen. Durable powers of attorney and health care proxies can allow parents access to school and medical records and give them legal authority to make critical decisions, if needed. This can be especially important to adult children of divorced parents. These documents also allow Mom and Dad to legally open the mail, le income taxes, and handle a variety of unforeseen circumstances that can delay and frustrate the heck out of dependable Mom and require contributions from the Bank of Dad. So congratulations on your recent graduate! All those years as soccer mom, car pooling, PTA fairs, last minute book reports, nal exams, and the SATs paid off. Ju-

Attorney Linda Farron Knapp is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

nior is moving forward on schedule toward independence. My words of wisdom are that you give him and yourself the present of peace of mind with appropriately drafted powers of attorney.

Doing What Comes Naturally

new? Hard to answer. So when does a person become old? The older I become, the younger everyone else seems to be. What is the new old? Psychologists have found that, for adults, old tends to be thirteen to eighteen years more than the age of the person dening it. The closer one gets to an age, the less that age seems to be old. For most people, it isnt about is about ability. And no one is pretending abilities dont decline over time. But who moves when they dont have to? Less than one in ve seniors will ever live in any sort of facility. According to AARP, less than one in ve ever wants to live anywhere besides home. Living at home is normal, nearly as normal for an eighty year old as it is a forty year old. In home care allows for the opportunity to stay home longer or to never leave at all. Certainly there are challenges that come with age. And just as certainly we know how to meet them. Completely customizable, uniquely exible, in-home caregiving from DayBreak ts the solution to the need. Home is the state-of-the-art senior living option and probably the best one for you. Youve been doing it all your life...naturally.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You have your coffee, your glasses and the paper. Youve just begun reading this article when in bursts a relative who announces It is time for you to move. Move? Yes. Relocate. Sell your house. Move to a home where there are lots of people your age. What on Earth? Well we are afraid you will fall, break a hip or something. Know what day this is? This is the day a relative decided you are old. It is this simple: Senior living is routine, outpatient living. Each of us would do well to learn this because knowing this makes the rest easy. Old and new are relative terms. When does a new car stop being

Chrissa Matthews, MA, CCC/SLP, is a native CSRA resident and the owner of DayBreak Adult Care Services, Inc, Aiken, SC.

Reducing Risk For Heart Disease Could Save Your Life

Heart disease doesnt discriminate, affecting men and women regardless of their age or where they live. In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death, according to the American Heart Association. North of the border, one Canadian dies from heart disease or stroke every 7 minutes. So says the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, a charity that annually spends millions of dollars researching heart disease and promoting healthier lifestyles. For most men and women, the prevalence of heart disease is no great surprise. Nearly every adult can point to a loved one who has dealt with heart disease. Many men and women can even point to a friend or family member who lost their battle with heart disease. That familiarity should make people even more willing to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, something the AHA admits is the best defense against heart disease and stroke. Though not all risk factors for heart disease can be controlled, there are ways to reduce that risk considerably. Control your blood pressure High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk for heart disease. Blood pressure measures the pressure or force of blood against the walls if your blood vessels, also known as arteries. Having your blood pressure taken is a routine on most doctor visits, but many people are unaware what the number actually measures. The top number measures the pressure when the heart contracts and pushes blood out, while the bottom number is the lowest pressure when the heart relaxes and beats. Blood pressure that is consistently above 140/90 is considered high. A normal blood pressure is one between 120/80 and 129/84. Because of the relation between blood pressure and heart disease and stroke, men and women must take steps to control their blood pressure. Having your blood pressure checked regularly is a good start. Once you get checked, reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, replacing high-sodium snacks with healthier fare and monitoring sodium intake during the day. The Heart & Stroke Foundation recommends eating less than 2,300 mg of

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

sodium per day, and that includes salt added when making meals or eating at the table. Maintaining a healthy body weight
See Reducing, page 12

The Long Term Care Time Bomb

Option 1: Buy a long-term care policy Pros and Cons: This is the simplest method as you can determine what benets and types of facilities you want covered. You can adjust your cost by manipulating the factors that determine the premium payment. You will have the ability to pay for your care tax free under certain circumstances. The cost involved in a policy can hurt your budget and becomes worse if you never needed to policy. You have to have a medical underwriting procedure. Option 2: Self Insure Pros and Cons: You have extra money to spare and dont mind paying out of pocket. You win in the end if and only if you do not need log-term assistance because it cost you nothing. You may have to pay out of pocket and dont know how much it will ultimately cost. Option 3: Qualify for Medicaid Pros and Cons: All care is free, except to the taxpayers who foot the bill. You have to be pretty close to dead broke to qualify (in working mans language). Option 4: Life insurance with LTC benets Pros and Cons: This method does not require a large monthly premium but rather a rider charge attached to the life policy. If you do not need the coverage, then it only cost you the amount of the rider charge. There is a medical underwriting process involved. You have to ensure that the coverage you qualify for is adequate. Option 5: Annuities with LTC benets Pros and Cons: There is no medical examination, therefore past illnesses are rarely held against you as pre-existing conditions. There is a stop loss on what your investment for the care would be and if you did not need the care then it only cost you a rider fee. In some cases you get your premium back if the care was never needed. Some annuities don not provide enough coverage so the selection of the LTC rider is critical to getting a good contract. The choice that you make in deciding how to address this issue


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One important question all individuals must make once they turn 50 is How will I pay for things that my health insurance or Medicare supplement will not cover? Unfortunately, health insurance and Medicare do not cover items such as home health care, assisted living, or skilled nursing care given in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home. When you consider the nancial burden this can place on a family it becomes obvious that every family needs to develop a strategy to deal with the risk. I do not believe that buying a long term care policy is always the best plan for a family. What you need is a strategy. A familys plan to deal with the rising cost of longterm care insurance may be the single greatest decision that they make, with the exception of how to pass their assets to their heirs. This strategy could be as simple as sitting down and talking about which assets to use to pay for the cost of care. Simply sitting down with a piece of paper and listing out what accounts or what assets would be liquidated to provide the proper care and understanding how long that money would last, might be all that your family needs to do. Again, I do not believe that buying a long-term care insurance policy is the only way to protect against the risk. Your family must develop a plan to deal with the real costs of care based on your own personal circumstances. There are 5 different ways to pay for the care that I recommend you consider. Lets look at them one by one and see if any of them t your needs.

Jay Brooks owner of Brooks Financial

is pivotal to your nancial well being. It should never be entered into lightly. There are a ton of family situations, nancial and tax considerations, and genetic factors that need to be thought through. As always, we would love to elaborate on your options and guide you through the steps to making a well informed decision. Please feel free to contact us for any unanswered questions that you may have.

Mature Times
is online.

Camellia Daze
By Rio Grande Dave What effect does 3 days of triple digit temperature and a trip out of town do for your camellias? The evidence is plain to see in the included photo. Although we have stated many times, you need to water your camellias during hot and dry weather, sometimes it is just not enough and your camellia expires. Earlier in the year, we had to remove a large oak tree which had provided shade for over 10 years to the camellias in our backyard. Our observations included: Larger Japonica bushes (6-8 feet high) seemed to be doing ne, although the white and light colored blooming plants had some sunburned leaves on the west side of the bush. The sasanquas and hybrids seemed ne with no sunburned leaves. The smaller bushes (less than 4 feet high) had more sun damage and any scraggly bushes also showed sun damage. None of the camellia bushes had reached the wilting point. This occurs when plants are stressed and is very easy to recognize. First level is a loss of turgidity of new growth-it ops over, but may perk up after sundown. Second moisture stress level is death of new growth with dull looking leaves curling and drooping and any buds turn brown and drop off. Lastly the terminal leaves at the end of branches fall off and its doubtful the plant will recover at this point. In summer, it doesnt matter if the temperature is 100 F. or so at times because high temperature helps develop good owers and buds as long as moisture in soil and air is present in sufcient amounts. But the problem is constant high temperatures above 80 F day and night for an extended period of time. This causes bud drop and small, faded color blooms which may be distorted, abby and of low quality. So water deeply, move potted plants out of hot sun areas if needed, provide some sort of protection i.e., shade cloth for in ground plants and, until we can control the weather,

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hope for the best next year. Heres hoping to see you along the camellia Trail.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012 drinks a week, while men should not exceed 14 drinks in a single week. Of course, if there are extenuating circumstances then all bets are off. Men and women with liver disease, mental illness or a personal or family history of alcohol problems should avoid alcohol entirely. In addition, those taking certain medications should avoid alcohol consumption as well. For the latter group, discuss alcohol consumption with your physician when he or she writes you a prescription. Quit smoking The decision to smoke tobacco is the decision to invite a host of potential physical ailments, not the least of which is heart disease. Smoking contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, increases the risk of blood clots, reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases blood pressure. As if thats not enough, smoking also harms those around you. According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the United States each year. In Canada, nearly 8,000 nonsmokers lose their lives each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. What might surprise some people, however, is how quickly quitting smoking can reduce a persons risk for heart disease. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, within 48 hours of quitting a persons chances of having heart disease have already started to go down. For those who successfully avoid smoking for one year, the risk of a suffering a smoking-related heart attack has been cut in half. After 15 years, the risk of heart attack is the same as someone who never smoked at all. Embrace physical activity People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke than people who are physically active. The AHA notes

continued from page 9 and successfully managing stress are additional ways to control blood pressure. Limit alcohol consumption The AHA notes that excessive consumption of alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, produce irregular heartbeats and eventually lead to heart failure or stroke. There is some evidence that people who drink moderately have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers. But its also important to note that people who drink moderately also have a lower risk of heart disease than people who drink excessively. So when it comes to alcohol, moderation reigns supreme. One or two standard drinks per day is enough depending on gender. The Heart & Stroke Foundation suggests that women who drink should not drink more than nine

that research has shown that getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on ve or more days of the week can help lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol while helping to maintain a healthy weight. If starting from scratch, even light physical activity can provide some health benets. Gradually work your way up to more demanding activities, and make physical activity a routine part of your daily life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Avoiding or Treating an Underactive Thyroid Gland

An underactive thyroid is the most common thyroid disorder, (known by your physician as Hashimotos Disease or Hypothyroidism) can be a serious disorder if not properly treated. Although gained weight or difculty losing weight may seem like the most obvious problem, patients are also at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The thyroid gland is a major player in the endocrine system and affects nearly every organ in the body. It regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, body temperature, brain function, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, skin integrity and more. In Hypothyroidism, the thyroid glad doesnt release adequate levels of T3 and T4, two hormones that are necessary to keep the body functioning properly. The lack of these hormones can slow down metabolism and cause weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair and difculty concentrating. It is seven times more prevalent in women than men, and generally occurs during middle age. Not all people with Hypothyroidism require treatment but generally once the body can no longer produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormones, hormone replacement medication becomes necessary. Once the patients blood levels of T3 and T4 are normal, their metabolism increases and they are better able to lose weight. Patients with hypothyroidism have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Low thyroid hormone levels lead to a higher blood lipid prole (increased LDLs), increased blood pressure and elevated levels of the inammatory markers homocysteine and C-reactive protein. There is also a strong relationship between hypothyroidism and impaired glucose control and diabetes. As a Nutritionist, my job is to help people to follow a carbohydrate controlled diet that is low in saturated fat and rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy oils. Ideally this diet is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, ber and devoid of inammatory hydrogenated oils, articial sweeteners and other typical ingredients in processed food. Following your doctors prescription and losing and maintaining a healthy weight is the standard protocol for hypothyroidism treatment. Iodine is a vital nutrient in the body and essential to thyroid function because thyroid hormones are comprised of iodine. (Prudent amounts of) iodized salt, sh, dairy and grains are very good sources of iodine and should be included in the diet to protect the thyroid gland but also once hypothyroidism is diagnosed. Vitamin D deciency is linked to hypothyroidism. Foods rich in vitamin D include sh, dairy, egg yolk and mushrooms. Of course sunlight also enables vitamin D to be formed on the surface of the skin. Selenium in the body is found in the highest concentration in the thyroid gland and has been shown to be a necessary component of enzymes integral to thyroid function. Selenium is a trace mineral and has a profound effect on the immune system, brain function and mortality rate. However, it can be risky to supplement with selenium as excessive intakes can cause gastrointestinal distress and more seriously, raise the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer. It is wiser to simply include selenium rich foods in the diet. These foods include brazil nuts, tuna, crab and lobster. Vitamin B12 deciency is often seen in people with underactive thyroid glands. Sources of B12 include all animal products and nutritional yeast. Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliower and cabbage naturally release a compound called goitrin when they are broken
See Avoiding, page 14


Cynthia F. Catts, RD, LD


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

continued from page 13

down in the body. Goitrin can interfere with the synthesis of thyroid hormones but this is usually a concern only when coupled with an iodine deciency. Heating cruciferous veggies denatures this potential goitrogenic effect. Soy is another potential goitrogen. The isoavones in soy can lower thyroid hormone synthesis, but numerous studies have found that consuming soy doesnt cause hypothyroidism in people with adequate iodine stores. I caution my patients who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism to avoid soy or eat it in moderation. Thyroid medications can interact with some nutrition supplements. Calcium supplements and

chromium picolinate (which is taken by some for blood sugar control) can interfere with the absorption of the medication so should be taken at least four hours apart. Coffee and ber supplements also lower the absorption of thyroid medication so should be consumed at least one hour after taking the medication. If you dont know that your physician has included a thyroid stimulating hormone test (TSH), ask him/her if it would be appropriate to do this the next time you have blood drawn. This is especially important if you are having some of the most common symptoms such as weight gain, sensitivity to temperature, dry skin or fatigue. Maintaining a healthy thyroid hormone level is imperative for healthy weight and the avoidance

of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For more information on weight reduction, for metabolism

testing or to set up an appointment for a consult, Cyndi may be reached at 803-642-9360 or at

Did You Know?

Men and women who die without a will do not automatically have their assets seized by the government. When men and women die without a will, they leave what is known as intestacy. The only time a deceased persons assets end up with the government is when the deceased has no living next of kin. Should a man or woman with living family or dependents perish without a will, a formula is then used to distribute the deceaseds assets. While this formula ensures family or dependents get some of the deceased persons assets, it does not necessarily mean the deceaseds wishes will be honored. To ensure their wishes are honored, a person must have a will in place. Otherwise, the formula will be used to distribute assets. Contrary to popular belief, children do not have to be born from legal marriage to share in the distribution of assets. Whats more, laws have changed to include de facto partners in the distribution of assets when the deceased leaves no will. Previously, this onlyapplied to spouses. However, now same sex-couples have entitlements when their partners die without a will. To determine the rules of asset distribution when a man or woman dies without a will, consult an attorney.

Exercise myths aging women should ignore

Fatigue and minor aches and pains that often come with aging can make exercise seem like a wrong activity for older women to partake in. While every woman should discuss her specic physical condition with a physician, especially if those aches and pains are persistent, adopting a sedentary lifestyle is not likely to make things better. The misconception that aging women should save their strength and rest is one of the many myths associated with exercise and older women. The following are a few of the more popular myths that many women would be better off ignoring. Exercise is for younger women, I need to rest. A sedentary lifestyle isnt healthy for anyone, and aging women are no exception. When aging women are inactive, their ability to do things for themselves and on their own decreases. This includes daily and relatively simple tasks like watering the plants or taking the dog for a walk, or more strenuous activities like playing with their grandchildren. Even if you cant go jogging like you used to, that doesnt mean you wont still benet from less difcult exercises. Exercise increases my risk of injury. Aging women might fear that the more they exercise, the more they may fall and suffer a serious injury. However, the opposite is true. Regular exercise strengthens muscles and prevents bone loss while improving balance. This means aging women who exercise are less likely to fall. Even if you do fall, your bones will be stronger and more capable of handling a fall than an older woman who does not exercise at all. Im disabled so exercise is pointless. Aging women benet from exercise, even those women who might be disabled. Even if you need a wheelchair to get around, that doesnt mean you wont still benet from routine exercise. Women in wheelchairs can still do cardiovascular exercises, stretch and even lift light weights. Such activities can reduce risk of heart disease while improving muscle tone and increasing range of motion. Its too late to begin a new exercise regimen. Its never too late for anyone, including aging women, to begin a new

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


AARP Driver Safety

During the month of August, AARP Driver Safety is having an Educator Appreciation Promotion recognizing teachers and school personnel, both retired and active. In recognition of their generosity in teaching and helping others, AARP is offering the Driver Safety class for just $5, a savings of $9 off the normal price. Students completing the course may be eligible for a discount from their insurance company. The Promotion is being offered to individuals who have been an educator, or have worked for a school district or University in any capacity. This includes custodians, secretaries, aides, Prue-school teachers, professors, guidance counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers and even parents who home-schooled their children. Participants will ll out a coupon in the classroom to be redeemed for the $5 offer. The coupon is also available on line org/educators. In anticipation of additional participants for this promotion, we have scheduled six classes in the area during these two months. These are not special classes just for educators. Anyone is welcome to attend any class. Anyone not qualied for the discount will pay the normal cost of $12 for AARP members and $14 for non- members. All classes at both locations start at 8:30 AM and run to mid-afternoon. For classes at ARMC, lunch can be brought from home or purchased in the cafeteria. For St Paul classes it is suggested lunch be brought from home. The following classes are available during July and August in the Aiken area: St Pauls Lutheran Church 961 Trail Ridge Rd, Aiken SC Thursday August 2nd Call 803-648-5139 to register for ST Pauls class Aiken Regional Medical Center 302 University Dr, Aiken SC Friday August 17th Friday August 20th Call 800-882-7445 to register for class at ARMC Any questions about class or promotion qualication can be directed to Vince Jones @ 803-443-8899

exercise regimen. If its been awhile since you last laced up your sneakers, start light with a walk around the neighborhood and other activities that wont elevate your heart rate or prove overly taxing. As your body gradually gets acclimated to exercise, you can up the ante a little bit with slightly more challenging exercises. Im too tired to exercise. As women age, some nd they struggle to get a decent nights sleep and mistakenly assume this is just a natural side effect of aging. The following day the resulting fatigue causes some women to feel they are too tired to exercise. However, exercise can actually improve sleep and helps many active people sleep more deeply and without interruption. If you have been struggling to sleep through the night, use exercise to your advantage and you might nd youre suddenly sleeping much, much better.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012