Health Notes

Health Notes

New Mothers Support Group. Meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 10 a.m. in the Community Room at the Reston YMCA, 12196 Sunset Hills Road, Reston. Call 703-689-9240.

Mothers of Toddlers Support Group. Meets the fourth Thursday of each month in the Community Room at the Reston YMCA, 12196 Sunset Hills Road. Call 703-689-9240.

Reston DRADA (Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association) Support Group meets first and third Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1516 Moorings Drive in Reston. For more information, call Ginny at 703-966-2510.

The Reston NAMI Support Group. Group meets twice a month, from 7-9 p.m., at the Reston Regional Library, 11925 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston. This is a National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) support group for family and friends of people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders. Call Rhonda at 703-716-0674, or Barb at 703-715-2485, for more information.

Bereavement Support Group. The Reston Community Center (RCC) at Lake Anne, Unit 1609-A, Washington Plaza, Reston, sponsors a bereavement support group. The group is for widows and widowers who would like to have the support of others with whom to share feelings, fears and concerns. All ages are welcome. The group is led by professional counselors from Haven of Northern Virginia and meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. Call Eileen Boone, RCC Senior Academy, at 703-648-2835.

Amputee Support Group Of Northern Virginia. A support group for amputees, their families and friends. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, Physician's Conference Center, Room 1D, 3300 Gallows Road, Falls Church, Va. There is no cost to participants and parking is $1 in the garage for cars displaying handicapped placards or license plates. Call Irvin Axelrod at 703-222-7120 or e-mail for more information.

Reston Epilepsy Group. A support group for adults diagnosed with seizure disorders and their caregivers. Meetings are held the second Friday of each month at Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins' Hunter Mill District Office, North County Government Center, Meeting Room, 12000 Bowman Towne Drive. For more information, call 703-425-6660.

Cancer Support Group. Reston Hospital Center sponsors a support group for patients and their families who have recently been diagnosed or long-term survivors. Network and gather information in a comfortable atmosphere and listen to monthly speakers. Group meets the first and third Monday of each month at noon in the Pavilion, 1850 Town Center Drive, Suite 307. Call 703-689-9000, Ext. 2200.

Lupus Support Group. Meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Hospital Medical Plaza, Suite 117, 1800 Town Center Drive, Reston. Call 703-689-9240.

Blood Drives. Inova Blood Donor Services conducts a blood drive on the fourth Tuesday of every month, from noon-7:30 p.m., at Reston Town Center next to the Equity Office Pavilion near Williams-Sonoma. Onsite registration will be in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency. Call 1-866-256-6372. Visit

Diabetes Support Group. Meets the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. on the Reston Hospital Center campus in the Pavilion, 1850 Town Center Drive, Suite 307. Call 703-689-9100.

Spiritual Support Group. Designed for oncology patients or those dealing with major illnesses. The non-denominational support group meets in the Radiation Therapy Department in the Pavilion on the Reston Hospital Center campus, 1850 Town Center Parkway on the first Tuesday of the month. Call 703-689-9325.

The National Capital Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers free self-help groups in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

for people living with MS. For locations and times, contact the Chapter at 202-296-9891.

Asthma Auto Program. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland-Greater Washington, D.C., Chapter, is accepting donations of unwanted vehicles to raise money to fund educational programs, asthma care training, scholarships, research, and patient assistance for area residents. Call 800-727-9333.

Taking Medications. A new package of publications on taking medications correctly and ordering them safely online is available from The Federal Consumer Information Center and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The package contains “FDA’s Tips for Taking Medicines,” “Drug Interactions: What You Should Know” and “Buying Prescription Medicines Online: A Consumer Safety Guide.” The materials are free. Call 888-878-3256 and request the “Your Medications” package, or send your name and address to Your Medications, Pueblo, CO 81009.

Express Care. A non-profit organization dedicated to providing services including scheduling doctor's appointments and securing medicines, groceries for the homebound, health screenings and education through "Care Connection," their TV program. The organization also works in assisting immigrants to understand the cultural practices and skills necessary to succeed in American society. Donations and volunteers are needed. Call 703-456-0020, e-mail or visit

Allergy Alert. Visit to subscribe to Allergy Alert, a free e-mail notification service, to be notified automatically when conditions in the area are expected to be near uncomfortable levels. The Allergy Alert forecast considers more than 1,470 biological and meteorological factors and is based on 20 years of historical pollen data gathered by a national network of professionally trained pollen counters.

National Institute on Aging. The program is based on medical research and emphasizes exercises for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. To order the exercise book and 48-minute video, send a check or money order for $7 payable to the National Institute on Aging to NIAIC, Dept. BR, PO Box 8057, Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057. Call 1-800-222-2225 or visit for more information.

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Organization has launched an electronic newsletter for teens with food allergy. “Food Allergy News for Teens” is a bimonthly newsletter distributed free to teen-agers by e-mail. The newsletter covers topics such as dating, dining out, managing food allergy on the job, and tips on carrying medications. To sign up to receive the newsletter, log on to

National Cancer Institute. NCI has a Web site, Billed as “a one-stop resource for cancer information” the site reorganizes NCI’s information sites and cancer.trials within Information in the site is arranged by topic. Where its logical design leaves off, an improved search engine aids site navigation.

Power Wheelchairs. A no cost program providing power wheelchairs to qualified seniors 65 years and older and permanently disabled persons is being offered by Jaspan Medical Systems, a nationwide program assisting in power mobility. Power wheelchairs are provided to those who cannot walk and cannot self-propel a manual wheelchair in their home and who meet the additional program guidelines of the program. No deposit is required. Call 1-800-451-0971 for information.

Mitral Valve Prolapse/Sysautonomia Support Group. The group meets on the second Tuesday of every month at noon. Call 703-689-9240.

Ombudsman Program. Volunteers are needed for the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Volunteers are assigned to a specific nursing home or assisted living facility and make weekly visits. Using the skills of listening, observing and mediating, the ombudsman works with the residents, their families and the staff of the facility to ensure that the residents' rights are being protected. Applicants must successfully complete a training session and must be available to volunteer four hours per week, primarily during business hours. Call 703-324-5435 for further information and an application. Visit

National Vaccine Information Center. Center sponsors workshops on vaccinations and holistic pediatrics for parents with Lawrence B. Palevsky, MD, FAAP, ABHM at the: Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St., SE, Vienna. Call 703-938-DPT3 for tickets or for more information.

Birth Mother’s Support Group. Group meets weekly in northern Virginia. It is for any woman who has ever placed a child in adoption and would like to meet with others who have done the same. For more information, call Pat Cunningham or Stephanie Hayden at Catholic Charities at 703-425-0100.

Foster Care. Homes are needed in the area for foster children. Call Children’s Services of Virginia at 703-331-0075 or visit for more information.

The American Lung Association of Virginia. Take advantage of an e-mail service to residents in areas affected by smog-unhealthy levels of ozone pollution, which includes the Northern Virginia-Metropolitan D.C. area.

Subscribers will receive smog alerts the day before ozone pollution levels are predicted to be unhealthy. Individuals with chronic lung or heart disease and sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly, can then take action to protect themselves by reducing or limiting outdoor activities.

High concentrations of ozone can cause symptoms such as coughing, throat irritation and difficulty breathing, and also may increase susceptibility of the lungs to infections, allergens and other air pollutants. The daily forecast is provided to the American Lung Association from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information on ozone pollution and to sign up for the Smog Alert, visit www.

Haven of Northern Virginia. A support group for suicide survivors. The group is open to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. There is no charge and space is limited. For registration, call 703-941-7000 or visit

Suicide Survivors. CrisisLink, a suicide prevention organization and hotline located at 5275 Lee Highway, Suite 301, Arlington, sponsors a healing and educational Suicide Survivors’ Support Group, meeting the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 7:30-9 p.m. Call 703-516-6771 for more information.

Inova VNA Home Health. Volunteers are needed to act as friendly visitors providing companionship to lonely, homebound patients. Volunteers are asked to spend one or two hours per week talking with a patient, running errands and doing odd jobs. Visiting can be done during the day, in the evening or on the weekends as the volunteer’s schedule allows. Training will be provided, and placements are made based on geographic location. For more information, contact Marion Hart or Adele Jenney at 703-916-2885.

Dog Bites. Virginia Department of Health offers a "Guide to Protect Children from Dog Bites." For information on how to be safe around dogs, contact the Virginia Department of Health’s Center for Injury and Violence Prevention toll-free at 1-800-732-8333.

Choosing an Assisted Living Facility. A booklet produced by the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL) in cooperation with the MetLife Mature Market Institute, can be ordered by calling 703-533-8121. Single copies are $10 each.

CCAL offers the following tips to begin the search for a facility:

* Make an accurate and honest assessment of your physical, financial, mental and lifestyle needs;

* Visit as many facilities as you can to get a sense of the choices in your area;

* Narrow down your selection to the top two or three choices, and return to those facilities and ask lots of questions. Talk to the residents;

* Ask to review a copy of the Resident Agreement (facility contract);

* Ask to review the licensing or certification inspection report;

* Make an unannounced visit to the facility.

Reach to Recovery Program. The American Cancer Society offers free services to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo recent surgery. A trained volunteer who has survived breast cancer is available to talk with patients confidentially, provide helpful information and offer emotional support. A Reach “kit” is given to each patient, which includes a leisure bra, a soft prosthesis for mastectomy patients, exercise items and literature. Call 703-938-5550.

Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization. Group provides free services including educational programs and lectures, brown-bag seminars, quarterly newsletters, and a 24-hour HOPEline. The HOPEline (703-461-9616 or 1-800-970-4411) is staffed by trained breast-cancer survivors who provide information and emotional support to callers. Call 703-461-9595 or visit for more information.

Virginia Health Information (VHI). The nonprofit independent organization has published information on its Web site,, reports on inpatient cardiac care provided at all licensed hospitals in Virginia. The information compares their performance and mortality outcomes. VHI’s study is based on over 100,000 cardiac patient discharges submitted by Virginia hospitals for the year 2000.

Shoplifters Anonymous. Group offers a new 12-step meeting program for those who wish to stop compulsive shoplifting. The group meets every Thursday, 7-8 p.m., at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7426 Idylwood Road. Call Sue at 703-759-0396 or Carol at 703-764-0347 to confirm the meeting date.

Alzheimer’s Family Day Center. Center has a support group for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their spouses. The couples participate in a potluck dinner along with discussion/support group. The dinner has educational as well as social benefits through speaking to and learning from others who are “going through the same thing.” The dinners are held at the Family Day Center, 2036 Westmoreland St., Falls Church, 6-8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. Call Joan at 703-532-8899 to register or for information.

Mothers & More. A support group for mothers who have altered their career paths to care for their children at home. General meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. Admission is free, and visitors are welcome. Call 703-234-3417.

AARP Widowed Persons Service. Service sponsors free weekly support groups to anyone widowed less than two years. Monthly educational meetings, travel and other activities are also offered. Call 301-949-7398 for more information.

American Heart Association. Organization offers many tools to improve nutrition and fitness. Quick and tasty heart-healthy recipes as well as tips for grocery shopping and ingredient substitutions can be found at Many cookbooks, such as the “American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook,” can be found in area bookstores.

Online information and support can be found at, with such features as Ask an Expert, Personal Stories, and Health Planners, which include weight and nutrition calculators, exercise diaries and more.

Two lifestyle brochures, “Managing Your Weight” and “An Eating Plan for Healthy Americans,” are available free by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

A free, 12-week physical-activity program, sponsored by Bayer, “Choose to Move,” helps women make simple changes that result in increasing their activity level. Call 1-888-MY-HEART to receive a registration packet.

The Lifestyle Medical Program provides oxygen, medications and nebulizers at no cost to patients with severe breathing problems, such as asthma, emphysema and COPD. Patients must meet additional guidelines to qualify for the program. Call 800-519-4480 for more information.

American Institute for Cancer Research. Receive a free brochure, “Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer,” which provides guidelines and tips on how to control dietary and other lifestyle factors that affect a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Also available is “Questions and Answers about Breast Health and Breast Cancer,” which provides detailed information on breast cancer risk, treatment and early detection, including how to do a self-examination. Call 800-843-8114, Ext. 25.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. NHLBI has launched a major new heart-attack education campaign called “Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs.” The campaign is an effort to raise awareness among both the general public and physicians about the need for a fast response. Key messages encourage recognition of heart-attack symptoms, working with a physician to create a heart-attack survival plan, and calling 911 as soon as symptoms begin. Campaign partners, the American Red Cross and the National Council on Aging, will be offering “Act in Time” classes. Various educational materials, including a booklet and video, are available for health-care workers, heart-attack patients and the public through the NHLBI Web site at For more information, also visit,,, and

The Reston Hospital Center. The hospital at 1850 Town Center Parkway, Reston, is offering the following classes. Call 1-877-689-3627 to register:

* Childbirth Preparation. Topics include family-centered maternity care, birthing options, relaxation and breathing techniques, breast-feeding and baby care basics. Weekend classes are also available. Call 703-941-7183.

* Diabetes Class Series. Learn how to successfully manage diabetes from certified diabetes experts. Topics include nutrition and meal planning, monitoring, dealing with complications and exercise. Call 703-689-9100.

* Healthy Community 2010. A health screening program designed to improve the health of the community. Call 1-877-689-3627.

* Sibling Classes. The Reston Hospital Center hosts Sibling Classes for children 3-6 years old. Children will hold and diaper an infant doll, watch a video on becoming a sibling, and visit the nursery and birthing suites. Cost is $15 for one child and $25 for two. Call 1-877-689-3627.

* Joint Replacement Orientation Program. Free class to educate families about total joint replacement surgery. Learn about planning, what to expect at the hospital and what to do after surgery. Class meets the first Thurday of the month from 9-10:30 a.m. and the third Tuesday of the month from 4:30-6 p.m. Suite 307 of Pavilion at Reston Hospital Center.

* Pediatric Pre-Surgery Orientation Program. For children to learn what they can expect from surgery. Tour the pre-op and recovery rooms and experience a ride on a stretcher or wheelchair. Free, but registration required. Meets 5:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at Reston Hospital Center.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A support group for family and friends sponsored by the OCD Foundation, a regional organization, meets on the first Monday of each month at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 4000 Lorcum Lane, Arlington, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Call 703-978-6425.