Posts tagged with "preventive tips"

Flu Facts You Should Know

The “flu” is the common term for influenza, which is a viral infection that targets the respiratory system. The flu will normally be resolved on its own but severe cases can be deadly if untreated.

Flu season varies in different parts of the country and from season to season but will often occur between the months of December and May when the flu virus is most prominent.

To date, CDC estimates that this season (2018 – 2019), in the United States, the flu has caused between:

  • 6.2 million to 7.3 million flu illnesses
  • 2.9 to 3.5 million medical visits
  • 69,300 to 83,500 hospitalizations

To stay healthy this season, check out these helpful tips:

How do I know if it’s a cold or the flu?
Click the following link to read our blog The Difference Between a Cold and The Flu to learn how to tell the difference plus more helpful tips!

Flu Facts You Should Know content contributor: Taylor Mosley, USPM Health Coach.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/current.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351725

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/influenza

Eating and cooking better for diabetes

Eating Better and Exercising for Diabetes Management

Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. It also leads to more sick days and less productivity on the job. The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. Losing just 7% of your body weight (which translates to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and exercising moderately (like brisk walking) 5 days a week can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%. Lifestyle changes can also prevent or delay diabetes complications.1

Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle whether you have diabetes or not. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any.

Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. It is easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and your health care team. Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you:

  • Keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges
  • Lose weight or stay at a healthy weight
  • Prevent or delay diabetes problems
  • Feel good and have more energy

What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?

Eat smaller portions. Learn about serving sizes and how many servings you need in a meal. The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan specifies.

The food groups are:

  • Vegetables
    • Nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
    • Starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
  • Fruits — includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes
  • Grains — at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains
    • Includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa
    • Examples: bread, pasta, cereal, and tortillas
  • Protein
    • Lean meat
    • Chicken or turkey without the skin
    • Fish
    • Eggs
    • Nuts and peanuts
    • Dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
    • Meat substitutes, such as tofu
  • Dairy — nonfat or low fat
    • Milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance
    • Yogurt
    • Cheese

Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, which mainly come from these foods:

  • Oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Avocado
  • Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine1

What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?

Foods and drinks to limit include:

  • Fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
  • Foods high in salt, also called sodium
  • Sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream
  • Beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks

Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.

If you drink alcohol, drink moderately — no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes, alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low.1

How much can I eat if I have diabetes?

Two common ways to help you plan how much to eat if you have diabetes are the plate method and carbohydrate counting. Check with your health care team about the method that’s best for you.

Plate method

The plate method shows the amount of each food group you should eat. This method works best for lunch and dinner. You can find more details about using the plate method from the American Diabetes Association.

Carbohydrate (carb) counting method

Carb counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbs you eat and drink each day. Because carbs turn into glucose in your body, they affect your blood glucose level more than other foods do. Carb counting can help you manage your blood glucose level. If you take insulin, counting carbs can help you know how much insulin to take.1

Most carbs come from starches, fruits, milk, and sweets. Try to limit carbs with added sugars or those with refined grains, such as white bread and white rice. Instead, eat carbs from fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and low-fat or nonfat milk. Learn more about diabetes meal plans at American Diabetes Association.

Why should I be physically active if I have diabetes? 

Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy. Physical activity:

  • Lowers blood glucose levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves blood flow
  • Burns extra calories so you can keep your weight down if needed
  • Improves your mood
  • Can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults
  • May help you sleep better 2

What physical activities should I do if I have diabetes? 

  • Ask your health care team what physical activities are safe for you. Many people choose walking with friends or family members.
  • If you have been inactive or are trying a new activity, start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes a day. Then add more time each week.
  • Walk around while you talk on the phone or during TV commercials.
  • Do chores, such as work in the garden, rake leaves, clean the house, or wash the car.
  • Park at the far end of the shopping center parking lot and walk to the store.
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator.
  • Make your family outings active, such as a family bike ride or a walk in the park. 2

References:

  1. http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/awareness-programs/stop-diabetes-at-work
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity
Traveling with Diabetes: Tips for Before, During, and After You Arrive

Traveling with Diabetes: Tips for Before, During, and After You Arrive

Don’t let diabetes stop you from taking your dream vacation. Traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated if you keep in mind these tips and plan accordingly. When planning a trip or vacation, there are a few things that you need to make sure you have checked off your list before you go! Preparing for your trip can help give you peace of mind and help you from running into any tricky situations with your diabetes.

Planning

  1. See your doctor.
    The first step before heading out it to see your doctor. Confirm with your health care professional that you are in good health to travel and that your diabetes is under control. Schedule the exam with enough time to work on your control before you leave. Ask your doctor for prescriptions if you need them, in order to be prepared.
  2. Ask for documentation.
    Request from your physician a note or document that shows your diabetes diagnosis and your need to pack medications.
  3. Ensure you have ample supply of your medication.
    You should always have enough medication to last you through your trip. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you carry twice as much medication as your trip would last.
  4. Pack a healthy snack.
    Always have a well-wrapped snack bag with peanut butter, whole fruit, juice box (for low blood glucose), and whole grain crackers for regulation of blood sugar. You want to make sure that you are always prepared to treat low glucose.
  5. Make a checklist.
    Be sure that you have a final checklist of items that you need and present this checklist to your physician for medical approval. Have your health care professional suggest anything else he or she recommends you bring.
  6. Consider the time zone changes.
    If you are wearing an insulin pump and will be traveling to a location in another time zone, be sure to adjust your insulin pump to reflect that time change!
  7. Bring your insurance card.
    Keep your card and any emergency contact numbers you might need on your trip.

Flying

  1. Plan your meals around your flight.
    If you have a long flight, make sure that you eat a proper healthy meal before and after your flight.
  2. Stay hydrated.
    Make sure you carry bottles of water with you during your flight to stay properly hydrated!
  3. Pack your medications in your carry on. Luggage can easily get misplaced and you wouldn’t want to be without your medication. Bring all prescription labels for medication and pack the medications in separate clear, sealable bags. Bags that are placed in your carry-on-luggage need to be removed and separated from your other belongings for screening.
  4. Manage your stress and arrive to the airport 2-3 hours prior to flight.
  5. Carry or wear medical identification and carry contact information for your health care professional.
  6. Pack any extra healthy snacks and supplies.
  7. Take breaks. If the seatbelt light gets turned off, take a few minutes to walk around. If allowed, stand and stretch in the aisle to help reduce the risk for blood clots.

Road Trip

  1. Pack a cooler of healthy foods like whole, fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, nuts, and whole grain crackers.
  1. Pack your insulin. You will want to have your medications on hand and stored in a cool, dry place.
  2. Take breaks. It is crucial that you make sure you stop every hour or two and walk around. This will help reduce your risk for blood clots!

When You Arrive

  1. Take it easy.
    Traveling can be taxing on the body. When you arrive to your destination, check your blood glucose and relax your body for a few hours.
  2. Plan your activities.
    Make sure that you are planning your activities so that you can be on a routine of insulin checks and meals.
  3. Stay hydrated.
    Be sure to pack an adequate amount of water and liquids for you to stay hydrated. Be wary of drinking any tap water or ice cubes when overseas.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.
    This is especially important for those who will be walking or hiking on their getaway. Check your feet daily for blisters, cuts or swelling. If you see a sign of inflammation, get medical care.
  5. Note local hospitals and pharmacies.
    In case of an emergency, know where to go! Take note of the closest medical centers.

For more information on traveling with diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.


References

Practice the Power of Positive Thinking

Practice the Power of Positive Thinking

Experts continue to find evidence that our thoughts — positive and negative — don’t just have psychological effects, they also have physical effects on our body. Advantages of positive thinking include less stress, better overall physical and emotional health, longer life span, and better coping skills. Follow the practices highlighted here for four to six weeks to improve your positive thinking skills. Don’t give up. Remember, you are worth it!

A positive self-image is key to living a happy and healthy life. Research shows that people who feel confident in themselves can problem solve and make better decisions, take more risks, assert themselves, and strive to meet their personal goals.

Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

One technique that will help you think more positively is to become aware of your negative “self talk” and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Sometimes we imagine the worst in situations or about ourselves and often are unaware of the negative thoughts.

  • Positive thoughts are those that make us feel good about our progress. Take time to praise yourself for the little things.
  • It is important to actively think about what you are feeling and how it is portrayed in your life. Try to catch yourself thinking a negative thought, and say “STOP” to redirect yourself to positive thoughts.
  • Work on replacing negative self-talk with positive words. For example, replace “I hate getting up in the morning,” with “I am grateful for a new day.”
  • Write down negative thoughts. Carry a small pad throughout your day and jot down negative thoughts whenever you notice them.
  • Evaluate relationships in your personal and work life, and surround yourself with those who are also positive and support you.
  • Develop positive statements to replace negative ones using words such as happy, peaceful, loving, enthusiastic, and warm.
  • Avoid negative words such as worried, frightened, upset, tired, bored, not, never, and can’t.
  • Remember to smile, it’s contagious!

Nourish Your Body and Mind

The basic human desire is to feel loved, and sometimes that love comes from within. And to love ourselves fully, we must incorporate healthy habits into our lives for a nourished body, mind and soul. A few ways you can nourish your body are by exercising, eating healthy foods, stretching and connecting to others. A few ways to nourish your mind are to do a mind puzzle, meditate, breathe deeply, and laugh. These activities in conjunction nourish both the body and mind simultaneously to improve positive thinking and a positive outlook.

  • Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  • Be your body’s best friend and supporter, not its enemy.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
  • Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  • Before you go to bed each night, write about how you treated yourself well during the day.

Give Back & Help Others

Giving back has a positive effect on your body and will make you feel great. Studies show that when people donated to charity, the portion of the brain responsible for feelings of reward were triggered. The brain also releases feel-good chemicals and spurs you to perform more kind acts. Giving back can also improve your self-esteem, sense of belonging, and make you feel more thankful and appreciative of what you have.

  • Volunteer at a food bank or local community service project.
  • Donate old clothing or household items to a local drive, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.
  • Offer to help a neighbor or family member in need.
  • Perform one intentional act of kindness.
  • Donate blood.
  • Cook for someone in need.
  • Participate in a local walk to raise money for a charity or condition (ie. Diabetes walk).
  • Clean up the environment.

Build Your Inner Confidence

Having a low self-esteem or feeling bad about yourself may prevent you from doing the things you love. In addition, low self-esteem may hinder the development of healthy relationships with your family and friends. People with a poor self-esteem are more likely to experience declined physical and mental health that affects their daily lives leading to stress and anxiety.

  • Replace the word ‘can’t’ with ‘can.’
  • Replace the word ‘try’ with ‘will.’
  • Focus on the present.
  • Make a list of your current wants and desires and what you will do to achieve them.
  • Set aside a specific time each day for you.
  • Invest in yourself – sign up for a class or workshop.
  • Look for the good in things.
  • Make signs that say positive thoughts and place them in places where you will see them often.

Create Affirming Lists

Make lists, reread them often to help you feel more positive about yourself. Write affirming lists into your journal or a piece of paper, like:

  • 5 of your strengths, for example, persistence, courage, friendliness, creativity.
  • 5 things you admire about yourself, for example the way you have raised your children, your good relationship with your brother, or your spirituality.
  • 5 greatest achievements in your life so far, like recovering from a serious illness, or learning to use a computer.
  • 10 things you can do to make yourself laugh.
  • 10 things you could do to help someone else.

 Talk Back to Negative Thoughts

Here are some examples that can help you keep setbacks in proper perspective when negative thoughts come to mind. In general, catch yourself! Think, “I am being negative about myself.” Say “Stop!” to yourself. Say it out loud. Picture a huge, red stop sign.


Negative Thought: Foods are Either ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ 

  • “I can never eat dessert again.”
  • “Look at what I did. I ate that cake. I will never do well.”

Positive Thought: Work Toward Balance 

  • “I can eat dessert and cut back on something else.”
  • “One slip-up is not the end of the world. I can get back on track.”

Negative Thought: Excuses 

  • “It is too cold to take a walk.”
  • “I don’t have the willpower.”

Positive Thought: It’s Worth a Try 

  • “I can go for a walk and stop if it gets too cold.”
  • “It is hard to change old habits, but I will start with small steps and progress slowly but surely!”

Negative Thought: Should 

  • “I should have eaten less dessert.”
  • “I haven’t written down everything I eat.”

Positive Thought: It’s My Choice 

  • “It is my choice. Next time I can decide not to eat so much.”
  • “I’m writing down everything I eat because it helps me eat better.”

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/pdf/handout_session11.pdf
  2. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/20-ways-love-your-body
  3. http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/workplace/Happy_Handout_2.pdf
Stress and Heart Health

Stress and Your Heart’s Health

You may be surprised to learn that you might be bringing unnecessary stress into your life by your own choices and lifestyle habits. It’s important to remember, even during times of stress, anxiety, or depression, that your heart health is vital to both your mental and physical wellbeing.

During stress, your body releases adrenaline, the hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up, and raises your blood pressure1. These are normal reactions (the “fight or flight” response) that help you prepare to face a stressful situation. Constant stress, however, can have a negative wide-ranging effect on emotions, some of which include:

  • Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain
  • Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
  • Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks
  • Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse
  • Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts
  • Increased frustration, irritability, edginess2

Prolonged or chronic stress increases cortisol, the stress hormone, and can wreak havoc on your health by compromising your immune system and contributing to many diseases including high blood pressure. Research shows that excessive stress can affect lifestyle behaviors and factors that increase the risk of heart disease3.

  • Sudden stress increases the pumping action and heart rate resulting in rising blood pressure.
  • Stress alters the heart rhythms posing a risk for rhythm abnormalities in people with existing heart rhythm disturbances.
  • Stress causes certain blood cells to become stickier.
  • Stress impairs the clearance of fat molecules in the body making it more difficult to lose weight.
  • Stress that leads to depression appears to be associated with an increased intima-medial thickness (a measure of the arteries that signifies worsening blood vessel disease)2.

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths and remains the number 1 cause of death in the United States4.


Stressors, any event that causes the release of stress hormones, can be different for each person. Stressors can be helpful during emergency situations, meeting deadlines or reaching your goals. But stressful situations, such as divorce or job loss, can produce long, low-level stress that over time wears down the body’s immune system and increases the risk of heart disease and a variety of other health problems5.

When stress persists, it can often affect various organs and tissues all over the body including:

  • Nervous system
  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Respiratory system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Endocrine system
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Reproductive system6

Tips to Reduce Stress

While we’re unable to rid ourselves from all inevitable stressors, fortunately, there are lifestyle changes and stress-reduction techniques you can practice to improve your response to stress and help minimize its damaging effects on your heart and overall health.

  • Exercise. When you exercise, your body releases natural, mood-lifting chemicals that help you feel better. Your workout doesn’t have to be extreme; a short walk every day is all it takes.
  • Nutrition. Eating meals that are balanced and portion-controlled will keep you mentally and physically healthy.
  • Sleep. Poor sleeping habits can have a harmful effect on your mood. It is important to get plenty of sleep and rest. Most people need about seven to eight hours each night.
  • Social Support. Talk with friends and family frequently. Think about joining a special-interest class or group. Volunteering is a great way to meet people while helping yourself and others.
  • Deep Breathing. Taking a deep breath is an automatic and effective technique for winding down.
  • Meditation. Studies have suggested that regular meditation can benefit the heart and help reduce blood pressure.
  • Humor. Research shows that humor is an effective mechanism for coping with acute stress. It is recommended to keep a sense of humor during difficult situations. Laughter can release tension and help you maintain perspective, but it can also have physical effects that reduce stress hormone levels in your body.
  • Avoid Alcohol Use. If you are going to drink alcohol, limit how often you drink, and practice moderation as alcohol may increase your risk of depression.
  • Recognize When You Need Help. If you continue to have problems, are unable to overcome the difficult circumstance, or are thinking about suicide, talk to a professional counselor, psychologist or social worker2,7.

Adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors is instrumental in preserving your health and preventing disease. Health is more than just the absence of disease; it is a resource that allows you to reach your goals, satisfy your needs and cope within your environment for more good years®.


References

  1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/Stress-and-Heart-Health_UCM_437370_Article.jsp#.WV0hu1GQxQI
  2. A.D.A.M. Stress
  3. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/How-does-depression-affect-the-heart_UCM_460263_Article.jsp#.WVo-IlGQxQI 
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/
  6. https://www.stress.org/stress-effects/
  7. nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus
June is Men's Health Month - Take Charge of Your Health

Men: Take Charge of Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month and we would like to focus on increasing awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Take charge of your health now by seeking regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. Men can proactively take care of their health as they age with annual physicals and screenings, a well-balanced diet, exercise, and keeping up-to-date with flu shots and vaccinations.

Did you know?

Compared to women, men are more likely to:

  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol
  • Make unhealthy or risky choices
  • Put off regular checkups and medical care1 

The good news is it’s never to late to start taking better care of your health.

What can you do to take charge of your health?

See a doctor for regular checkups even if you feel fine. This is important because some diseases don’t have symptoms at first. Plus, seeing a doctor will give you a chance to learn more about your health.

You can also take care of your health by:

  • Getting screening tests that are right for you
  • Making sure you are up to date on important shots
  • Watching out for signs of health problems like diabetes or depression
  • Eating healthy
  • Getting and staying active

It’s not too late to start healthier habits. Make eating healthy and being active part of your daily routine. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help lower your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Cholesterol
  • Weight

By keeping these numbers down, you can lower your risk of serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Help prevent health problems by:

  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation
  • Quitting smoking

If you have a concern about your smoking or alcohol consumption, talk with a doctor or health care professional for advice.

Make small changes every day.

Small changes can add up to big results – like lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

  • Take a walk instead of having a cigarette.
  • Try a green salad instead of fries.
  • Drink water instead of soda or juice.

Talk about it.

Don’t be embarrassed to talk about your health. Start by talking to family members to find out which diseases run in your family. Share this information with your doctor.

Get preventive care to stay healthy.

Many people think of the doctor as someone to see when they are sick. But doctors also provide services – like shots and screening tests – that help keep you from getting sick in the first place.

Get screening tests to find problems early.

Screenings are medical tests that doctors use to check for diseases and health conditions before there are any signs or symptoms. Screenings help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat.1

  • Get your blood pressure checked at least once every 2 years.
  • Talk to your doctor about getting your cholesterol checked. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
  • If you are age 50 to 74, get tested regularly for colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor what type of colorectal cancer screening test is right for you.
  • If you are a man age 65 to 75 and have ever smoked, talk with your doctor about your risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
  • If you feel stressed, anxious, or sad, ask your doctor to screen you for depression. Most people with depression feel better when they get treatment.

Ask your doctor about taking aspirin every day.

If you are age 50 to 59, taking aspirin every day can lower your risk of heart attack and colorectal cancer. Talk with your doctor about whether daily aspirin is right for you.

Men’s Cancer Screenings 

Every year, more than 300,000 men in the United States lose their lives to cancer.2 The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are:

    • Skin cancer
    • Prostate cancer
    • Lung cancer, and
    • Colorectal (colon) cancer

Colorectal (colon) cancer: If you are 50 to 75 years old, get tested. Talk to your doctor. The schedule depends on the type of test used.

Lung cancer: If you are 55 to 80 years old and are a heavy smoker or a past smoker who quit within the last 15 years, ask your doctor about a low-dose CT scan every year.

Prostate cancer: Talk to your doctor. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against PSA screening for men who do not have symptoms.

Skin cancer: Talk to your doctor. The USPSTF has concluded that there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against routine skin cancer screening.

Eating Healthy: The Basics

Eating healthy means getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients – and limiting unhealthy foods and drinks. Eating healthy also means getting the number of calories that’s right for you (not eating too much or too little).

Be sure to get plenty of:

  • Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, seeds, and nuts

It’s also important to limit:

  • Sodium (salt)
  • Added sugars – like refined (regular) sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and honey
  • Saturated fats, which come from animal products like cheese, fatty meats, whole milk, and butter, and plant products like palm and coconut oils
  • Trans fats, which may be in foods like stick margarines, coffee creamers, and some desserts
  • Refined grains which are in foods like cookies, white bread, and some snack foods3

To get a personalized Daily Food Plan to help you choose healthy foods, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.


References

  1. https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/doctor-visits/men-take-charge-of-your-health#the-basics_1
  2. https://blogs.cdc.gov/cancer/2016/06/13/mens-cancer-screening-cheat-sheet/
  3. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/eat-healthy
Depression affects more than we think

Depression Affects More Than We Think

Depression is a common but serious medical condition that can cause severe symptoms affecting how you think, feel, and act. The CDC estimates that more than 1 out of 20 Americans 12 years of age and older reported depression symptoms in 2009 – 2012.

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

  • Each year about 6.7% of U.S. adults experience major depressive disorder.
  • Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime.

Depression has also been associated with several chronic diseases, making it one of the most common complications of chronic illness. People diagnosed with a chronic medical condition (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) have a higher risk of depression, and it’s also true that people with depression are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and Alzheimer’s among others.

Chronic mental health conditions are becoming increasingly widespread across the U.S. and if not addressed could cost up to $3.5 trillion by 2030 – $3.4 trillion in medical costs and another $140.8 billion in societal costs. Like other chronic illnesses, mental health conditions contribute heavily to productivity losses, but can also worsen unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and incarceration.

Learn the signs and symptoms of depression and promote the benefits of early identification and intervention. Once diagnosed, a person with depression can be treated in several ways. The most common treatments are medication and psychotherapy.

Signs and Symptoms Include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

To Help a Friend or a Relative

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
  • Talk to him or her, and listen carefully.
  • Never dismiss feelings, but point out realities and offer hope.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your loved one’s therapist or doctor.
  • Invite your loved one out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don’t push him or her to take on too much too soon.
  • Provide assistance in getting to the doctor’s appointments.
  • Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But as you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better.

To Help Yourself, Keep Busy

There is a lot to do in life. There is a lot to do every day! Staying busy can help direct your thoughts away from what may be troubling you. Try to focus on important daily routines:

  • Work and hobbies
  • Household projects
  • Social and family gatherings
  • Volunteering in the community

If you get overwhelmed, consider delaying tasks, setting priorities and breaking up projects into manageable bits.

Exercise Regularly

Some people find that regular aerobic exercise improves their symptoms as much as antidepressant medication. Others find that their mood improves by getting out in the sun more often. You might combine the benefits of both by increasing your activity outdoors.

People new to regular exercise should increase their activity level gradually. A good place to start is to add steps to your daily commute, errands, and chores.

Get Enough Sleep

Deep sleep helps the body’s cells grow and repair themselves from such factors as stress. So, getting enough sleep may improve your ability to function while awake. To improve the quality of your sleep, be sure to eat healthy foods, exercise at least moderately on most days, and create a sleep-friendly environment:

  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants during the day.
  • Block out light and noise.
  • Establish a bedtime routine: Go to bed at the same time each night and do something relaxing before getting into bed (take a warm bath, listen to pleasant music).
  • Reduce screen time before bed

Talk to a Friend, Have Some Fun

Don’t try and deal with what you are going through alone. Talk to someone on a regular basis. And while you are at it, put some fun into your life!

In case of an emergency, call:

  • Your doctor.
  • 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
  • The toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.

For more information, call:

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: 800.826.3632
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 800.950.6264
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): 866.615.6464

References

Get motivated to start or amp up your physical activity

Create an Active Lifestyle for More Good Years

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month to raise awareness of the importance of active living. Physical activity is for everyone. No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and become more active during the month of May and beyond! Some activity is better than none. The more you do, the greater the health benefits and the better you’ll feel.

The physical activity guidelines recommend that adults:

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, or swimming.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities like lifting weights or using exercise bands at least 2 days a week.

If you haven’t been active before, start at a comfortable level. Once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time. Then try getting active more often.

What kinds of activity should I do?

To get all the health benefits of physical activity, do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

  • Aerobic activities make you breathe harder and cause your heart to beat faster. Walking fast is an example of aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups.

Did you know?

When you are not physically active, you are more likely to:

  • Get heart disease
  • Get type 2 diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood cholesterol
  • Have a stroke

Build up over time

Start by doing what you can, and then look for ways to do more. If you have not been active for a while, start out slowly. After several weeks or months, build up your activities—do them longer and more often.

Walking is one way to add physical activity to your life. When you first start, walk 10 minutes a day on a few days during the first couple of weeks. Add more time and days. Walk a little longer. Try 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes. Then walk on more days a week.

Pick up the pace. Once this is easy to do, try walking faster. Keep up your brisk walking for a couple of months. You might want to add biking on the weekends for variety.

Do it your way

Pick an activity you like and one that fits into your life.

  • Find the time that works best for you.
  • Be active with friends and family. Having a support network can help you keep up with your program.
  • There are many ways to build the right amount of activity into your life. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.

Make physical activity a part of your life

Physical activity experts say that spreading aerobic activity out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, do each activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. There are many ways to fit in 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. For example, you can do 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day, for 5 days.

On the other 2 days, do activities to keep your muscles strong. Find ways that work well for you. Talk to your health care provider about good activities to try.

Keep it up, step it up

  • To get more health benefits, add more time of aerobic physical activity.
  • Try to move from 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-level activities a week to 5 hours or more a week.

To learn more, visit www.healthfinder.gov and type “activity” in the search box.

My Drive to Exercise WorksheetFREE Worksheet

Download a FREE My Drive to Exercise Worksheet to help get you going to exercise. Identify the benefits you hope to achieve from active living as well as any potential roadblocks.

 


References:

  1. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/get-active
  2. https://health.gov/PAGuidelines/pdf/adultguide.pdf?_ga=1.180799588.236832206.1486744829
Raising Awareness of Rare Diseases

Raising Awareness of Rare Diseases

Seven thousand may not seem like such a big number. But 30 million definitely is. According to the National Institute of Health, about 7,000 rare diseases exist, but they affect about 30 million Americans. Looking closer at the numbers, that means about 1 in 10 Americans face such a diagnosis. Rare Disease Day, the last Day of February each year, seeks to raise awareness for these diseases to propel more research and treatment options for patients.

What is a Rare Disease?

A rare disease, also called an orphan disease, means there are less than 200,000 diagnoses annually in the United States. These diseases can consist of any kind of disorder, syndrome, condition, or cancer. For cancer cases alone, about 50% of patients are battling a rare cancer.

Unfortunately, treatments for these diseases are also seemingly rare. Only 5% have treatments currently, with less than 500 FDA-approved treatments available. But there is still hope. In the past few years, cancer research has seen a facelift with huge undertakings to accelerate the pace and bring us closer to potential cures.

The Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 Initiative, for example, is an unprecedented collaboration spearheaded by Former Vice President Joe Biden. This project’s goal is bringing together pharmaceutical companies, academics, oncology researchers, governmental agencies and more to rapidly accelerate cancer research and treatment efforts. Though this project is focused on cancer specifically, other research projects like the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are working toward changing how we treat and manage all diseases; they’re working towards better prevention and treatment to hopefully eliminate such suffering. For rare diseases like mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that typically sees about 3,000 diagnoses each year, research like this provides so much hope. Many rare disease patients face poor prognoses or a lot of uncertainty with how to approach treatment, so research is crucial.

Steps You Can Take

Rare diseases are notably very difficult to diagnose, and many patients face misdiagnosis for months. Since 80% of rare diseases are genetic and about half of these diagnoses occur among children, newborn screenings are so important. Early detection can allow for life-saving intervention and treatment. If a family has a history of a disease, genetic counseling can also help evaluate and determine the potential risks of an inherited disease.

For the diseases that aren’t genetic, prevention is the best approach. Following some preventive tips, like simply adhering to a healthier diet, can greatly reduce our risk of developing certain cancers. Educating yourself and becoming more aware of preventable cancers and diseases can also be the most important step to reducing your risk. For example, mesothelioma’s only known cause is exposure to asbestos; educating yourself on asbestos and its dangers, as well as where to find it, could essentially eliminate your risk of developing those asbestos-caused diseases.

Get Involved

We can all help support patients and their families suffering from a rare disease by simply raising awareness. Being better educated can truly help save lives, and a simple tweet could inspire someone to take more preventive measures. You can also help by donating to some of the ongoing research projects mentioned above or to disease specific organizations. Funding is essential to research and making a cure a reality.

If you want to learn about other ways to get involved, be sure to check out these suggestions from the National Organization of Rare Diseases, and spread the word on Rare Disease Day and beyond!

MAA_spreadhope_x2_v02



 


Article by Tonya Nelson, health advocate for the rare cancer, mesothelioma

6 Preventive Tips to Help Lower Cancer Risk

6 Preventive Tips to Help Lower Cancer Risk

Did you know that 96% of all Medicare spending is spent on chronic conditions that have lifestyle health risk factors?1 You have more control over your health than you realize! Here are a few tips to help lower your risk of most cancers and chronic conditions. Practice these habits to build lasting changes for your health and wellbeing journey.

1. Know Your Numbers

Excess body fat has been shown to increase the risk of the following cancers: colorectal, esophageal, kidney, breast (in postmenopausal women), uterine, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovarian thyroid, meningioma and multiple myeloma. Also, there have been suggested links to prostate cancer, breast cancer in men and non-Hodgkin lymphoma with excess weight.

Extra fat around your belly may increase health risks more so than having extra fat around your hips and thighs. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight can help lower health risks, including cancers.

A BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 to 24.9 and a waist circumference of less than 40” for men and less than 35” for women will help lower your health risks. Calculate your BMI on the CDC website.

2. Eat Healthy and Exercise

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight requires both physical activity and a healthy eating plan. Any extra physical activity and healthier food choices can make a difference in improving overall health! Always check with your physician first to confirm that a new exercise or activity will be safe for you.

Avoid packaged, processed and fast foods. If it comes in a package, look for whole food options. Examples include steel cut oats instead of packaged quick oats or homemade soup and salad for lunch. Eliminate the boxed macaroni and cheese and roast a variety of vegetables in the oven instead. For dessert try making a recipe from scratch rather than from a box or better yet choose fresh fruit instead of packaged treats.

3. Sleep Well

Insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity. The light emitted from electronic devices tends to wake up the brain and decrease melatonin production. Our bodies have a great capacity to continually heal and repair cellular damage and most of this occurs at night while we are sleeping.

Turn off all electronics 15 minutes earlier each night. Try reading a book rather than watching TV. Practice meditation, prayer, deep breathing or gentle stretching or yoga to help reduce stress and increase relaxation. Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning, aiming for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night.

4. Cut Down or Reduce Alcohol

Alcohol affects every organ in the body. The risk of cancers, along with other health problems can increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. Along with disrupting sleep, alcohol can result in weight gain, elevate blood glucose and increase triglyceride levels in the body. For most women, no more than one drink per day and for most men, no more than two drinks per day is recommended.3

Rather than meeting a friend for a drink, skip the alcohol and go for a walk together. If you typically have two glasses of wine with dinner, have only one. If you decide to have more than one alcoholic beverage at a sitting, sip on a full glass of water in between. Instead of alcohol, choose unflavored sparkling/seltzer water, add fresh berries or fruit slices and serve it in your favorite crystal or stem ware. And if alcohol helps you to unwind before bed, try replacing it with gentle stretching or yoga, listen to relaxing music, and enjoy a soothing cup of decaf chai tea.

5. Avoid Tobacco

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes almost all cases. “Compared to nonsmokers, current smokers are about 25 times more likely to die from lung cancer. Smoking causes about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Smoking also causes cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, voicebox (larynx), trachea, bronchus, kidney and renal pelvis, urinary bladder, and cervix, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.”4 

Visit smokefree.gov to learn how you can quit smoking.

6. Eliminate or Reduce Chemicals

Pesticides, industrial pollutants, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and medications all contain chemical substances that can increase our risk of cancers and other health problems. The synthetic chemicals within these products can disrupt the normal functioning of our endocrine system resulting in reproductive and immune problems, obesity and increased inflammation throughout the body. Try to minimize or eliminate chemical products in your environment.

Use the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 produce lists when shopping for fruits and vegetables. 

  • Check the labels on your cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions for parabens, a chemical preservative commonly used in personal care products, that mimics the hormone estrogen and can result in a much stronger effect and more aggressive growth of some cancer cells.
  • Check out EWG’s Skin Deep website or download the app to find safer options for your favorite products.
  • Switch out plastic food storage containers for glass. And stop microwaving food in plastic. Pickle and spaghetti sauce jars work great for food storage, without any additional cost.
  • Break a sweat! Sweating through exercise or sitting in a dry sauna are great ways to remove toxins from the body. Always check with your physician first to confirm that a new exercise or activity is safe for you try.

References

1. Partnership for Solutions, Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2004).

2. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/867919?nlid=109048_2981&src=wnl_dne_160826_mscpedit&uac=259999BR&impID=1185765&faf=1

3. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/prevention.htm

4. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/other.htm

How to Create Healthy Eating Habits for Life

How to Create Healthy Eating Habits for Life

An eating pattern can be defined as the combination of foods and beverages that make up an individual’s complete dietary intake over time. It represents all of what individuals habitually eat and drink, and these dietary components work together to impact health. A healthy eating habit should be tailored to the individual’s personal, cultural and traditional preferences as well as food budget. An individual’s healthy eating pattern will vary according to their calorie level. Healthy eating habits can help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient needs, and reduce risk for chronic disease. The most nutritious or nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and lean meats and poultry – all with little or no saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

  1. Create healthy eating habits across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choosing a healthy eating habit at an appropriate calorie level can help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient needs, and reduce risk for chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Create an eating habit low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.1

Key Recommendations1

Create healthy eating habits that account for all food and beverages within an appropriate calorie level and include:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups— dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Added sugars, and
  • Sodium

Several components of the diet should be limited which are of particular public health concern, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating habits within calorie limits:

  • Consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars
  • Consume less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 1 teaspoon of salt per day

If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation – up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men – and only by adults of legal drinking age.

How much should you eat?

You should eat the right amount of calories for your body, which will vary based on your gender, age, and physical activity level. Find out your daily calorie needs or goals with the Body Weight Planner by visiting www.supertracker.usda.gov/bwp.

Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.

Healthy eating patterns are adaptable. Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.

Consult with your healthcare professional before making significant changes in diet and nutrition.

Tips to Save More at the Store2

Stretch your dollar with these helpful tips:

  1. Eat before you shop. Grocery shopping hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy food choices.
  2. Read the sales flyer. Sales flyers are usually released mid-week and can be found at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, or on their website.
  3. Use coupons – but only for items that you know you’ll use. If you don’t need an item right away, save the coupon and see if it goes on sale.
  4. Look up and down for savings. Stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. You can save big by looking at the upper and lower shelves too.
  5. Check for store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands.
  6. Choose fresh foods. Stores typically stock shelves from back to front, placing the newest items behind the older ones. Reach in the back for the freshest items especially in the produce, dairy, and meat aisles.
  7. Ask for a rain check. If a sale item has run out, ask the store for a rain check. This allows you to pay the sale price after the item is restocked.
  8. Join your store’s loyalty program. Most stores offer a free loyalty program. Get special offers and discounts that non-members do not.

References:

  1. Health.gov, Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/healthy-eating-patterns/
  2. ChooseMyPlate.gov: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget-save-more
Effects of Smoking on Your Health & Free Resources to Help You Quit

Effects of Smoking on Your Health & Free Resources to Help You Quit

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Since the first Surgeon General’s report in 1964 more than 20 million premature deaths can be attributed to cigarette smoking. Research continues to identify diseases caused by smoking, including such common diseases as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and colorectal cancer. Additionally, exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke has been causally linked to cancer, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, and to adverse effects on the health of infants and children.**

CDC Risks from Smoking

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/infographics/health-effects/index.htm#smoking-risks

Smoking can cause cancer and block your body from fighting it:

  • Poisons in cigarette smoke can weaken the body’s immune system, making it harder to kill cancer cells. When this happens, cancer cells keep growing without being stopped.
  • Poisons in tobacco smoke can damage or change a cell’s DNA. DNA is the cell’s “instruction manual” that controls cell growth and function. When DNA is damaged, a cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor.*

Doctors have known for years that smoking causes most lung cancers. It’s still true today, when nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes. Smokers have a greater risk for lung cancer today than they did in 1964, even though they smoke fewer cigarettes. One reason may be changes in how cigarettes are made and the chemicals they contain. Although cigarette smoking has declined significantly since 1964, very large disparities in tobacco use remain across groups defined by race, ethnicity, educational level, and socioeconomic status and across regions of the country.

Treatments are getting better for lung cancer, but it still kills more men and women than any other type of cancer. In the United States, more than 7,300 nonsmokers die each year from lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke – combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers.

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body including: blood, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney and renal pelvis, larynx, liver, lungs, mouth and throat, pancreas, stomach, trachea, lung, and bronchus. Men with prostate cancer who smoke may be more likely to die from these diseases than nonsmokers. Smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, also causes cancer, including cancers of the esophagus, mouth and throat, and pancreas.*

How Can Smoking-Related Cancers Be Prevented?*

Quitting smoking lowers the risks for cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, and larynx. Within 5 years of quitting, your chance of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. 

Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer drops by half. If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.

Quitting smoking improves the outlook (the prognosis) for people with cancer. People who continue to smoke after diagnosis raise their risk for future cancers and death. They are more likely to die from cancer than nonsmokers and are more likely to develop a second (new) tobacco-related cancer.

Help With Quitting Smoking 

For support in quitting, including free coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). There are also free online resources at https://www.smokefree.gov.


References:

(*) https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/health_effects/cancer/index.htm

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

(**) https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/exec-summary.pdf

Diabetes: Prediabetes, Risks, and Prevention

Diabetes: Prediabetes, Risks, and Prevention

Did you know that more than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes? There are 1.4 million new cases each year alone in the U.S. In addition, 86 million Americans are living with prediabetes, the stage just before diabetes when not all the symptoms are present that warrant a diagnosis.1

Diabetes Facts and StatisticsWhat Are the Risk Factors? 

  • Age: As we age we are more at risk for developing diabetes. Specifically, being over the age of 45 puts you at higher risk.
  • Weight: Being overweight can put you at risk for diabetes. The more fat we have in our bodies the more resistant our cells are to insulin, a hormone produced by our pancreas.
  • Family History: Has anyone in your immediate family (mother, father, sister or brother) been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Race: Diabetes occurs more often in individuals who are African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino-American, and Pacific Islander backgrounds.
  • Physical Inactivity: Exercising less than 3 days a week can put you at risk.
  • History of Gestational Diabetes: Were you ever diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy? Or had a baby who weighed 9 pounds or more?
  • High Blood Pressure: Have you been told that you have high blood pressure, a reading of 140/90 or higher?
  • Low HDL Cholesterol: Is your “good” cholesterol less than 35 mg/dL?
  • Abnormal Triglyceride Levels: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood stream. Levels of triglycerides above 250 mg/dL can put you at increased risk.

 

Are You at Risk? 

To find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, complete the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test on American Diabetes Association website. 

There are several ways to diagnose diabetes. Each way usually needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Testing of your blood glucose levels should be carried out in a health care setting (such as your doctor’s office or a lab) and you should follow the advice and instructions of your health care professional.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When you have prediabetes, your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to be called diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many health problems, so it’s better to prevent it in the first place. You can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and heart disease.3

How Can You Prevent or Delay Diabetes?

You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing by:

  • Cutting back on calories and saturated fat.
  • Losing weight.
  • Increasing your daily physical activity.4

If you’re overweight, losing 7% of your total weight can help you a lot. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose 14 pounds.

How Do You Decide What to Do? 

You don’t have to make big changes. Small steps can add up to big results. Talk with your health care team to make a plan. Always consult with a health care professional before starting any exercise program. A good goal for most people is:

  • Walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Being more active throughout the day by parking further from the store, or taking the stairs.

Make a plan to eat less fat and calories. You can meet with a dietitian to talk about what to eat and how to lose weight. You might try:

  • Starting each dinner with a salad of leafy greens. Salad provides nutrients and fills you up. Then you might eat less of any high-calorie foods that might come later.
  • Switching from regular soda and juice to no-calorie water.

Visit diabetes.org/prediabetes to learn more about managing your prediabetes. For recipes and meal planning, visit Recipes for Healthy Living


References:

1. http://www.diabetes.org/

2. http://main.diabetes.org/dorg/adm/adm-2016-fact-sheet.pdf

3. http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/prediabetes/

4. http://professional.diabetes.org/sites/professional.diabetes.org/files/media/All_About_Prediabetes.pdf

Cervical Health Awareness & Cervical Cancer

Cervical Health Awareness & Cervical Cancer

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and there’s a lot people can do to prevent cervical cancer. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that can cause cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.1

Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.1

What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. There are many types of HPV. Some HPV types can cause changes on a woman’s cervix that can lead to cervical cancer over time, while other types can cause genital or skin warts.

HPV is so common that most people contract it at some point in their lives. HPV usually causes no symptoms so it can be difficult to determine if you have it. For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer.2

Other things can increase risk of cervical cancer:

  • Having HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or another condition that makes it hard for your body to fight off health problems.
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years).
  • Having given birth to three or more children.
  • Having several sexual partners.

The good news?

  • The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care. A Pap test can help detect abnormal (changed) cells before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer can be prevented if women get regular Pap tests and follow-up care.

In support of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, National Cervical Cancer Coalition encourages:

  • Women to start getting regular Pap tests at age 21
  • Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12

It is recommended that teens and young adults get the HPV vaccine if they did not get vaccinated as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine. Visit www.nccc-online.org to learn more.


References:

  1. https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/PDFs/JanuaryNHOToolkit.pdf
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
5 Things We Can Do To Cut The Prevalence of Chronic Disease

5 Things We Can Do To Cut The Prevalence of Chronic Disease

Today’s health care costs in the United States are a consequence of poor health. Poor health has cost consequences to organizations, industry and our economy. The impact of poor health on employers includes not only the medical and pharmacy costs but also costs from productivity losses. “As of 2012, 117 million Americans have one or more chronic illnesses, which account for 75% of all health care costs and 70% of deaths in the United States.”1,2

However, there is a light at the end of the health care cost crisis tunnel, and that is prevention. In fact, 96% of all Medicare dollars are spent on chronic conditions that have lifestyle health risk factors.3

Michael Roizen, M.D., Chair Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has determined that there are five behaviors that mitigate chronic disease:

  • walking 30 minutes a day,
  • eating healthy,
  • not smoking,
  • having a waist size that is less than half of your height, and
  • drinking alcohol only in moderation.

If an individual engages in these five behaviors, they typically spend 33% to 50% less on health care costs compared with people who have health risks. Currently, only 4% of Medicare beneficiaries possess these five health behaviors. If 75% of all Americans had these characteristics, more than $600 billion and perhaps up to $1 trillion per year could be saved.4,5,6,7


Dr. Roizen and Dr. Loeppke VideoWatch this video where Dr. Roizen from the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Loeppke from U.S. Preventive Medicine discuss the 5 things you can do to reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Watch Video!

 

 


Be part of the movement to prevent the health risk factors that lead to chronic disease, to help us move from a reactive sick care system to a proactive health care system.

Here’s to More Good Years®!


References:

  1. Shin-Yi Wu and Anthony Green, Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Health, 2000).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,“ Chronic Disease Overview,” 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm
  3. Partnership for Solutions, Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2004).
  4. Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Ted Spiker, This Is Your Do-Over: The 7 Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, and Getting a Second Chance at the Life You Want (New York, NY: Scribner, 2015), introduction, xxiii.
  5. Agneta Åkesson et al., “Low-Risk Diet and Lifestyle Habits in the Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction in Men: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 64 (13) (2014): 1,299–1,306.
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