Did you know that January 30th is World Leprosy Day? Leprosy is Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs. The disease has been around since ancient times, often surrounded by terrifying, negative stigmas and tales of leprosy patients being shunned as outcasts. Outbreaks of leprosy have affected, and panicked, people on every continent. The oldest civilizations of China, Egypt, and India feared leprosy was an incurable, mutilating, and contagious disease. However, leprosy is actually not that contagious. You can catch it only if you come into close and repeated contact with nose and mouth droplets from someone with untreated leprosy. Children are more likely to get leprosy than adults. World Leprosy Day was initiated in 1954 by French philanthropist and writer, Raoul Follereau, as a way to raise global awareness of this deadly ancient disease and call attention to the fact that it can be prevented, treated and cured. For more information on Leprosy and the history of Leprosy, read more at Leprosy.org.
Studies have shown that a diet high in folate-rich foods (such as broccoli, mushrooms, avocado, just to name a few) can help prevent cancer, heart disease, birth defects, anemia and cognitive decline. Are you getting enough folate from your diet? Mean dietary intakes of folate (including food folate and folic acid from fortified foods and supplements) range from 454 to 652 micrograms per day in U.S. adults and from 385 to 674 micrograms in children. Keep in mind that adults need about 400 micrograms daily, and children need roughly 300 micrograms. The following is a list of a few common signs that you may be suffering from a folate deficiency:
- Poor immune function; frequently getting sick
- Chronic low energy (including chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Poor digestion; issues like constipation, bloating and IBS
- Developmental problems during pregnancy and infancy, including stunted growth
- Canker sores in the mouth and a tender, swollen tongue
- Changes in mood, including irritability
- Pale skin
- Premature hair graying
- Pregnant women or women looking to become pregnant
- Breast-feeding mothers
- Anyone with liver disease
- Anyone on kidney dialysis
- Anyone taking medications for diabetes
- Those frequently using diuretics or laxatives
- Anyone taking methotrexate
Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck that makes thyroid hormone (found just below your Adam's apple). Thyroid hormone controls many activities in your body, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much or too little of the hormone. Depending on how much or how little hormone your thyroid makes, you may often feel restless or tired, or you may lose or gain weight. Generally, women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases, especially right after pregnancy and after menopause. You may want to talk to your doctor about getting your thyroid tested if you:
- Had a thyroid problem in the past
- Had surgery or radiotherapy affecting the thyroid gland
- Have a condition such as goiter, anemia, or type 1 diabetes
- Some of us give blood because we were asked by a friend
- Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day
- Some believe it is the right thing we do
- Giving blood may help your blood flow better
- During your donation, you’ll get a mini check-up checking your blood pressure and hemoglobin levels
- Giving blood helps your iron levels stay balanced
- Doing good for others can even help you live longer. From a psychological perspective the benefits of knowing you’re giving back can have long term effects.
With every new year comes new year’s resolutions. And to help you and your family stay on track with your resolution we’d like to announce January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month. A recent report from the Surgeon General states that between 15 and 25 percent of school children in the United States is overweight, placing them at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Only about half of all Americans aged 12 to 21 exercises regularly. With January being National Family Fit Lifestyle month, what a better time than now to get the entire family to begin establishing healthy lifestyle habits? Although January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month, becoming health conscious should be a yearlong and lifelong commitment. The best role models to teach children about living healthy are the adults in their lives. Choosing nutritious foods and engaging in active indoor and outdoor activities is a great way for spending time with the whole family while promoting the importance of a healthier lifestyle. A family that gets fit together becomes a much stronger and healthier unit. Here are a few fit lifestyle tips:
- Go food shopping together and choose nutritious foods. Discuss the differences and the benefits of eating healthier.
- Make regular physical fitness activity a part of your family's daily routine.
- Limit the time spent in front of the television.
- Also visit The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to learn more on how to help your family become fit!