What is ovarian cancer? Women are becoming more and more at risk of ovarian cancer. But many are still not sure what it even is. According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Ovarian cancer is a disease in which, depending on the type and stage of the disease, malignant (cancerous) cells are found inside, near, or on the outer layer of the ovaries. An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs, or germ cells, and produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Everyday Heart Health You know that exercise and a good diet can keep your heart healthy. But what else can you do to keep your ticker going strong? Incorporate these habits into your lifestyle and your heart health will be the best it can be for you.
- Eat healthy fats, NOT trans fats. We need fats in our diet, including saturated and polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. One fat we don’t need is trans fat, which is known to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke over a lifetime. Trans fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol levels and lowering your good cholesterol levels. By cutting them from your diet, you will improve the blood flow throughout your body. So, what are trans fats?
- Have good dental Hygiene. Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth daily. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies continue on this issue, but many have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. These changes may in turn, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Get enough sleep. We say this all of the time, but sleep is essential. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits. One study looking at 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
- Stand, do not sit. Sitting too long can cause overall problems with your health. Research suggests that staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health no matter how much exercise you do. This is bad news for the many people who sit at sedentary jobs all day. Sitting for long periods of time (especially when traveling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot). Exercise, exercise, exercise!
- Avoid secondhand smoke like the plague. Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year. And nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart disease when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. This is because the chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries.
National Suicide Prevention Month Did you know, September is National Suicide Prevention Month? According to the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, when people and communities take action, lives can be saved. In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month (September) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16), the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization – along with hundreds of other local and national organizations – are joining together to inform the public of how simple actions, such as waiting by someone’s side until first responders arrive, can save a person’s life and generate community-wide, system-level impact. Throughout the month of September, AFSP and the Action Alliance will help spur action by changing the conversation about suicide from one of despair and inevitability to one of hope, health, and resilience. No special training is required to be there for someone in crisis, to promote stories of hope, and to change the national narrative. Combined with systems such as emergency communications, law enforcement, crisis services, and health care systems, simple actions of compassion can help to get people who are struggling or in crisis get to a place of recovery and wellness. If you, or a loved one are at risk of suicide, please call the national suicide prevention hotline immediately at 1-800-273-8255. Not suicidal, but feeling pretty down and need help, make an appointment with your doctor. We’re here to help!
Yoga and your health. So many people do yoga, and they do it because it’s so great for your mind and body. It helps to keep the whole you healthy. The benefits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. In the fitness world, both are extremely important. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging, and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation. Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health. Yoga is for everyone. Most yoga studios and local gyms offer yoga classes that are open to all generations and fitness levels. It’s exciting to enter a room full of young teens, athletes, middle-aged moms, older gentlemen, and even fitness buffs and body builders. Everyone can feel accepted and included and, unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga tends to offer open arms. Whether you like to say "Om" or you can’t stand the word “yogi”; whether you are 92, 53, or even 12, yoga can help you. Yoga helps you achieve overall health and wellness. Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to find stillness in a world consumed with chaos. Peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone. Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation practices help foster an inner shift from to-do lists, kids and spouse’s needs, financial concerns, and relationship struggles to something a little bit bigger than the issues you face. Yoga helps relieve stress and declutters the mind, helping you to become more focused. Yoga helps you stay strong, promotes mobility and keeps you flexible. Yoga’s focus on strength training and flexibility is an incredible benefit to your body. The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good, too. Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder, and neck pain. Yoga builds muscle. Most yoga poses are held for five full breaths versus the usual one to three breaths. Muscles are challenged as the mind and body have to work together simultaneously to hold a position without giving up. Breathing, posing, moving, and increasing flexibility happen together at one time, which unearths a new level of discipline in your mind and body. There are so many benefits to yoga, more than listed above. But if you’re in shape and you can do it, fit yoga into your regular routine.
Tips for Healthy Aging You don’t have to be over 65 to care about how you age. Healthy aging is something that we should consider life-long. Being active, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep are just a few of the things we should consider when trying to stay healthy and age gracefully. cYou should also consider the following: Maintain your brain Keep your brain active at all stages of life. One in eight older adults (aged 65+) in the United States has Alzheimer's disease, and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline. Cultivate your relationships Twenty-eight percent of older adults live alone, and living alone is the strongest risk factor for loneliness. Common life changes in older adulthood, such as retirement, health issues, or the loss of a spouse, may lead to social isolation. Adults who engage in meaningful community activities like volunteer work report feeling healthier and less depressed. Tips: Join a planning committee, volunteer, take a trip with friends, play cards at your local senior center, or join a book club. Remember that participating in activities should be fun, not stressful! Live an active lifestyle Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Living an active life will help you stay fit enough to maintain your independence to go where you want to and perform your own activities. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, to name a few. Get enough sleep Humans can go longer without food than without sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours per night – but often get much less. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems. Reduce stress As we age, our stressors change and so does our ability to deal with stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. In fact, it is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. Take charge of your health Most of our health is not controlled by the health care system but by our own actions, our environment, our genes, and social factors. In addition, physicians are not perfect; medical errors do happen. The more patients participate in their own health care, the more satisfied they tend to be with the care they receive. Keep your health in check and make sure to consider these great tips for healthy aging.
Is red meat good or bad for your health? Red meat contains numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy, balanced diet. In recent years, however, its reputation has been severely blemished, with studies suggesting that red meat intake can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. But is it really that bad for us? For many households, it is considered a food staple, with some of us consuming beef, lamb, and pork in different variations on a daily basis. Then what is the harm? When it comes to your intake, cancer has been the most published health implication. In October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report concluding that it is "probably carcinogenic to humans," meaning that there is some evidence that it can increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, the WHO concluded that processed meats - defined as "meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation" - is "carcinogenic to humans," meaning that there is sufficient evidence that processed meat intake increases cancer risk. We’ve also read studies on red meat and heart disease, kidney disease, gout and other diseases. But despite the evidence, red meat in moderation or every once and awhile is not a problem. You will always want to have a balanced diet that includes unlimited amounts of vegetables, but adding in red meat here and there is not a problem. Everything in moderation!
Bee Stings. What to do if you or a family member has been stung by a bee. Bee stings can be very serious and even deadly for those that are allergic. But how do you know if you’re allergic? Allergy skin tests and allergy blood tests are often used together to diagnose insect allergies. Your doctor may also want to test you for allergies to yellow jackets, hornets and wasps — which can cause allergic reactions similar to those of bee stings. If you've had a reaction to bee stings that suggests you might be allergic to bee venom, your doctor may suggest one or both of the following tests:
- Skin test. During skin testing, a small amount of allergen extract (in this case, bee venom) is injected into the skin of your arm or upper back. This test is safe and won't cause any serious reactions. If you're allergic to bee stings, you'll develop a raised bump on your skin at the test site.
- Allergy blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to bee venom by measuring the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.
- Remove the stinger as soon as you can, as it takes only seconds for all of the venom to enter your body. Get the stinger out any way you can, such as with your fingernails or a tweezer.
- Wash the sting area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. You might try ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Children's Motrin, others) to help ease discomfort.
- If the sting is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease redness, itching or swelling.
- If itching or swelling is bothersome, take an oral antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton).
- Avoid scratching the sting area. This will worsen itching and swelling and increase your risk of infection.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Did you know August is the month for getting up to date on your immunizations? Especially if you have school-aged children or kids heading off to college, you’ll want to make sure everyone has the proper and required immunizations before they go back to school. Vaccinations (or shots) help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines aren’t just for kids – adults need to get vaccinated to stay protected from serious illnesses like the flu, measles, and pneumonia. National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots. National Immunization Awareness Month How can National Immunization Awareness Month make a difference? Let’s raise awareness about vaccines and share strategies to increase immunization rates in our community. Here are just a few ideas:
- Talk to friends and family members about how vaccines aren’t just for kids. Shots can protect people of all ages from serious diseases
- Encourage people in your community to get the flu vaccine every year
- Invite a doctor or nurse to speak to parents about why it’s important for all kids to get vaccinated
End of Summer Blues Got You Down? Tips to brighten your mood. Feeling a little down with the idea of fall approaching. End of summer blues is a common affliction. Transitions are hard and the end of summer can be particularly difficult for a number of reasons. Symbolically, the end of summer signifies the end of a season of fun for many people. No more carefree summer days, no more Summer Friday hours, and no more summer barbecues or gatherings. And the thought of snow! Days are undeniably getting cooler and shorter and for those sensitive to light, this can contribute to the end of summer blues. Changing your mindset is easy with a few of the following tips.
- Look forward to all things fall. Wearing cozy sweaters, apple picking and apple cider, reading by the fire, enjoying going for long walks in the park with cooler temperatures, and pumpkin patches - just a few things to get excited about for fall.
- Reframe your thoughts on summer. The idea of thinking differently (psychologically known as Cognitive Reframing often a treatment for depression or anxiety) is to think differently and "reframe" negative or untrue thoughts into more positive ones. In other words, think about what you enjoy about the fall, instead of fixating on what you don't like about the end of summer.
- Plan a trip. Having something to look forward to and the anticipation of an upcoming event can change your entire mindset about your summer coming to a close. Several studies have shown, just thinking about a trip you plan to go on boosts happiness.
- Embrace every opportunity. Figure out what you don't like about the fall and plan ahead. Rather than falling back into old habits, create new ones that reduce stress. For example, if you dread going back to the gym instead of exercising outdoors now that the summer is over, create a new routine of exercising in the park.
- Take the best of summer into fall: Give yourself permission to take your summer mindset into September and beyond. Continue to have fun, to eat fresh produce from the farmer's market, to spend time outdoors, to go for walks after dinner and long bike rides on weekends.
School is starting - Your back-to-school checklist. Make sure you and your children are ready for back to school. Get bedtimes back on track. Summer allows you to spend more time outside and with more light during the day, it’s an easy thing to do. Before school starts, get back into the bedtime routine with the following tips:
- Power off the devices an hour before bedtime. Powering off gives brains (children and adults) time to unplug from the stimulation and the light from phones and computers. Reading a book can help relax and fall asleep.
- Consider darkening shades. The clock says it’s bedtime, but it’s still light out. That can interfere with a child’s sleep. Darkening shades can block out distracting light and help your child drift off more easily.
- Ease off caffeine. Your child or teen should stop drinking anything with caffeine, including sodas and energy drinks, after noon. That way, by bedtime, the stimulant will be out of their system.