Regular checkups are important. You aren’t feeling sick, your energy levels are up, you’re diet is great. You feel you don’t need for a regular checkup. If that’s your thought process, you may be wrong. Regular checkups are extremely important to everyone’s health. You provider will do screenings and exams that you need and when you need them. You may not even consider some of the screenings they do that can help avoid future illness or injury. Below are resources to help you and your health care provider determine what health services and screenings are best for you. Why Get Regular checkups? By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare. Start with your UFMC doctor. The best place to go for health services is your regular health care provider. We are here to help you stay healthy and strong. Your doctor is a great sounding board whether you have illness or not, make sure to use them as your best resource. Encourage others to get a checkup. You may also want to start a campaign in your community to encourage others to make an appointment for a check-up or health screening. It’s important that everyone gets a checkup to make sure they are on track to great health. Make an appointment for your checkup today!
Your Family Health History Have you ever thought about your family health history? It’s something that doctors generally ask about, but have you ever thought about what it can result in for you? What is your family health history? You and your family members share genes. You may also have behaviors in common, such as exercise habits and what you like to eat. You may live in the same area and come into contact with similar things in the environment. Family history includes all of these factors, any of which can affect your health. Why is knowing family health history good for your health? Most people have a family member that has a health history of at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself, especially if more than one close relative has (or had) the disease or a family member got the disease at a younger age than usual. Collect your family health history information before visiting the doctor, and take it with you. Even if you don’t know all of your family health history information, share what you do know. Family health history information, even if incomplete, can help your doctor decide which screening tests you need and when those tests should start. How can I improve my health using our family health history? You can’t change your genes, but you can change unhealthy behaviors. Be active, improve your eating habits, stop smoking. You may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests. Worried about your family health history? Make an appointment and discuss it with your doctor.
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!
Is the winter chill may be leaving your joints a bit achy? Does your arthritis feel like it’s worse than ever? Whether this joint pain/weather connection is scientifically true or not, you can still use these arthritis pain-relief tips when your aching joints act up in winter. Dress Warm! If it’s cold outside, keep aching hands warm with gloves, and add extra layers over knees and legs. Layer. Layer. Layer. It's important to wear several layers to enable you to control your comfort level when temperatures shift dramatically during the day. Consider wearing a few pairs of gloves that you can peel them off, one by one, as needed. Hydrate Drinking more water. Even mild dehydration might make you more sensitive to pain, so hydration and activity is key! Lose Weight Not only will weight off your joints help, but the physical activity with losing weight has shown successful results in reducing inflammation in joints. Additionally, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, studies have shown significant improvement people with knee arthritis can get from weight loss, from diet, and exercise. Exercise Inside While it's understandable to want to avoid winter chill, people with joint pain should still stay active. The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function. Come up with an indoor exercise plan such as treadmill or elliptical work or consider something like walking at the mall. Let Warm Water Comfort You Swimming in a heated pool is both great exercise and soothing to joints. You can also get relief from warm baths, just don’t go right out into the cold after your soak. Let your body temperature normalize a bit first. Supplement Vitamin D Studies report that low levels of vitamin D have been shown to play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain. Being deficient in vitamin D also raises the risk for osteoporosis. You're less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, so talk to your doctor about your need for supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods. Get a Massage Yes, you a great reason to indulge yourself and get a massage. Pain often emanates from the joint and some from the muscles around the joint. Getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks was shown to reduce pain. Talk to your doctor about additional ways you can ease your joint pain this cold winter season.
Kidney stones are common, but the more you know about these painful little kidney block, the better prepared you will be if you ever get one. What is a kidney stone? A kidney stone is a solid formation that forms in a kidney when there are high levels of certain substances in the urine. These substances are normally found in the urine and do not cause problems at lower levels. A stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract. Kidney stones vary in size. A small stone may pass on its own, causing little or no pain. A larger stone may get stuck along the urinary tract. A stone that gets stuck can block the flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding. You may have a kidney stone if you:
- have pain while urinating
- see blood in your urine
- feel a sharp pain in your back or lower abdomen
- a condition that affects levels of substances in your urine that can cause stones to form
- a family history of kidney stones
- repeating, or recurrent, urinary tract infections
- blockage of your urinary tract
- digestive problems
- Always have an adult supervise firework activities to ensure your children’s safety. Many parents don’t realize that young children can even suffer injuries from sparklers since they burn at temperatures of about 2,00o degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always have a bucket of water or a water hose ready just in case there is a fire.
- Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured. Also, animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed by the fireworks.
- Never relight a malfunctioning or “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
- If you have any fireworks left, store them in a cool, dry area.
- Only use legal fireworks which are clearly labeled with instructions.
Your vision is one of the most important things you can “keep your eye on” (yes, pun intended) regarding your health. Cataracts can cause you to lose your eyesight and are important to have under control. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend's face. Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure. If you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while and think you are at risk, ask your doctor for more information.
Sickle cell anemia is one of the most common forms of sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. “Sickle-shaped” means that the red blood cells are shaped like a crescent. Normal red blood cells are disc-shaped and look like doughnuts without holes in the center. They move easily through your blood vessels. Red blood cells contain an iron-rich protein called hemoglobin. This protein carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Sickle cells contain abnormal hemoglobin called sickle hemoglobin or hemoglobin S. Sickle hemoglobin causes the cells to develop a sickle, or crescent, shape. Sickle cells are stiff and sticky. They tend to block blood flow in the blood vessels of the limbs and organs. Blocked blood flow can cause pain and organ damage. It can also raise the risk for infection. Contact us for more information about this disease and how it can be treated.
We would like to wish you a safe and happy holiday and provide you with a few tips to stay healthy and not overindulge this holiday season. With a season full of holiday parties galore, it’s important to keep on track with your diet and not over-indulge in those things you’ve been working so hard to keep on track with. We offer the following tips to help you with your goals.
- Always know that the buffet is the holiday danger zone. We see food, good food, and it’s there for the taking, but remember ever spoonful that goes on your plate can lead to overeating. Just remember to keep the buffet in moderation, do not take more than you bargained for. If you are worried about overeating from the buffet, try eating something light before the party to hold you over and help you avoid the cheese plate.
- Seated dinners are also often times to indulge. Eat what you want, but remember always in moderation. If your plate comes with a salad and some of that yummy mac and cheese you’ve been craving, make sure to eat your salad first and only have a few bits of the high calorie items. Also, consider sharing with others at your table, so you don’t slip in another bite. And always order an entree that is rich in proteins such as fish, lamb, or anything fresh and nutritious. Choose wisely and choose the healthiest option on the menu.
- Control your alcohol intake. When it comes to champagne, wine or cocktails, you don’t have to go all out. Have a drink and be done, keep it in moderation.