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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

colon cancerMarch is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Did you know that it is the third most common cancer in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths? Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, affects men and women equally and is usually found in people ages 50 years or older. With the right precautions, colorectal cancer is preventable and can be detected early with regular screenings.

Since 90 percent of new cases occur in people ages 50 or older, it is recommended for men and woman to begin getting screened at that age. Survival rate for individuals who have early stage colorectal cancer is 90 percent but only 10 percent when diagnosed after it’s spread to other organs. Colonoscopies and other screenings help detect abnormalities and can save lives.

Remember, colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable in most cases. Screening and early detection is key!

To schedule your screening for colorectal cancer, call NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900.

To show your support and help raise awareness for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, join us in wearing blue this Friday, March 7.

 

Get Heart Healthy

heart foodHeart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This includes heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Most of the risk factors for heart disease can be prevented or treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Risk factors include:

  • Diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (high triglycerides and low HDL or “good” cholesterol)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heavy alcohol use

People with multiple risk factors are at higher risk for developing heart disease. Here are some steps you can take to decrease your risks. Continue Reading »

Cold Weather Health Hazards

cold weather Cold weather presents increased risks to your workforce in a variety of ways: It can directly injure the body, aggravate existing physical injuries and even cause injury through changes in our environments. However, you can mitigate the risk. All of these injuries can be prevented—with preparation.

Low Temperatures and Wind Chill
The physical elements of cold—cold temperatures, rain, sleet, snow and wind—can cause direct injury to the skin and body. The mildest form of injury is chilblains, which is a skin tissue injury. This occurs when uncovered skin is exposed to low temperatures and wind. A more serious tissue injury is frostbite. In frostbite whole appendages such as fingers, ears and noses are damaged. Frostbite can even result in amputation in severe cases. The most serious kind of cold-related injury is hypothermia. This type of injury compromises the makeup of vital organs such as the heart and brain.

Remember, air temperature is only part of the picture. Wind chills can cause harm beyond the digits on the thermometer. For a wind chill calculator, visit the National Weather Service online. Continue Reading »

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

foodJanuary is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and there is a lot of information to be had if you are pregnant or know someone who is and want to decrease your chances of having a child with a birth defect.

According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network:

  • Every 4 ½ minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States
  • More than 120,000 babies born with a birth defect (approximately one in every 33 live births) are reported each year in the United States
  • Birth defects are the most common cause of death in infants and the second most common cause of death in children ages one to four years old
  • Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect. It occurs in one out of 100 births

Don’t let these statistics overwhelm you. The risk for many types of birth defects can be reduced through healthy lifestyle choices before and during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant should:

  • Consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily
  • Manage chronic maternal illnesses such as diabetes, seizure disorders or phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • Talk to a health care provider about taking any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, as well as any supplements Continue Reading »

Resolution tips to keep you on track

shutterstock_169613255We’re about a week into 2014, so I thought it would be a good idea to see how everyone’s resolutions have been going. Good, I hope!? I’ve noticed that a lot of resolutions people make revolve around wellness. Losing weight tops the list of the ten most popular resolutions along with staying fit, quitting smoking, spending less, getting more organized and spending more time with the family.

About 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but less than 10 percent actually succeed in achieving their resolution or goal. Unfortunately, resolutions tend to be abandoned quickly. Why is that?

  1. Too vague. More specific goals tend to result in more successful outcomes. General goals are hard to grasp and usually result in loss of interest. Analyze what you are really trying to accomplish and break it down into more specific goals. Instead of “I will drink more water,” try, “I will keep a water bottle on my office desk, in my car, on my nigh stand and drink at least eight cups of water a throughout the day.”
  2. It can be lonely sometimes. While personal goals are… personal, but the effort to reach that goal does not have to be. Studies show that the more you share what you are trying to accomplish with others, a support network, family, friends, etc. the more successful you will be. Friends and family can support your efforts to achieve your resolution. Workout with a buddy, go running with your neighbor find a “team” that will motivate you.
  3. You lose track. As tedious as it sounds, keeping track of your efforts does help.  Whether they are food journals, or fitness trackers; pedometers that track how  many steps you’ve taken in a day or an app that lets you know how many hours of sleep you’ve gotten, can help hone in on areas you want to work on. In addition, it keeps you accountable and well… on track!
  4. Forgetfulness. People who are reminded of their goal on a consistent basis tend to be more successful in achieving those goals. The best thing to avoid losing focus of your goal is to write it down. Make yourself several notes with your goal written on it and post these all over your house; on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator and pantry door; in your car, etc. Make yourself a bookmark and keep it in your favorite book; write it as a screen saver for your computer, tablet or phone. Tell your friends and family. If your goal is to drink more water for example, you can easily program your phone, computer or table to make a sound every hour as a reminder to drink water. If your goal is to get more physically active, carve out time in your calendar (write it in) to do just that. 
  5. No reward system. Good deeds should be rewarded. If you reach a milestone along the way to your final goal, do something good for yourself (do not reward yourself with food). Buy a book, enjoy a massage, take a day off work, etc. Do something that will create a positive feeling. It’ll keep you  motivated. 

Above all, when making resolutions try to focus on ONE behavior change. Trying to change too many things at once is NOT a strategy that will lead to success. Good luck to you and a happy 2014 to all!

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.