Regularly Get Your Heart Tested

Treat your heart well.

According to the CDC:

    • “About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year –that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
    • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
    • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.
    • Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.”

Here is an excellent video that encourages you to do proper testing. 🙂


 

Knowing Yourself Is Helpful

Insights on chronic illnesses.

We have regularly written about the value of health care knowledge. For example, see: Insights on Health LiteracyHealth Rankings in America Cancer Health.

Today, let’s look at the observations of a Crohn’s disease survivor. As Tessa Miller writes for the NY Times:

“Finding out you have a chronic illness — one that will, by definition, never go away — changes things, both for you and those you love. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know how much my life would change. There’s no conversation about that foggy space between the common cold and terminal cancer, where illness won’t go away but won’t kill you, so none of us know what ‘chronic illness’ means until we’re thrown into being sick forever.”

“Chronic illness patients not only face painful physical symptoms, but also mental ones that linger even when the disease is well controlled. A therapist should be considered a crucial part of your care team, just as important as a gastroenterologist or cardiologist.”

“Your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore, and a future version that looks different than you’d planned. You might have to give up career goals, hobbies and family plans, learning a ‘new normal’ in their place.”

“Chronically ill people research their diseases ad nauseam. They try more treatments than they can count. In many cases, great scientific minds can’t crack a cause or cure. So unless someone asks for your advice, don’t offer it.”

“There’s a sense of shame that comes with chronic illness that pressures patients into secrecy, making them feel like they can’t discuss their disease outside of the doctor’s office. Secrecy bolsters the lack of public conversation and knowledge, which feeds the shame patients feel.”

“Living with chronic illness makes every day a little harder, but it also makes every day a little sweeter. Though I don’t know what my future holds, I’m overwhelmed with a gratitude I didn’t have before my diagnosis — some days I marvel at just being alive.”

Click the image to read more.

Credit: Mark Pernice

 

Celebrities Are Just Like Us

Alex Trebek’s cancer announcement and more.

As we well know, fame and fortune do not ensure our health. For most of us though, we usually don’t have the world able to read about our maladies through social media.

This was again illustrated this past week.

That is why we must live life every day. And be as upbeat as possible.

For example, just in the last few days, we learned that Beverly Hills 90210‘s Luke Perry died after a massive stroke. The family of baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver announced that he was suffering from dementia. And Jeopardy host Alex Trebek revealed that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

In the case of Trebek, he shared his cancer status himself through Twitter and YouTube. He offered a message of hope in the face of his dire diagnosis. His YouTube video has been viewed several million times

As a PC survivor, I especially appreciate Trebek’s open, honest, and upbeat message.

 

Insights on Health Literacy

It’s essential to become more health literate.

In the United States, how much do people know and understand about various health issues? For many, the answer is unfortunately not much.

Consider a few of the highlights from the report “America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information.” Click the image to access the full report.

Insights on Health Literacy

In general:

“Health literacy — the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions — is essential to promote healthy people and communities. Health care institutions and public health systems play a critical role in health literacy, because they can make it easier or more difficult for people to find and use health information and services. For the first time, there are national data that demonstrate currently available health information is too difficult for average Americans to use to make health decisions.”

“Limited health literacy isn’t a disease that makes itself easily visible. In fact, you can’t tell by looking. Health literacy depends on the context. Even people with strong literacy skills can face health literacy challenges, such as when: They are not familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work. People have to interpret numbers or risks to make a health care decision. They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared or confused. They have complex conditions that require complicated self-care.”

Key findings and policy implications of the first-ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) findings include:

Only 12 percent of U.S. adults had proficient health literacy“Over a third of U.S. adults — 77 million people — have difficulty with common health tasks, such as following directions on a prescription drug label or adhering to a childhood immunization schedule using a standard chart.”

“Limited health literacy affects adults in all racial and ethnic groups. The proportion of adults with basic or below basic health literacy ranges from 28 percent of white adults to 65 percent of Hispanic adults.”

“Although half of adults without a high school education had below basic health literacy skills, even high school and college graduates can have limited health literacy.

Compared to privately insured adults, both publicly insured and uninsured adults had lower health literacy skills.”

All adults, regardless of their health literacy skills, were more likely to get health information from radio/television, friends/family, and health professionals than from print media.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

Here are two weather-related infographics.

The current cold wave can have a dramatic effect on our health. PLEASE be smart. And best wishes to those dealing with sub-zero temperatures today.

In this post, we present two infographics: one for handling the current cold wave and the other for being prepared for a future cold weather event.

From BabaMail: “As the cold weather begins to set in, our bodies must prepare themselves for the harsh winter ahead. Here are a few of the reasons that we are more prone to illness during the colder months, and tips on how to protect our bodies in lieu of these changes. Read on to find out how to keep your immune system strong against the winter chill.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

From VNA Health Group: “Every year, winter weather takes its toll on our homes, puts people’s lives at risk, and causes delays in travel. Getting ready for winter will ensure that you’re one step ahead of Old Man Winter’s fury. Prepare yourself and your loved ones by sharing these winter safety tips with your friends and family.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

 

Too Many Americans Putting Off Medical Care

54% delaying medical care due to costs.

Unfortunately, a large number of Americans put off getting proper medical care. Why? Often, because they cannot afford it.

Consider the results of recent research by Earnin, as reported by Peter Griffin:

“Health care is an essential part of many Americans lives. Yet, money can be a factor in whether or not they’re getting the medical attention they need. Earnin looked at the impact money has on taking care of oneself in a pair of September 2018 surveys. The dire financial wellness of most adults is bleeding into their actual wellness.”

“Over half of Americans (54 percent) say they’ve delayed medical care for themselves in the last 12 months because they couldn’t afford it. And almost a quarter of Americans (23 percent) have delayed medical care for over one year due to financial issues. Among people who delayed care in the past year, 55 percent delayed dental/orthodontic work, 43 percent delayed eye care, and 30 percent delayed annual exams.”

Overall, “Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) say their health tends to take a back seat to other financial obligations.”

Take a look at this chart from Earnin. Then, read more about the study results.

Too Many Americans Putting Off Medical Care
 

Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes

Be more aware of the causes of cancer.

It is imperative that we understand as much as possible about cancer. That is why we published these earlier posts: Being Smart About Your Health. Interesting Cancer Facts. And Where Cancer Rates Are Highest. Today, we look at sometimes overlooked cancer causes.

Click on the image below to see a slide show from Sharecare that focuses on nine sometimes overlooked causes of cancer:

“Symptoms may not be so obvious. Some can be dangerously deceptive even. Seemingly minor changes, like a nagging cough or persistent backache, can sometimes signal cancer. Too often, these are not taken seriously until the disease has progressed.”

“So, how can you distinguish between an innocent ache and a pain you should report to your doctor? ‘I tell patients that if there are symptoms that are out of the ordinary or persistent or frequent in nature or extreme in intensity, they should seek attention from their primary provider,” says oncologist Elwyn Cabebe, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California.”

“Signs and symptoms vary widely, so don’t hesitate to talk to your health-care provider about anything that seems out of the ordinary—especially if you notice one of these nine cancer indicators.”

Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes