Make Heart Health Part of Your Self-Care Routine
(Family Features) Devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing healthier meals and not cheating on sleep, can all benefit your heart.
Because heart disease is largely preventable, focusing on improving your heart health is important. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women and men in the United States, and many Americans remain at risk, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctor’s appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke,” said David Goff, M.D., NHLBI’s director of cardiovascular sciences.
It may be easier than you think to “put your heart” into your daily routine. Each Sunday, look at your week’s schedule and carve out 30 minutes for heart-healthy practices. Take an online yoga class, prepare a heart-healthy recipe, schedule your bedtime to get at least seven hours of sleep or make a medication checklist. Then seek out support from others to help you stick to your goals.
Consider these self-care tips to try each day to make your heart a priority:
Treat Yourself Thursday
Learn more about heart health and heart-healthy activities in your community, and see what others are doing for their heart health, at nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts or follow #OurHearts on social media.SOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Stroke awareness: It's always an emergency
(BPT) - The sudden onset of stroke symptoms can happen to anyone at any time, making education about the signs and symptoms of a “brain attack” the first line of defense to stroke prevention.
“I’m a fanatical fan of football, so you can imagine how excited I was to enter the stadium to see my favorite team play; but I lost my balance and fell. I’m lucky the people near me jumped into action and called 911,” recalled stroke survivor William Martin. “They are the real heroes in my medical emergency story; they knew the signs of a stroke.”
Stroke is the second leading cause of death and third leading cause of disability worldwide. Today, only 10% of stroke survivors make a full recovery and 25% recover with minor impairments. Forty percent of survivors experience moderate to severe impairments that require special care. Strokes are common and deadly but the good news is almost all strokes can be prevented.
What is stroke
A stroke happens when the blood vessels carrying nutrients to the brain either form a clot or rupture, causing a sudden blockage in the arteries leading to the brain. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.
How to prevent stroke
What can you do to prevent stroke?
1. Monitor your blood pressure
2. Control your cholesterol
3. Keep your blood sugar down
4. Keep active
5. Eat healthy
6. Lose weight if necessary
7. Do not smoke
In the event of stroke: Act F.A.S.T
“Every minute from the time the stroke occurs to when you receive treatment makes a difference,” said neurointerventional radiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City Jared Halpin, M.D. “Many types of stroke are now treatable with emergency medical interventions to either quickly dissolve or remove the blood clot or stop the bleeding that is causing symptoms.”
Seek treatment, F.A.S.T. Follow the acronym below to check for signs of stroke:
• FACE Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?
• ARM Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• SPEECH: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
• TIME to Call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
“My doctor restored the blood flow in my brain by threading a tube through an artery in my leg and used a medical device called Solitaire™ X to remove the clot. I was surprised I didn’t need brain surgery,” said Mr. Martin. “The best part — I watched the final quarter of the game on TV while in the hospital recovery room.”
Eighty million people have survived stroke worldwide. For more information on stroke prevention tips and treatment options please visit the World Stroke Organization at www.world-stroke.org.
How to Be an Effective Partner in Your IBD Care
(Family Features) A lifelong diagnosis like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may feel overwhelming and confusing, but by working closely with your health care providers, you can work toward managing the disease and improving your quality of life.
Consider these recommendations from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to partner with your health care team to manage your IBD.
Be Upfront About Your Symptoms
Being honest with your doctor about your symptoms is an important first step in your journey with your IBD diagnosis. Oftentimes, this starts by sharing exactly what you are experiencing on a daily or even weekly basis, such as frequency of bathroom visits, pain, blood in your stool or fatigue, so your health care team can gain a better understanding of how you are feeling. One way to help ensure you’re managing your diagnosis properly is to keep a journal, which offers a simple way to track if symptoms have improved or worsened since your last visit and help you remember questions that may arise. If you find it difficult to discuss certain topics, practice talking about these issues with a friend or family member before appointments and consider bringing a loved one to appointments for support.
Work with Your Health Care Team to Set Goals
Goals, or targets, will be different for every patient based on the type of disease, severity, progression and a variety of other factors. Finding the right IBD treatment can take time, so it’s important to balance your present priorities. Start by taking an honest approach to your personal preferences regarding medications. Consider if you have time in your schedule for lengthy infusions. Or perhaps you prefer administering self-injections. You may have short-term goals, such as attending a family wedding in two months, as well as long-term goals related to the future course of your disease, like reducing IBD inflammation and achieving remission, which is considered mucosal healing. This process is often called “treat-to-target” in the medical community and helps avoid complications and minimizes long-term disease risks as much as possible.
This goal-oriented approach to managing IBD is much like setting a target and trying to hit the bullseye. It can’t be done by your provider alone; you need to be an active partner in the goal-setting discussion. Providing clarity to your health care professionals regarding personal preferences and your short- and long-term goals like a desire to get pregnant, to travel, to decrease stress and anxiety, gain self-care skills or to return to school can keep the entire team on the same page.
Make Decisions Together by Acting as an Effective Partner
Asking questions is the first step toward creating an effective partnership with your health care team. You can start by seeking an understanding of which diagnostic tests are important for you to undergo. Decide together which steps should be taken now and which you should aim for in the future. Be willing to learn each part of the process, including treatment options, potential risks and benefits.
It may take some time before you see any progress made toward achieving your goal. Certain treatments may take some time to work. Review any external factors that may impact the effectiveness of your treatment. Talk to your doctor about adjusting treatments and consider changing your targets if available treatments are not helping you reach your goals.
In addition to medical treatments and procedures, patients should practice self-care and seek help from mental health professionals when necessary. IBD patients are at greater risk for anxiety and depression than the general public, according to research published in “Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics,” so it’s important to address these issues when they arise. Simple strategies to tackle IBD one day at a time include planning the night before for the day ahead, allowing yourself extra time in the morning and scheduling time in your day for rest. To relieve stress and anxiety, consider low-impact exercises, such as yoga, walking, biking or swimming, techniques like meditation and mindfulness or diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep breathing or belly breathing. These complementary therapies can help improve your mental health and emotional well-being.
Along with your own self-care, it’s important to be willing to admit when you need help. For some, this may include reaching out to a mental health professional. A therapist, such as a clinical psychologist or licensed social worker can help you work through sadness, uncertainty and anxiety – emotions common for many patients with IBD. Visits may be short-term or can be longer, if needed. Effective therapy allows patients to practice the coping strategies learned between visits. Mental health therapists may also provide assignments to reinforce what is discussed during visits. Build your support system and seek guidance from mental health professionals if you ever feel as though the burden of your diagnosis is too heavy to carry alone.
A More Targeted Approach to IBD Care
In the past, health care providers managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients focused on how their patients were feeling in the moment. They worked toward fixing active symptoms and tailored treatment plans specifically to address those symptoms.
Providers adopting the treat-to-target method are likely to work with their patients to consider the risk of developing complications in the future and tailor treatment recommendations based on the disease activity and severity, patient’s genetic makeup and anticipated risk.
It’s a more proactive approach than the traditional reactive treatment style as it emphasizes the importance of looking toward the future to avoid complications of the disease and minimize risks.
To achieve a patient’s goals, a provider regularly checks to make sure the patient is responding to the strategy at certain intervals. Both diagnostic and prognostic, or predictive, tests help physicians assess progress against a target. Common tests include endoscopic procedures, radiologic scans and diagnostic and predictive biomarkers.
If tests do not demonstrate sufficient improvement, additional evaluation or treatment adjustments may be advised to provide the right drug to the right patient at the right time for treatments tailored to the individual.
Goals depend on multiple factors and variables, but the anticipated outcome is an improved quality of life for patients managing IBD. Under the treat-to-target method, goals are a mutual decision between the doctor and patient. Goals must be measurable and include a realistic treatment plan.
Find more advice for effectively partnering with your physician to manage IBD at crohnscolitisfoundation.org.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss for people age 50 and older, and an estimated 16 million Americans are living with AMD. While an AMD diagnosis can be a scary thought, there are things people can do to help reduce the risk of progression of the disease. Here’s what you need to know.
(BPT) - The ability to see the people, places and things in front of you is one of life’s most precious gifts. Imagine a life without the ability to see these things clearly — what steps would you then take to protect your vision? Life with Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, can potentially lead to vision loss or blindness. While an AMD diagnosis can be a scary thought, there are things people can do to help reduce the risk of progression of the disease. Here’s what you need to know.
What is AMD?
AMD is a leading cause of vision loss for people age 50 and older, and an estimated 16 million Americans are living with AMD. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that supports sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. The condition is progressive, which means that central vision can ultimately become impaired, which may cause difficulty keeping up with daily activities like driving, reading or recognizing the faces of loved ones. While there is no cure for AMD, there are steps patients can take to help reduce the risk of progression.
Tips for taking action
In addition, people diagnosed with AMD should talk to their doctor about taking a vitamin based on the AREDS2 study. PreserVision® AREDS 2 formula vitamins contain the exact nutrient formula recommended by the National Eye Institute to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced AMD progression.
Get the facts and find support
Patients are often learning about AMD for the first time as they’re being diagnosed, which can be overwhelming. While the Internet is a great resource for patients, medical literature about AMD is often dense and difficult to follow. That’s why Bausch + Lomb developed SightMatters.com, an online resource to provide AMD patients with personalized tips and tools, along with a support system and network, to help each patient better navigate their life living with AMD no matter where they are on that journey.
SightMatters.com aims to help patients understand what AMD is, and how they can manage it. It also allows patients the opportunity to create a personalized action plan, which they can use to discuss with their doctor so they can start taking charge of their condition and continue to see what they love each day. Visit SightMatters.com to begin taking action today.
PreserVision is a trademark of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates.
AREDS2 is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
© 2020 Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates.
Every day nearly 200 people die from an overdose of drugs or from alcohol poisoning, with opioids responsible for the majority. Recognizing the signs and knowing how to respond to medical emergencies, including carrying and administering naloxone in cases of opioid overdose, can literally save lives. Here are tips from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) on what to do in case of a suspected overdose.
(BPT) - Every day nearly 200 people die from an overdose of drugs or from alcohol poisoning, with opioids responsible for the majority. Recognizing the signs and knowing how to respond to medical emergencies, including carrying and administering naloxone in cases of opioid overdose, can save lives, says the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
“The tragic increase in overdose deaths is an alarming and devastating issue that touches so many of us,” said ASA President Mary Dale Peterson, M.D., MSHCA, FACHE, FASA. “If you can identify an overdose or alcohol poisoning, you are more likely to react quickly, making the difference between life and death for a family member, friend or stranger.”
Physician anesthesiologists have a critical role in fighting against overdoses, starting with managing patients’ pain after surgery or chronic pain in responsible ways. During Physician Anesthesiologists Week, Jan. 26-Feb. 1, ASA is joining forces with U.S. Surgeon General VADM, Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., to empower everyone to recognize the following signs of an overdose or alcohol poisoning:
Any one of these signs should prompt a call to 911 for emergency medical care. Never leave an unconscious person alone, as they may be at risk of dying, including by choking on his or her own vomit. If an opioid overdose is suspected, naloxone should be administered immediately, if available. Naloxone is administered by injection or nasal spray and access to it is expanding on a state-by-state basis. It can be prescribed by a physician and often is carried by police officers and emergency medical responders. Additionally, it’s increasingly available over the counter at some pharmacies.
“To stem the tide of the opioid overdose epidemic, we need everyone to consider themselves a first responder. We need to encourage everyone in our communities to carry naloxone and know how to use it,” said U.S. Surgeon General, VADM, Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., a physician anesthesiologist who issued a Surgeon’s General’s advisory in 2018 calling for increased awareness and use of the medication. “When on hand, naloxone may mean the difference between life and death, and can be a first step to getting someone onto the pathway of recovery.”
Anyone who takes opioids to manage their pain may be at-risk for an overdose. In recent years, opioids were the go-to pain reliever for everything from backaches and injuries to post-surgical and chronic pain. In 2017, more than 190 million prescriptions were written for opioids. While they can be effective for short-term pain, chronic use can lead to abuse. Every day 130 people die from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“ASA strongly agrees with the Surgeon General and supports policies that promote access to naloxone and safe and effective pain management care,” said Dr. Peterson. “All of our members have a significant interest in reducing misuse, abuse and diversion of opioids that have led to unintended deaths.”
To learn more about the critical role physician anesthesiologists play before, during and after surgery, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. ASA also offers an opioid overdose resuscitation guide that provides guidance on symptoms of an overdose and how to help.
Although rare cancers don’t occur often, they can affect people of all ages and genders. Greater awareness of rare cancers may lead to earlier diagnosis and management, and potentially better survival rates. Consider these facts about soft tissue sarcomas, one type of rare cancer.
Understanding Rare Cancers
Four facts to know about one type of rare cancer, soft tissue sarcomas
(Family Features) Although rare cancers don’t occur often, they can affect people of all ages and genders.
A rare cancer is defined as fewer than 15 new diagnoses per 100,000 people per year, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Additionally, as noted by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the 5-year survival rate is lower for people diagnosed with a rare cancer than for people living with more common cancers. Greater awareness of rare cancers may lead to earlier diagnosis and management, and potentially better survival rates.
If you have recently been diagnosed with STS, it’s important to ask your doctor for more information about the specific sub-type you have. For example, if you received a diagnosis of undifferentiated sarcoma, ask your doctor for an integrase interactor-1 (INI1) test to see if you have a rare STS called epithelioid sarcoma (ES). (See sidebar for more on ES.)
Learning More About Epithelioid Sarcoma
A rare type of STS, epithelioid sarcoma (ES) accounts for less than 1% of all STS, which themselves account for approximately 1% of all cancers, according to research published in “Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.” ES can present as a lump or sore on the skin.
Notably, more than 90% of ES tumors do not express the INI1 protein, which when present acts to suppress tumor growth. INI1 loss plays an important role in the diagnosis of ES, according to researchers with “The American Journal of Surgical Pathology.”
Data from the NCI indicates that approximately 150-200 people in the United States are diagnosed with ES each year. Research published in “The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology” found the disease often occurs in young adults in their 20s and 30s. Because most ES patients are adolescents and young adults, there is a gap in the unique psycho-social needs for this patient population, including resources for patients who miss school while undergoing treatments, as well as fertility considerations later in life.
If you or someone you love is living with ES, you can find resources, information and the real-life perspective of an ES survivor at ESsentialsforES.com.
Content courtesy of Epizyme, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
NTM (nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease) is still considered rare, but cases are growing 8 percent each year. In 2018, it is estimated that 75,000–105,000 patients were diagnosed with NTM lung disease in the U.S. Since awareness of NTM lung disease is limited and the symptoms of NTM lung disease, like chronic coughing, feeling tired often and shortness of breath, are similar to other lung conditions, many people who have it may not even know it for months or sometimes years.
(BPT) - Having a friend or loved one with a chronic and progressive condition teaches you many things: patience, understanding and adapting to lifestyle changes after diagnosis. But for Mary, supporting her friend, Barbara, living with a serious lung condition called nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease taught her the importance of listening.
While taking weekly walks together, Mary first noticed Barbara was experiencing respiratory symptoms, such as coughing fits and getting tired very easily. Barbara’s symptoms continued for two years, and Mary later found out that Barbara was living with NTM lung disease — a serious and progressive condition caused by bacteria that can lead to lung damage and respiratory symptoms.
From speaking with Barbara, she realized that while Barbara was relieved to have an explanation for her symptoms, she also felt overwhelmed and scared by her new diagnosis.
Mary recalls, “As her friend, I was upset that she had to face this health issue and wanted to know how I could help. I realized the best way I could show Barbara my support was to ‘walk with her’ and let her know she wasn’t alone.”
About NTM Lung Disease
NTM bacteria are common in the environment and can be found in tap water, showerheads, steam from hot tubs, and soil from parks and gardens. While everyone comes into contact with NTM bacteria during their daily lives, most people do not develop NTM lung disease because their lungs are healthy enough to clear the bacteria. However, people with a history of lung conditions, like bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, are more likely to develop NTM lung disease because the damage from these conditions can make it easier for NTM to infect their lungs.
NTM lung disease is considered rare, but cases are growing 8 percent each year. In 2018, it is estimated that 75,000–105,000 patients were diagnosed with NTM lung disease in the U.S. Since awareness of NTM lung disease is limited and the symptoms of NTM lung disease, like chronic coughing, feeling tired often and shortness of breath, are similar to other lung conditions, many people who have it may not even know it for months or sometimes years.
Providing Encouragement and Understanding
Following an NTM lung disease diagnosis, patients may have a hard time coping with the impact the disease can have on their lifestyle. Emotional support from family and friends is crucial to help patients navigate these new challenges.
After learning about Barbara’s diagnosis, Mary encouraged her to speak about the tests she was undergoing and treatment she was taking as well as how she was feeling. Mary was also there to support Barbara through some of the lifestyle changes that she was making to help manage her condition — whether it was hearing about the adjustments she made when traveling or ways to help limit her exposure to NTM bacteria at home.
Mary also understood that keeping up weekly walks helped Barbara physically and emotionally. She made sure that they stuck to their routine and made adjustments whenever necessary, such as walking for shorter distances or slowing down their pace based on how Barbara was feeling.
“Barbara’s diagnosis made our friendship stronger because she knew she could confide in me and receive the support and reassurance she needed — even if that just meant listening,” Mary shares. “While everyone’s experience with NTM lung disease is different, sometimes knowing there is someone willing to listen to what you’re going through can make a world of difference.”
Like many other loved ones of NTM lung disease patients, Mary had never heard about the condition before Barbara’s diagnosis. She let Barbara be her teacher and learned a lot about the condition through her experience. Today, she’s more informed about NTM lung disease and can be a better source of guidance and support for Barbara.
There are also several online patient resources available to learn more about NTM lung disease, such as the Voices of NTM Lung Disease eMagazine on AboutNTM.com, which provides information on living with and managing NTM lung disease through first-person stories from different members of the community, like Barbara and Mary. On AboutNTM.com, you can also access more information on how to join support groups to connect with others who have NTM lung disease, and how to sign up to receive helpful resources.
Sponsored by Insmed Incorporated.
It's easy to assume the worst when hearing about cancer, but with one type, there's good news. There has been a marked decrease in deaths from skin cancer. This can be attributed to many things, such as better research and tougher treatments. These are the reasons why a world without skin cancer is looking more likely
We Know a Lot About It
A higher survival rate for people with skin cancer wouldn't be possible if there hadn't been so much done to better understand this disease. Not only do we know how to treat it, but we also know how to prevent it. There are exams that people can get for irregularities on their bodies, such as moles. When skin cancer is detected earlier, the chances of survival are far greater. We're still a long way from understanding everything about it and how to cure it, but the progress thus far is considerable. If you're looking to enter the medical world, a career in dermatology will put you on the front lines of the fight against skin cancer.
A single-use method of curing skin cancer across the board doesn't exist, but there's a mix of different approaches that can help people and more to come with new research. If something has been caught early enough, it could be removed with freezing. There also are surgical options. Mohs surgery has been proven to be more effective on some cancers. With this surgery, a doctor methodically removes pieces of skin, stopping once there are no signs of cancer. Other sorts of treatment for skin cancer include chemotherapy and radiation treatment. There's also immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of your immune system. This type of treatment can be especially helpful for anyone who's dealing with an especially difficult case of skin cancer that isn't taking to previously discussed methods of treatment.
Every May, Skin Cancer Awareness Month is commemorated. As with any other disease, awareness takes the stigma out of skin cancer while also helping those coping with it. You can do your part by giving money to skin cancer research, reading about this illness and speaking with people who have been diagnosed with it. Twenty percent of people can expect to be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they turn 70, so awareness shouldn't be considered optional. Treating your skin right is the best way to fight skin cancer. This means using sunscreen constantly and avoiding harmful practices, like using tanning beds.
Although skin cancer hasn’t been completely eradicated yet, its days are numbers. Medical researchers are constantly discovering new and more effective ways to prevent and treat this disease. And as the research progresses, the number of cases will fall even further.
Interested in Publishing on The Health IDEA?
Send your query to the Publisher today!