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For most, the holidays are a time of joyous celebrations with family, friends, and delicious food. When you are living with a loved one or know a close someone with a terminal illness, the traditional holiday times don’t always carry the same cheer. Hospice is one service that can significantly alleviate some of the burden that lies on you as family members and friends to provide care to your loved one. Having a dedicated and caring medical team to help provide care during the holidays can protect the cherished time you have together.
The decision for a loved one to go on hospice is a challenging one. During the holidays, this decision can feel even harder. Oftentimes, families choose to push the decision until after the holidays, thinking it will alleviate stress to deal with it at a later time. In truth, hospice care can often make this transition period easier for you and your family, especially during the holidays.
When you choose hospice care, you are met with a team of medical professionals, therapists, spiritual counselors, and a number of other individuals that will cater to the needs of your loved one. Your hospice team will take on the responsibility of making sure the medical needs of your loved one are met so that you, along with family and friends, can focus on spending quality time with your loved one during a time when it matters so much. Depending on where hospice care will be provided, consider bringing the holidays to your loved one. Traveling is often not an option for those on hospice care. Modifying traditions to fit the environment of your loved one, whether care is being provided at home, a long-term care facility, or the hospital, can help to maintain the holiday feel. Holiday decorations, cards from friends and families, and home-baked treats can inspire the holiday cheer and can help make your loved one feel at home, no matter where they are.
While hospice has the ability to reduce stress and provide excellent care to your loved one, it does not guarantee that your holidays will feel the same as they always have. Try to keep in mind that traditions may have to be modified or left out this year and that it is completely okay to allow yourself to feel sadness during this time. Ask for help from family and friends to make this time of year manageable. Don’t forget to rest and set aside some time to take care of yourself as well. Given that some of the holiday celebrations may cause overwhelm, always check with your loved one to see what they are up for. This holiday season could be a time of many changes, so go easy on yourself if not every day feels easy to get through.
If you are in a position where you could benefit from hospice care for a loved one this holiday season, schedule an appointment to discuss your options with your loved one’s medical team. Terminal illness can have the power to make the holidays feel isolating and void of cheer. Hospice has the power to restore the joy in your holidays with your loved one.
Image 1 – Go Ahead And Put Up Your Christmas Tree (catcountry1073.com)
Image 2 – Family With Grandparents Enjoying Christmas Meal At Table | Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a member of Covenant Health (fsregional.com)
Medcure – Hospice And The Holidays – MedCure
At Allay Home Health and Hospice, veterans are one of the incredibly special groups of
individuals whom we have the honor to serve. In our eyes, the men and women who
have bravely served our country and their families who sacrificed so much to support
them deserve to live out their days without worrying about end of life care. Our goal is to
provide hospice care that will help them live comfortably, with dignity and proper care
until their final day. Providing veterans with high quality, patient focused hospice care is
one way that we can give thanks.
Today, the percentage of individuals who volunteer to serve our country is small, less
than 1%. Fifty plus years ago, during World War II or the wars in Korea and Vietnam,
this wasn’t the case. A much higher percentage of young individuals were drafted into or
volunteered for the military. Those veterans are now entering an age group where they
may require end of life or hospice care, making the need for high quality hospice
providers more important than ever.
Understanding what exactly hospice care is can help you to determine if you or a loved
one qualify. Hospice care is reserved for individuals who are in their final months of life.
It is a way for individuals with terminal illness to continue having their needs met even
when a cure is not feasible. A team of experts provide comprehensive medical care,
pain management, comfort measures, and emotional and spiritual support to make sure
that the individual in care can live and pass away on their terms, even in the face of
As a veteran, hospice care is included in the VA’s standard medical care benefits
package. There are three criteria that veterans must meet in order to qualify for hospice
care. The three hospice criteria for veterans include:
1. A medical diagnosis of a life-limiting disease or illness
2. Treatments or care plan goals that provide comfort rather than a cure
3. A doctor’s assessment that life expectancy is 6 months or less if the disease runs
its usual course
If hospice care is provided to a veteran at a VA hospital or at an organization that has a
contract with the VA, no copay is required. This can help to alleviate some of the stress
for family and friends who wish to provide the best possible care to their loved one. The
hospice experts at the VA and at the organizations who partner with the VA are well
versed in providing individualized, expert care and can help navigate any questions or
concerns you may have. An additional benefit of hospice care for veterans is that it can
be provided in the comfort of their own home, or in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
This allows for flexibility and maximal comfort depending on the living situation of each
individual and their family.
Hospice care can completely transform an individual’s end of life experience and can
help to make the difficult transition for one’s family as smooth as possible. BrightSpring
Health Services is determined to ensure that every veteran has the opportunity to live
and die with dignity. Our mission is to offer support to you and your family in whatever way you need.
When you hear the word “diabetes”, chances are it hits home on some level. It may be a loved one, a parent, a friend, or yourself who is living with this disease. They are just one of 34 million Americans living with a diabetes diagnosis. Another 96 million have prediabetes. Of those 96 million, 80% of them do not know they have prediabetes, highly increasing the likelihood of developing diabetes down the road. The consequences of this disease are high, and the prevalence across our population is increasing. November is American Diabetes Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about how to prevent diabetes and improving the resources available to those living with it.
There are three different types of diabetes that contribute the most to the diabetes epidemic. They include prediabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Though they are all a bit different from one another, all forms of diabetes are related to insulin and blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas and its job is to regulate the levels of glucose, also known as sugar, in your bloodstream.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as “insulin dependent” diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder during which the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed. When these cells are destroyed, the body cannot produce insulin. This results in glucose staying in the bloodstream rather than being taken up by the cells in your body. Over time, this causes blood sugar levels to rise without the body having a way to naturally regulate them back down to normal. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are often diagnosed during childhood or adolescence, though it is possible for adults to develop type 1 diabetes. The treatment for type 1 diabetes must involve taking insulin every day because the body cannot make it and checking blood sugar levels regularly throughout the day. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet and partaking in regular exercise should be included in the management of type 1 diabetes to help avoid complications.
Type 2 diabetes, also known as “insulin resistant” diabetes, is caused by the body not producing sufficient amounts of insulin or the body resisting the insulin being produced. In both cases, the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar levels. The biggest risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes are obesity and high blood pressure. In the past, you would see this type develop most often in adults over 45. In recent years, the number of children and teens developing type 2 diabetes has been increasing as a result of poor nutrition and rise in obesity. Due to the nature of type 2 diabetes, it can be successfully managed through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. In some cases, when lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient, type 2 diabetics must supplement with oral medications and insulin to help control blood sugar levels.
When blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, it is called prediabetes. While prediabetes isn’t technically classified as diabetes, it often develops into a full diagnosis of diabetes if no intervention is implemented. Awareness is the key to success here as many individuals may not develop symptoms until it is too late. Lifestyle changes that are implemented by individuals with prediabetes can often prevent or drastically delay the development of type 2 diabetes. These lifestyle changes include following a diet of minimally processed foods and regularly partaking in exercise.
If you or a loved one have already been diagnosed with diabetes or you suspect you may be at risk, schedule an appointment with your doctor to share your concerns and maintain regular checkups. Without proper care, serious complications such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), kidney failure and heart disease can occur. Preventing these complications requires adherence to treatment per your doctors’ guidelines, a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Diabetes is widespread across America, but it is not an insignificant diagnosis. This disease must be taken seriously and treated properly in order to avoid complications. Unfortunately, not everyone has equal access to the medical resources and education that makes living a normal and fulfilling life with diabetes possible. Raising awareness and equalizing care is one of the major goals throughout the month of November. We encourage you to take the time this month to share this article with family, friends and loved ones. Encourage those around you to speak up about the risk and prevalence of diabetes in our communities. The more we open up the discussion about diabetes, the more we can band together in order to support our loved ones and improve the health of our community.
Visit The American Diabetes Association to learn more or to offer a donation towards ending diabetes. https://diabetes.org/
Image 1 – https://newatlas.com/medical/type-2-diabetes-protein-beta-cell-protection/
Image 2 – https://www.diabeticwarehouse.org/blogs/articles/diabetes-complications
American Diabetes Association – https://diabetes.org/
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/diabetes-facts-stats.html
Endocrine Society –
National Institute on Aging – https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/diabetes-older-people
Speare Memorial Hospital –
https://spearehospital.com/november-is-american-diabetes-month/# World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes
It’s time to speak up about breast cancer, and the month of October is dedicated to doing just that. As the most common form of cancer, it’s likely that someone in your life whom you care for deeply has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Given how prevalent breast cancer is and the repercussions it has on individuals and families affected, this month is a time to rally together and raise awareness about it.
In the United States, more women die from breast cancer every year than any other form of cancer. It’s currently estimated that 1 in 8 women in their lifetime will be diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer. Two of the greatest risk factors of getting breast cancer are female gender and older age, though men and younger women can get it as well. The statistics are alarming, and a diagnosis can feel daunting and isolating, whether it’s yourself or a loved one or family member who is receiving it. Fortunately, breast cancer research continues to thrive, which has led to improvements in screening processes and treatment success. These improvements have been given some of the credit for the slightly decreased death rate from breast cancer over the past several years. In order to take further advantage of the strides we’ve made in battling breast cancer, we must continue to educate our communities about the screenings and treatments available.
While there is no way to guarantee prevention of breast cancer, it is recommended that all adult women perform a breast self-exam monthly. This is a great way to self-monitor for any changes or abnormalities that may occur in the breast tissue. As you age, this becomes an even more important habit as age is one of the main risk factors. It is important to note that not every growth or lump felt in the breast tissue is a cancerous mass. Some non-cancerous masses are abnormal but do not grow outside of the breast tissue. While these lumps do not innately pose a risk, some of these growths can increase a women’s risk of getting breast cancer down the road. Any abnormality or change in your breast tissue that you notice or feel should be examined by a health professional immediately. Just under half of women diagnosed with breast cancer were diagnosed after noticing a lump during a self-exam, so the importance of this routine cannot be overlooked. In addition to regular self-exams, maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and a nutritious diet is another important way to reduce your risk of breast and other cancers.
Should you receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, take the time to find a team of doctors whom you are comfortable with and trust with your care. This team can include an oncologist, or cancer doctor, a surgical oncologist, a radiologist, a case worker, a registered dietician who specializes in cancer nutrition and possibly several other specialty providers. These individuals will be with you, alongside your personal support system, to make sure you receive the best care available from diagnosis on. Treatments and interventions will differ depending on the type of breast cancer you are diagnosed with and your doctors will help you navigate all of the options and should use their expertise to recommend the best course of action. Make sure you feel comfortable asking questions and engaging in your treatment plan. Your providers have the knowledge and the skill sets to provide excellent care, but it is just as important that you feel included in the decisions being made and prepared for the treatment road ahead.
Whether you are young, old, male, female, part of a high-risk category or not, it is our shared efforts in spreading awareness this month of October and all months following that will successfully raise awareness, education, and resources about breast cancer to every individual diagnosed and every family and friend supporting them. As a society working together, it is within our reach to decrease breast cancer diagnoses within our communities and to improve the outcomes and survival rates of those diagnosed.
American Cancer Society
National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC.
As a survivor of breast cancer, few will understand the struggle you endured, but many acknowledge and honor the strength it took to carry on.
Alongside the relief and celebration that comes with completing treatment and hearing the long-awaited word “remission” may come a host of other emotions. Some of them may not be as positive. You may feel fear of the cancer coming back or anxiety about not seeing your treatment team as often. Surgeries and treatments can alter the way you feel about your body. These emotions are natural after what you’ve been through, and it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that you have resources at your disposal to live your life as fully as possible following recovery.
After completing treatment and entering into recovery, it is important to abide by your doctor’s recommended follow up care. This care often includes checkups every few months for the first several years after treatment. As your cancer-free time increases, the frequency of appointments can begin to decrease. If you had breast-conserving surgery to include a lumpectomy or a partial mastectomy, it is recommended that you get a mammogram 6-12 months after surgery and radiation and continue to get them annually for monitoring. Pelvic exams may also be included in your follow up care as some of the hormone drugs can increase your risk of endometrial or uterine cancer. Another test that may be done, especially if you have gone through menopause, is a bone density scan. Monitoring your bone health will be a priority for your doctor especially if your cancer treatment included drugs that can reduce bone density.
Battling cancer and enduring the challenges that come with treatment can leave you feeling exhausted. It can be challenging to find the energy to keep up with follow up care, knowing that it will be a crucial part of your life as a survivor. Express any concerns or anxiety or overwhelm you are feeling about your continued treatment and monitoring with your doctor. Collaborate with them and let them help you feel more in control when it comes to your checkups. Equally important as your medical team is your support system. Continue to lean on the individuals who supported you through treatment, whether it be family, friends, a loved one, a support group or a therapist. Support systems can often help to shoulder some of the burden when it comes to remembering appointments, driving to procedures, and encouraging you to continue doing the things you love outside of your healthcare.
Every single individual’s experience with surviving breast cancer is unique and special. You will have your own thoughts, feelings, challenges and success that you overcame and that you will continue to experience as you embrace a heightened awareness of your health for the rest of your life. Beyond this, you are an example of hope and strength for others who are fighting their own battle against breast cancer. Continue to spread awareness this month and every other so that we can continue to win more of these battles.
American Cancer Society
Everyone knows about heart attacks… but have you ever heard of atrial fibrillation? Despite being the most common heart arrhythmia (meaning irregular heartbeat) that is medically treated and being the cause for 1 in 7 strokes, most people aren’t familiar with atrial fibrillation. Surveys have revealed that even those who are aware of it often don’t consider it a serious medical condition. Education is key here, as leaving atrial fibrillation untreated doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and increases the risk of having a stroke significantly. It is estimated that by 2030, about 12.1 million people living in America will have a diagnosis of AFib. Considering how high that number is, it’s time to start paying attention to what it is and how you can mitigate yours and your loved ones’ risk factors!
So what is atrial fibrillation? Atrial fibrillation, abbreviated AFib, is an abnormal heart rhythm during which the top chambers of your heart, called your atria, quiver rather than beat, leading to inefficient movement of blood through your heart. Given the inefficient contraction of the heart, individuals with AFib are at a higher risk for clots. The higher risk of clotting and the decreased ability of the heart to pump blood efficiently is what leads to an increased risk of further heart conditions and stroke should a clot form and travel to the brain.
While some individuals with AFib might not know they have it and may experience no symptoms at all, others could experience a number of various symptoms. Pay attention to the symptoms and take action. Consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following:
In addition to symptom monitoring, there are a number of risk factors to be aware of related to AFib. Considering the risk of stroke and heart disease increases significantly with AFib, mitigating the risk factors of AFib is crucial. Risk factors include:
If any of these risk factors apply to you or a loved one, consider if your risk factors are modifiable, meaning you have more control over reducing how much of a risk they pose. Focus on lowering your blood pressure, losing weight if appropriate, reducing or eliminating alcohol intake and quitting smoking. Consuming whole, natural foods when possible, incorporating exercise and purposeful movement every day, and staying hydrated can go a long way in preserving your health!
If you have already been diagnosed with AFib, it is important to continue to mitigate as many risk factors as you can using the guidance above, in addition to seeking proper medical treatment for your condition. Lifestyle changes, even after being diagnosed with AFib, can greatly decrease the severity and frequency of your symptoms. These lifestyle changes include cutting back on alcohol, reducing caffeine, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating a nutrient rich diet, losing weight if required and lowering your blood pressure. When prescribed medications for AFib, especially blood thinners to reduce the risk of clots, it is imperative that you follow the guidance of your doctor and stay consistent with the treatment.
Given that AFib is a chronic condition, meaning it doesn’t go away, it is likely that you will be on medication to manage it for the rest of your life. This can be scary and anxiety inducing if you don’t understand your medications or don’t have a plan to stay on track. Meet with your doctor and be sure to understand what medications you are taking, why you are taking them, how long you will be taking them for and what side effects to look out for. You deserve to understand and feel comfortable with your treatment, so be sure to collaborate with your medical team and find support from your loved ones.
Atrial fibrillation – if it’s not taken seriously, it could cause serious problems!
Know the symptoms, schedule regular visits with your doctors, and practice a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk!
Image 1 – https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/atrial_fibrillation.htm
Image 2 – https://www.mcrmedical.com/blog/aha-2020-guidelines/
Heart Foundation –
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/atrial_fibrillation.htm
American Heart Association –https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation/what-is-atrial-fibrillation-afib-or-af
Dementia is a broad term, classifying a number of disorders that all impair cognition, thinking skills, behaviors, social skills and relationships in different ways. General signs and symptoms of dementia include trouble remembering things that just happened or happened recently, regularly misplacing everyday items like a wallet or keys, trouble planning meals or remembering to eat, forgetting to pay bills, difficulty remembering how to get to familiar places and missing scheduled appointments to name a few. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms or similar, it is important that you notify someone and plan to see your doctor immediately. Dementia tends to progress over time, with symptoms starting as mild and gradually getting worse. Early diagnosis can maximize available treatment options and potentially open the door to inclusion in clinical trials. Considering disorders with dementia symptoms affect memory and cognition, it may be difficult for an individual to recognize these symptoms in themselves. Family members and friends play a crucial role in noticing changes and raising awareness about potential cognitive disorders.
Early detection allows doctors to determine what the cause of an individual’s cognitive deficit is. If diagnosed with dementia, a doctor can classify which type of dementia an individual has, which can help individuals and their loved ones better understand their disease as well as appropriately plan for treatment.
Included within the classification of dementia is Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60-80% of all cases. It is important to note that Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, though age is the greatest known risk factor for individuals who develop Alzheimer’s. Most individuals who are diagnosed are 65 years of age and above, with early-onset or younger-onset Alzheimer’s referring to individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before the age of 65. Other risk factors include genetics, family history, and risk factors classified as “other”. These include past head injury and the overall health of one’s aging process. While many of these are non-modifiable risk factors, such as aging, genetics and family history, you can facilitate healthy aging by eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and visiting your doctor regularly.
Alzheimer’s is due to physical changes in the brain. Current research has led scientists to understand that a part of the brain isn’t working properly in individuals with Alzheimer’s, which causes atrophy or shrinkage and death of brain cells. Though it has not yet been identified where the damage begins, research has shown that two types of proteins called plaques and tangles are responsible for much of the brain cell damage and death. Over time, more and more cells shrink and die, leading to irreversible changes in the brain.
The initial changes to the brain begin before any signs and symptoms become present, so it is important to be able to identify early potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Early signs and symptoms include forgetting recent conversations and events, misplacing items, forgetting names of common places and objects, repeating questions, poor judgment, difficulty making decisions, isolation from family or friends, and becoming increasingly resistant to change.
Middle-stage symptoms show worsening memory problems. This includes difficulty remembering the names of people they know and struggling to recognize friends and family. Other symptoms at this stage may include getting lost or not knowing what time of day it is, obsessive and repetitive behavior, delusions and paranoia, problems with speech and language, disturbed sleep, and mood changes. Ultimately, in the end stages of Alzheimer’s, symptoms will become so severe that individuals will become totally dependent on their caretaker. While many things may cause memory or cognitive impairment and the early signs of Alzheimer’s may appear unassuming, it is important to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any dementia-like symptoms.
While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are several medications that can slow disease progression and aid in symptom management, such as reducing depression and anxiety. In addition to medication management, facilitating a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve an individual’s lifespan and quality of life with this disease. Consider incorporating regular exercise and eating a diet consisting of less processed foods, while adding in more fresh fruits and vegetables. Reduce or eliminate smoking and alcohol consumption. Spend time with family and friends and take part in social activities and hobbies that inspire joy and encourage engagement with others. If you are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, try to encourage them to partake in these lifestyle behaviors. In conjunction with current treatments, the quest to better understand Alzheimer’s and ultimately find a cure is at the forefront of biomedical research.
The challenge of being the loved one or family member of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is not overlooked. If you are a caretaker, make sure you are taking your own health and wellness into consideration. Find individuals that can help with care and consider joining a support group of individuals that you can talk to about your situation.
If you need help, contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline: 800-272-3900
Image 1 – https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia
Image 2 –
Image 3 – https://mind.help/topic/alzheimers/
Alzheimer’s Association – https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia
American Brain Foundation –
NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/symptoms/
Mayo Clinic –
We as humans are a community that thrives on the ability to communicate with those around us. With many means of communicating, our voices, the ability to speak, serve as an especially valuable and empowering tool that cannot be taken for granted.
There are certain conditions that threaten to take away our ability to speak and sometimes our ability to swallow or hear, both of which also impact our speech and communication. These communication disorders can be a result of stroke, brain damage, muscle weakness or respiratory distress throughout one’s lifetime. In other instances, communication disorders are congenital, in other words, they are present at birth. Regardless of the cause or duration of the communication disorder, losing the ability to speak or not having the ability to communicate is scary and can result in feelings of helplessness or frustration.
In the older population, speech therapists, also known as speech-language pathologists, are especially beneficial in the recovery processes following a stroke or in the therapy involved in dementia and other physical disorders. These conditions along with others can result in language and communication barriers. Aphasia, characterized by a difficulty in reading, writing, speaking and understanding language and apraxia, characterized by a difficulty in forming words, are two communication disorders that can commonly result from a stroke. Dementia often leads to difficulty thinking of words, trouble remembering thoughts, or losing attention during conversations. Physical weakness of the vocal cords can also result from multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These disorders have the potential to affect us and our loved ones and deeply impact our independence. Recognizing the value in seeking out speech therapy can help to preserve an individual’s ability to speak and communicate for as long as possible.
In such situations, speech therapy is a remarkable service that can alleviate much of the distress that accompanies communication challenges. Speech therapy is a speech and language focused treatment that can aid in communication disorders spanning the lifetime.
Services include assistance with early language skills, voice and sound production, comprehension, fluency, clarity and expression. The therapist will work with patients to create highly individualized treatment plans and can provide additional techniques for the individual to practice on their own. Speech therapy is most commonly available in hospitals and clinics, but BrightSpring Health Services is one of the few home health companies to offer at-home speech therapy. This has a huge advantage, as it offers the potential to receive therapy in the comfort of your own home, which is important during such a vulnerable time. Recovering from and overcoming a speech disorder can be a long process. It requires patience and support from family and friends, and a speech therapist can aid in the journey to recovery.
The benefits from speech therapy are undeniable. With the help of a speech-language pathologist, you, your family member, your loved one or your friend will feel better, communicate better, regain more independence, and overall experience an improved quality of life.
Image 1: https://tutorbin.com/blog/informative-speech-topics-for-2020
Image 2: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/obtaining-older-patients-medical-history
Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22366-speech-therapy
BrightSpring Health Services: https://www.brightspringhealth.com/services/homecare-services/
The month of June is Men’s Health Month and is dedicated to bringing awareness and providing education regarding all things health for the male population. With chronic disease and sedentary lifestyles on the rise, it is more important than ever to stay properly informed of how you can take steps to preserve your own health. Oftentimes, it can be as simple as making small changes to your daily routines that can prevent illness and preserve your quality of life in the long run.
While men and women both share many of the same leading causes of death, studies have shown that men have a higher morbidity and mortality rate than women from coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and cancer, four of the top ten leading causes of death in our country. Though many factors, including genetics, come into play with these diseases that are not always avoidable, many of the biggest risk factors are preventable, including smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, obesity, and high-risk behavior.
Statistics have identified men as being more likely to smoke, drink higher amounts of alcohol, partake in risky behaviors, and put off checkups and medical care, all of which put you in a much higher risk category for chronic disease. Recognizing the risk factors that are most at play for you and reducing their presence in your own life can have a monumental impact on the quality of your life.
In addition to being at higher risk for universal health issues that can affect everyone, there are several health concerns that are unique to men. These include prostate cancer, benign prostate enlargement and low testosterone. Sometimes signs and symptoms don’t present themselves until it’s too late, and because men are more likely to skip the doctor visits, these diseases can go unnoticed for some time despite treatments being available. Regular checkups and screenings are imperative for men, as they can often identify disease early, even before symptoms occur, making it more likely that treatment will be successful.
Lifestyle changes can be hard but living with chronic disease that could have been prevented is the unfortunate alternative. When you’re ready to consider evaluating some of the risk factors for disease that exist in your own life, start by making a list. Once you’ve made a list, pick one to three things that you can change right away. The change can be as small as drinking one more cup of water each day to as big as hiring a personal trainer or nutrition coach!
Remember, a huge key to success is starting with something you know you will be able to stick to in order to build a strong habit. Reducing risk factors, improving your nutritional choices, and increasing your daily activity levels has a long list of benefits. These include better sleep, improved cognition, less weight gain, decreased levels of depression, and lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type-II diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and several types of cancers. You have the ability to dictate your quality of life for the rest of your life, starting with the changes you make today.
Image 1 – https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/content.aspx?ID=10238
Image 2 – https://bppn.org/june-is-mens-health-month/
American Heart Association – https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults?gclid=CjwKCAjwyryUBhBSEiwAGN5OCPrs7yMioBQ6DkruGXplfE6urx91CVQEadSrYxoZHVUrPIkkmpOs0BoC6z8QAvD_BwE
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/lcod/men/2016/all-races-origins/index.htm
National Library of Medicine – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756802/
My Health Finder – https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/doctor-visits/regular-checkups/men-take-charge-your-health
June 12, 1948. A day that changed the course of history with the passing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. This act would allow for women to serve in an official capacity in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
While it took until 1948 for women in service to be recognized by law, women have been making invaluable contributions during war times through much of American history. From sewing uniforms, to providing medical services, to forming all-female units to help fight the war, women were integral members of the military as early as the Revolution and continued to serve in the Civil War and the World Wars. Today, they are legally and rightfully permitted to serve in the Armed Forces and continue to be a vitally important component.
Despite women being the fastest growing group of veterans, with approximately two million residing in the United States today, they experience a disproportionate amount of challenges compared to their male counterparts both during their time in service and upon returning to civilian life. At present, they continue to face a higher risk of harassment and sexual violence during service, homelessness following their duty, difficulty finding employment, and social bias upon reintegration to society. The Armed Forces have always been and remain a male biased organization and the struggles for women because of this bias continue to negatively impact our female veterans. The Center for Women Veterans (CWV) was established in 1994 to address
some of these disparities between women and men in service. The CWV continues to be a leading organization whose mission it is to ensure that female veterans are treated with respect and equality. While there are scattered efforts across the nation and within communities to address the needs of female veterans, we are far from a point at which we should be satisfied. Women’s Veterans Day was first recognized just four years ago on June 12, 2018. This day was established to highlight female veterans and the struggles they face in hopes of addressing them with lasting solutions. We, as a society informed of the struggles these brave women face, must continue to raise awareness on their behalf.
To the women that have served this country and to those that continue to serve, we see you and we thank you.
For more information regarding the resources available to you as a female veteran, you can visit the National Veterans Foundation’s website for a categorized list of resources depending on your specific needs. https://nvf.org/women-veteran-resources/
VAntage Point – https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/89813/origin-women-veterans-day/
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – https://www.va.gov/womenvet/resources/index.asp
VAWnet – https://vawnet.org/sc/challenges-specific-female-veterans National Veterans Foundation – https://nvf.org/women-veteran-resources/