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Health Tips from Health Choice

DIABETES

Did you know that diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the U.S.?

According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010. Diabetes affects heart health and can also cause blindness, kidney failure, and amputations of feet and/or legs not related to accidents or injury. Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Increased thirst or hunger.
  • Weight loss.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Slowed healing of wounds.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent diabetes, or if you already have diabetes, to manage it so that you can lead a healthier life. Ways to prevent diabetes include:

  • Losing weight.
  • Eating healthier.
  • Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker.

If you have an increased risk of diabetes due to family history or if you're overweight, you need to make diabetes prevention a priority. Fortunately, this can be as simple as eating healthier foods, and it's easier than you think.

Take the first steps towards a healthier diet by adding more fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and leaner meats to your shopping list and try and include them in most meals. In time it'll get easier to eat more healthy foods, plus eating healthy foods will help you lose weight.

For more information about diabetes, visit these websites:

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BREAST CANCER

If you are a woman, you could be one of the one in eight women in the U.S. to get breast cancer.

There are many risk factors for breast cancer, but really the most common risk is simply being a woman. Fortunately, current treatment can be very effective. In fact, the 5-year survival rate can be as high as 98% if breast cancer is detected early and confined to the breast.

The American Cancer Society recommends the following methods to help detect breast cancer early:

  • Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a clinical breast exam by a health professional every year.
  • Breast self-examination is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should learn about the benefits and limitations of breast self-examination. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.

Learn more about what you can do to help detect breast cancer early. For more information about breast cancer and the importance of mammograpy, visit these websites

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HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Do you know why high blood pressure is also called "The Silent Killer"?

Approximately one in three people in the U.S. have high blood pressure (or hypertension), that can lead to stroke, heart attack, or kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with high blood pressure may have no symptoms. You may feel fine and not be aware that high blood pressure is damaging your arteries, heart and other organs. This is why high blood pressure is sometimes called "The Silent Killer."

Because high blood pressure is such a dangerous condition, it's vital to follow your physician's course of treatment. This can include a variety of prescriptions and over the counter products, but also requires special attention to diet, sleeping habits, and of course, exercise.

The key is consistency. Get a plan from a doctor to manage your blood pressure, and stick to it.

In addition to your doctor's recommendations, here are some ways to lower your blood pressure:

  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Eat foods that are low in sodium
  • Stay active.
  • Lose weight.

For more information about high blood pressure, visit these websites:

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PRENATAL CARE

Early and regular prenatal care is vital for both mother and baby.

Doctors can spot health problems early when they see mothers regularly. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others. Studies show that babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who receive prenatal care.

If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, here are some important health tips:

  • See a doctor within the first 12 weeks of learning you are pregnant.
  • Expectant moms should gain a healthy amount of weight.
  • Quit smoking before you become pregnant.
  • You should not drink alcohol or use drugs while you are pregnant.
  • Get plenty of sleep and try to control your stress.
  • Incorporate regular, moderate intensity exercise weekly, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Take steps to avoid illness like regular hand washing and getting your flu shot.

For more information about prenatal care and pregnancy, visit these websites:

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CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATIONS

Immunizations are one of the most important ways for you to protect your children and yourself from serious diseases and infections.

Newborn babies are immune to many diseases because of antibodies passed from their mothers. But this immunity only lasts a month to a year. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio.

If a child is not vaccinated and is exposed to a disease, the child's body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. To be effective, vaccines must be given on a set schedule, beginning during the child's first two years of life.

As a parent, you work to protect your child, and vaccines are a valuable tool in your ongoing efforts to keep your child healthy and safe. If you are not sure your child's vaccines are up-to-date, call your child's doctor to make sure.

For more information about prenatal care and pregnancy, visit these websites:

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