Health Tips from Health Choice
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:
- 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 to 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:
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 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, visit these websites:
Well-Woman Preventative Care Services:
Did you know Health Choice covers well-woman preventative services? Preventative services are meant to identify certain risk factors related to disease, behavioral health and the promotion of a healthy life.
A well-woman preventative visit includes a well exam including:
- Physical Exam
- Breast Exam
- Pelvic Exam
- Review of Immunizations, Screenings and Tests.
Your provider will be screening and counseling you on ways to improve your health and reduce your risk.
Some examples of screenings are:
- Tobacco/substance use, abuse and/or dependency
- Proper nutrition
- Depression screening
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Family planning counseling
- Physical Activity
It is very important that you get an annual well-woman preventative exam so that you identify any concerns early and get the care you need. There is no copayment or other charges for a well-woman exam. Health Choice Arizona provides transportation to well-woman appointments and can assist you in scheduling an appointment if needed. Please call Member Services for assistance.
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:
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:
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 childhood immunizations, visit these websites:
Your risk of getting skin cancer is real. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.
While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much is dangerous, causing immediate effects like blistering sunburns, as well as longer-term problems like eye damage (such as age-related macular degeneration) and skin disorders/skin cancer.
Part of the sun’s energy that reaches us on earth is composed of rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) light. When ultraviolet light rays (UVA and UVB) enter the skin or eye, they damage skin cells and can cause burns resulting in visible and invisible injuries.
When outdoors, follow these simple tips:
- Avoid long exposure times to the sun.
- Schedule and play outdoor activities before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Sit or play in the shade as much as possible.
- Use SPF15 or higher sunscreen.
- Cover up – wear a T-shirt, long pants and a hat.
- Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- When swimming, wear goggles to protect your eyes from the sun, chlorine and/or bacteria from ponds or lakes.
- Talk to family and friends about sun protection.
For more information about UV safety, visit these websites:
Safe Swimming Tips
Swimming is a great summer exercise activity, but along with it comes risks.
Chances are you and your loved ones will enjoy some water/pool time this summer, so it’s important to learn how to protect yourself, your family and your friends from germs found in contaminated water and also to prevent accidental drowning.
By keeping these basic precautions in mind, you can make swimming as safe as it is fun this summer!
- Never take your eyes off small children near pools, streams or waterways.
- Don’t swallow pool water; it can contain bacteria that can make you ill.
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in diapers. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
- Practice good hygiene. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
- Children or inexperienced swimmers should take precautions, such as wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) when around the water.
- Watch out for the dangerous “too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
- Set water safety rules for the whole family based on swimming abilities (for example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep).
- Learn CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents and others who care for your child know CPR.
These are only a few tips for safe swimming. For more information, visit these websites:
Danger: Blood Lead Levels
Keep your child healthy: Be on the alert for high blood lead levels in your child.
Lead can be found in paint and in dust in homes built before 1978. Children may ingest lead through food or by putting toys that picked up lead from chipping paint into their mouth.
Even small amounts of lead in a child’s blood can cause problems with learning. They also can have a lower IQ. They often have reading and learning problems. Sometimes they are hyperactive. This is why it is important to know your child’s blood lead level.
All children should be tested for lead at 12 and 24 months of age. Children 36-72 months of age who have never been tested should be tested as well. A small amount of blood from your child’s finger is tested. If the child’s blood lead level is high, the child will be check out a second time to monitor the level.
The Arizona Department of Health Services can look at your home and find lead problem areas. After representatives from the ADHS find out where the lead is in your home, they can help you reduce the risk in your home.
Help your child stay healthy by keeping an eye on their blood lead levels.
For more information, visit these websites:
Have you tried to quit smoking in the past but could not?
The State of Arizona has a free helpline dedicated to helping you in living a tobacco free lifestyle.
The Arizona Smokers Helpline (ASHLine) is staffed with certified tobacco cessation counselors who can coach you through the quitting process. These coaches are trained professionals who will help customize and follow a quit plan. They act as your personal trainer to help you quit smoking. They also help you set goals, work toward a quit date and provide support.
As a Health Choice Arizona member, you have FREE smoking cessation products available to you. The Arizona Smokers Helpline (ASHLine) will work with your provider to determine which products will work best for you.