Category: Prevention

Why Your Diet Should be as Unique as You Are

00Nutrition, Prevention

Exercise andwhat your diet should be diets are not one size fits all. We all have our own distinctive health issues, our family histories, and our own bodies. Just because your best friend is on the Paleo diet and doing CrossFit doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you too. The same goes for your family member who is taking calcium supplements. That doesn’t mean you need calcium supplements as well. Here’s a deeper look into just how unique we all are when it comes to our healthcare needs.

Family History

Everyone’s family history is unique. “If our parents or grandparents have a history of obesity, cardiac disease, diabetes or high blood pressure – that does put us a higher risk of developing that disease,” says Stacey Brake, 9Health Fair Health and Wellness RN, BSN. She says knowing our family history is important because our diet can play a key role in reducing the risk of developing those diseases. Plus, if we know certain diseases run in the family, it just might be the motivation we need to eat healthy and exercise.

If you know that certain diseases run in your family, you may want to consider taking a close look at them and what you can do to prevent them. The SurgeonGeneral has a great site to help you with this. It even allows you to print your family history so you can share it with others in your family.

Supplements

While some supplements are beneficial for some people, the same supplements or dosage may not be good for others. For instance, Brake explains that “some supplements for weight loss may cause a racing heart in one person while others aren’t affected. It’s important to know that just like other medications – supplements aren’t one size fits all. Pharmacists can look up interactions between supplements and other medications.

“I also worry about the supplements that claim to help you lose X amount of weight in a month without dieting or exercising….I find those to be misleading and can have ingredients that raise heart rates or blood pressure which can be very detrimental.”

TheNational Institutes of Health (NIH) has several examples of how supplements react differently with different people and their individual health. For instance, if you take Vitamin K and are on blood thinners, that supplement will reduce the effectiveness of the blood thinner. They also remind you that just because a supplement is considered “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe. The herb comfrey may be natural, but it can cause liver danger. You really should talk with your doctor before taking supplements, according to Brake.

Gut Bacteria

We all have bacteria in our gut. Brake says we are born with our own set of bacteria, much of which we inherit from our mothers and the environment. “We have common ones but even these can be different for each person and among different populations,” she says.

ThePhysicians Committee for Responsible Medicine describes the job of our gut bacteria:

  •  Helps digest and absorb nutrients
  • Synthesize certain vitamins
  • Protect against intruders, such as the flu
  • Boost our immune system
  •  Let the brain know how to regulate our metabolism

They state that the more diversity you have in gut bacteria, the better of you’ll be in the long run.

According to ScientificAmerican, your gut bacteria may also play a role in your weight – “New evidence indicates that gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth.” If you’re struggling with your weight, you may want to consider incorporating foods into your diet that will boost healthy gut bacteria, such as artichokes, polenta and blueberries.

Don’t Buy into the Blood Type Diet

There are people out there who say your blood type should influence your diet. Don’t fall for that. “I tend to be a person that believes in a well-rounded, healthy diet,” says Brake. “I just don’t think there is enough information out there to know how if effects our health or improves it. It seems that it would take a lot of work and diets that are a lot of work just aren’t successful in my opinion.  I think speaking with a registered dietician about dietary concerns or suggestions is the best bet.” She suggests talking with a registered dietician at one of our Spring or Fall Family 9HealthFairs if you want to learn more.

Bottom line – just because your friends are doing it doesn’t mean you should too. Remember, when it comes to nutrition, we all have our own “baggage.” It’s always good to talk to a medical professional before making changes in your diet.

A Family Checkup that will Save You Time and Money

00Prevention

family checkupHow would you like to have your entire family get a health checkup all together, in one place? It may sound too good to be true, but with 9Health Fair, you can do just that.

Making Healthcare a Family Affair

Our 2016 spring 9Health Fair season is just around the corner. Find a fair near you, register and put it on the family calendar.

“New this year is the opportunity for our spring sites to offer (non-blood) screenings for children such as blood pressure and height, weight and body mass index,” says Margarita Archibeque, ourDirector of Client Services. “Select sites will offer these screenings, and we think this opportunity aligns well with state efforts to respond to children’s health issues.  This is a great way for parents and children to learn about their health together as a family.”

For adults, attending a 9Health Fair is a great way to get your baseline levels checked – such as cholesterol, blood pressure and thyroid. Oftentimes, the tests offered at our fairs are a lower cost than what you would be charged at the doctor’s office, even with insurance. Keep in mind, each site varies on the screenings they offer. However, all 9Health Fairs will offer a blood chemistry screening, prostate specific antigen (PSA) for men, blood count screening, vitamin D 25-Hydroxy screening and colon cancer screening kits.

Archibeque also says this year there will be two new locations. “I am always excited about new sites and new site leaders!  This means our important services are reaching new communities. This year, our new sites in Aurora and Southwest Denver add to the ever growing diverse communities in Colorado.”

Just remember, the screenings offered may vary at each 9Health Fair. Find a fair near you to see what screenings they will have available.

Our goals are to advance health awareness and provide our community with the tools they need to take responsibility for their health. Each spring, 9Health Fair, along with volunteers from our community, organize approximately 120 9Health Fairs all across Colorado to help our community own their health. We hope you and your family take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Let’s get healthy together!

Should You Be Screened for Depression? YES.

00Mental Health, Prevention
Stock Photo by Sean Locke www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Stock Photo by Sean Locke
www.digitalplanetdesign.com

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation is in – screen ALL adults for depression.

Depression is a Community-Wide Issue
Considering that depression is one of the leading causes of disability in adults, it makes sense, right? And because the effects of depression reach far beyond the individual (families, businesses, and society can be negatively impacted by this disease) mental health should be regarded as a community-wide issue.

An important part of this recommendation is that it is Grade B, which means that anyone can be screened without any qualifications. Basically, you don’t have to “prove” anything to “earn” a depression screening. Additionally, the USPSTF says that an accurate diagnosis should be followed by effective treatment, and concluded with appropriate follow-up. In other words, the diagnosis is just the beginning of the journey.

Just as with other health conditions, depression symptoms can be reduced or relieved when treated correctly and in a timely fashion. If you need help, medical professionals can create a treatment plan that involves medication, therapy, or both.

9Health Fair: A Place to Start
Adding a new aspect to your healthcare routine can be daunting. If you don’t know where to start, just go to a 9Health Fair! Many locations offer a free stress management screening, which would be a great way to see if further evaluation is needed – without spending any money.

Many people are already in the habit of including weight and blood pressure in their annual preventive health plan. Adding a mental health evaluation paints a more inclusive picture of your overall wellness. By screening all adults for depression, this new USPSTF recommendation encourages our community to bring mental health issues into the light.

New to 9Health Fair: Total Wellness Zones

00Prevention

exercise3In the spring of 2015, 9Health Fair created the Total Wellness Zone to address the growing interest in complementary health practices. This opportunity was open to any 9Health Fair site, and 45 sites decided to offer interactive demonstrations and education in a variety of areas related to wellness. The Total Wellness Zone quickly became one of our most popular areas at the 9Health Fair sites that offered it.

Creating a More Dynamic Experience

Cindy Hickman, Active Adults Coordinator for the Town of Erie, volunteered to run one of the first Total Wellness Zones. She says she was very excited to hear the idea. “I thought it would bring a more dynamic experience to 9Health Fair…It allowed me to look at more natural and holistic health options.”

Our mission is this: 9Health Fair will advance health awareness by providing people with the tools they need to take responsibility for their own health. Our Total Wellness Zone features a variety of activities, such as works outs like Zumba or Yoga, first aid demonstrations, nutrition discussions, farmer’s market vendors, and cooking classes.

In Cindy’s Total Wellness Zone you could learn more about mountain biking, essential oils, and how to cook for a healthy life. A number of local businesses were included, which also created another way for the community to interact and learn more about each other.

The idea of total wellness is becoming quite popular. The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health says that roughly 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children are practicing some form of complementary and alternative medicine.

“I believe that our health is something we have to take personal responsibility for,” says Cindy. “This would include going to the doctor’s office, visiting 9Health Fair, and thinking of other options for good health rather than always relying on medication. The 9Health Fair Wellness Zone allowed me, as a site coordinator, to think outside the box when it comes to health options. I believe the Total Wellness Zone will give participants more options when it comes to considering health alternatives.”

If you were one of the many people to participate in a Total Wellness Zone, we hope that you are well on your way towards a more successful and healthy existence, with a greater awareness of the choices you make.

Look for a Total Wellness Zone at a 9Health Fair in your area this year!

Make Your Health Game Plan

00Prevention

gameplanAs an old Spanish Proverb goes, “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” If your health fails, it is difficult to do much of anything else. Poor health can impact happiness, stress levels and overall life performance. Making a commitment to take on healthier habits is the key to feeling good and enjoying life!

People who are more involved in their health care are less likely to end up on medications, have surgeries or need other treatments. Create a healthy lifestyle, navigate the healthcare system, and explore healing practices.

Make a game plan to own your health:

  1. Keep track of important health information. Write down all health problems you have now and have had in the past, along with the things you do to keep them under control.
  2. Know your family health history. This will help you understand what to look for and manage with yourself.
  3. Attend a 9Health Fair. Every spring and fall, take advantage of low and no-cost health screenings to help you know your numbers. Check out our website for information on dates and locations of our fairs.
  4. Seeing a doctor regularly for check-ups. Take your 9Health Fair results to your doctor to review the findings. He/she will help you put together a health plan based upon your results.

Also, check out this assessment to measure how you’re doing when it comes to your wellbeing. These are important pieces to living a healthy life.

Take charge; your ability to make healthy decisions is limitless, and it starts with making a few healthy changes in order to see a difference. Tell us what your game plan is when it comes to owning your health.

The Elements of a Basic First-Aid Kit

00Prevention

Oh no! You’re out hiking with a coworker when she slips and twists her ankle. What item do you need to help her?

Quick! Your picnic in the park is going great until your friend is stung by a bee. What would help to alleviate the pain?

Help! You burn your finger on the hot frying pan that’s cooking up your freshly-caught trout. What can soothe your burned skin?

It’s likely you knew what items you would need to help in the above scenarios (compression wrap, acetaminophen, and antibiotic cream), but here’s the tricky part: are you carrying any of those items with you on a regular basis?

Summer adventures take us outside and away from of our trusty medicine cabinets full of band-aids, ointments and Advil. That is why it’s so important to have a basic first aid kit that can go where you go – and help when you need help.

Before your next outdoor excursion, put together a basic first aid kit that includes the following items:

Compression wrap – stabilize twisted limbs
Antibiotic ointment – prevents infection in minor burns, cuts and scrapes
Tweezers – remove ticks, splinters, glass or stingers
Antihistamine tablets – calm allergies
Hand sanitizer – use clean hands when helping in any first aid situation!
Antiseptic wipes – cleans cuts and scrapes easily
Bandaids (various sizes) –protect fresh wounds
Eye wash – flush out sand and dust

Being prepared minimizes the impact that small emergencies can have on your outdoor escapades. With the right tools, you can keep your family safe – and keep exploring!

What’s in your family’s first aid kit?

What Your Local 9Health Fair Can Do For You

00Prevention

You probably know that 9Health Fair offers many convenient and affordable health screenings and there are many sites to attend around Colorado and beyond.  However, there are many lesser known reasons to go to a 9Health Fair.

For instance, did you know that you might run into a medical professional from your doctor’s office at one of the screenings?  Each medical volunteer helping at a fair has been professionally trained in their field and has chosen to donate their skills to benefit the community they live in.

You also might not know that anyone age 18 or older can participate in a blood screening, even if they have insurance.  Fairs do not have an attendance cap so insured community members need not worry they are taking a space away from someone who does not have insurance.  Uninsured and insured alike are welcome to attend.

Even when you feel fine, checking on your health is still important because you could discover silent symptoms you might not be able to see or feel.  The skin is your largest organ and unfortunately you cannot easily see all of it.  Due to our elevation, Colorado has a rate of new skin cancer diagnoses 15% higher than the national average.  Melanoma can be tricky to spot in places such as your back, head, and the back of your neck and legs.  Many fair sites offer free skin screenings, so get checked out and know for sure.

The most popular screening at each 9Health Fair is still the Blood Chemistry panel for only $35.  This panel gives you 28 different values to manage the health of your liver, kidneys, bones, thyroid, and more.  Results from this same set of screenings will also give insight into the top silent killers in the United States.  Blood Chemistry will provide HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose values.  Combined with a free blood pressure check that you can get at any 9Health Fair, these numbers will let you know how your heart, blood vessels, and pancreas are working to circulate blood and metabolize sugars.  High values of LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, or glucose, if left unchecked, may contribute to heart disease or diabetes; sometimes without any symptoms.  We recommend that you take your 9Health Fair results to your health care professional for individualized evaluation.

Lastly, you may not realize that each 9Health Fair is the result of a lot of hard work by volunteers from your own community.  Each site’s volunteers are excited to see their friends and neighbors take part in owning their health by taking advantage of the health screenings that were specifically selected specifically based on the needs of your community.  Show the volunteers you appreciate their hard work by supporting your local 9Health Fair.  Bond together by proudly wearing your “I Own It” sticker. Your annual 9Health Fair experience will help you and each of your neighbors learn more about individual health and how to remain active members of your community.

Each fair is quite different, depending on the community it serves, but there is always more than meets the eye.  Find a fair in your neighborhood today to discover what your local 9Health Fair can do for your health and wellness journey!

Have You Had Your Blood Pressure Checked Lately?

00Prevention

blood pressureAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure. Because there are no symptoms in the early stages, it is commonly called “The Silent Killer.” This makes it extremely important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

What you need to know about blood pressure

Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to the blood flow in your arteries. If your heart is pumping more blood, your arteries narrow, therefore, making your blood pressure higher. It can fluctuate with injury, illness and emotional reaction; however, normal blood pressure should stay under 120/80. 1 out 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels which can increase the risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart disease and heart attack. Lifestyle choices such as low stress, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and eating foods high in fiber, low in fat and low in salt will help to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. If you have high blood pressure or are concerned, see what this Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure has to say from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

So tell us…have you had your blood pressure checked lately? If the answer is “no”, visit a 9Health Fair near you to have it checked at no cost!