Health

An Ounce of Prevention

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Cancer
The American Cancer Society reports that more than one million people in the United States get cancer every year. More than half of cancer deaths can be prevented by making choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests. Screening increases the chances of detecting some cancer early, during times when they are most likely to be curable. Learn what screening tests the American Cancer Society recommends, when you should have them, and find out about insurance coverage at www.cancer.org. The website offers information about the treatment and specific types of cancer as well as countless survival stories of those who have battled it and won.

Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease – also called heart disease – can entail numerous problems. Many of them are related to a process called atherosclerosis, which is a condition that develops when plaque builds up in artery walls. The buildup narrows arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke. You should consider having your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked often. To prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association also recommends you don”t smoke, eat healthy foods, engage in physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, have regular checkups and take any recommended medications, especially those prescribed for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. For more information, visit www.heart.org.

Aging
Getting older can come with a variety of health challenges. But you can help protect yourself from major problems as you age by starting with a healthy diet. Take action to maintain good health and reduce your risk of disease and disability. Other measures include exercise, regular health screenings, getting vaccines, having enough sleep, and participating in activities you enjoy. As you grow older, keep your mind alert by learning new activities, taking classes  or getting involved in your community. The National Institute on Aging at NIH has information about these topics and more. Visit www.nia.nih.gov.

Wellness and Fitness
It”s no secret that getting and staying physically active can improve your health. It”s just a matter of finding your pattern and sticking with it. Whether it means visiting the gym once or twice per week or taking a stroll through the park on your lunch break, it”s easy to find the time if you really want to make the change. Most people do not get enough exercise, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. People of all types, shapes, sizes, and abilities can benefit from being physically active. The more you do, the greater the health benefits and the better you”ll feel.  In addition to helping you feel and look better, reaching a healthier body weight is good for your overall health and well being. If you are overweight or obese, you have a greater risk of developing many diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov or www.obesityinamerica.org.

Stress Management
Keeping your mind healthy can help you focus at work, help you overcome obstacles, attain goals in your personal life and assist you in getting along with your friends and family. Your emotions, thoughts and attitudes affect your energy, productivity and overall health. Good mental health strengthens your ability to cope with everyday hassles and more serious crises and challenges. It”s essential in creating the life you want. According to Mental Health America, stress can eat away at your well-being “like acid eating away at your stomach.” In addition, it can contribute to headaches, insomnia, overeating, back pain, high blood pressure, irritability, and vulnerability to infection. But you can thrive in the face of stress by taking reasonable steps to increase your comfort and boost your ability to build a rewarding life. Visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net.

Men & Women, 18 and up
Full checkup – Yearly
Cholesterol test – Every five years
Body mass index – If overweight
Thyroid test – Ask your doctor
Dental exam – Twice a year
Mole exam – Every three years starting in your 20s, every year after 40
Self mole exam – Monthly
Vision exam – If you notice changes
Hearing test – Every 10 years
Sexually transmitted infections – Ask your doctor

In Your 20s
Men:
Testicular Self-exam – Monthly

Women: Pap test – Age 21 (sooner if sexually active)
Clinical breast exam – Every two years
Breast self-exam – monthly

In Your 30s
Men:
Testicular Self-exam – Monthly

Women:
Pap or liquid pap test – Every three years, after three normal tests in a row
HPV DNA test – Every three years
Mammogram – Ask your doctor if your mother, sister or grandmother had breast cancer
Breast self-exam – Monthly

In Your 40s
Men:
Testicular Self-exam – Monthly
Fasting plasma glucose test – Starting at age 45; if it”s normal, repeat every three years
Prostate health – Discuss with your doctor and ask about PSA blood test and digital exam

Women:
Mammogram – Yearly
Clinical breast exam – Yearly
Fasting plasma glucose test – Starting at age 45; if it”s normal, repeat every three years
Pap test – 2-3 years after three consecutive normal tests
Breast self-exam – Monthly

In Your 50s and Up
Men:
Testicular Self-exam – Monthly
Fasting plasma glucose test – 45; if it”s normal, repeat every three years
Prostate health – Talk with your doctor
Fecal occult blood test – Yearly
Double contrast barium enema – Every five to 10 years
Colonoscopy – 50, then every 10 years
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening – Between 65 and 75 and have ever smoked cigarettes

Women:
Mammogram – Annually
Clinical breast exam – Every six months or year
Pap test – Every two to three years
Fecal occult blood test – Yearly
Colonoscopy – At 50 and every 10 years
Fasting plasma glucose – Yearly after 60
Osteoporosis test – Age 65 (age 60 if less than 154 pounds)
Breast self exam – Monthly