Atrial Fibrillation Month

Atrial Fibrillation Month

It’s Atrial Fibrillation Month, and atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib or AF, is a type of irregular heartbeat that can raise your risk of other health problems. Learn more.

Making Sense of Irregular Heartbeat

 

For most people, their heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. Those with AFib can have heart rates as high as 175 beats a minute.

AFib can feel like drums or thunder pounding in your chest or even flip-flopping in your chest. Talk to your doctor if you’ve experienced this kind of discomfort.

How AFib Feels

 

If you’re experiencing AFib and other issues, like shortness of breath with light physical activity, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue, your heart might not be getting enough blood and oxygen out to your body.

AFib and Other Symptoms

 

AFib raises your risk of stroke by 5 times. It can allow clots to form, which can cause strokes that can cause serious damage to your tissue and brain.

AFib and Your Risk of Stroke

 

Some people may just have to cut caffeine in their diet to improve their AFib. Others may need special medication and treatment to address the underlying cause.

Cutting Caffeine for AFib

 

If you suffer from heartbeat irregularities, changes in your lifestyle, like being physically active, quitting smoking, or managing stress and your blood pressure can also help.

Improving AFib

National Bake and Decorate Month

National Bake and Decorate Month

It’s National Bake and Decorate Month, and with these lightened-up recipes, you don’t have to ruin your healthy eating to participate.

First up is a gorgeous Banana, Almond & Chocolate Cake that will satisfy your chocolate fix.

Banana, Almond & Chocolate Cake
Image and Recipe via Green Kitchen Stories

 

These gluten-free Cherry Pie Bars are the perfect summer treat and easier to share than a whole pie.

Cherry Pie Bars

 

 

Raspberry-Currant Yogurt Crumble Cake is a perfect afternoon snack for your sweet tooth.

Raspberry-Currant Yogurt Crumble Cake
Image and Recipe via Dolly and Oatmeal

 

This Lemon Curd Tart with Blackberries is also low-carb if you’re cutting back.

Lemon Curd Tart with Blackberries
Image and Recipe via My PCOS Kitchen

 

This Carrot Cake uses Greek yogurt in place of butter for a lighter take on the classic.

Healthy Gluten Free Sugar Free Carrot Cake

 

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pomegranate Salt are an elevated take on your favorite.

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pomegranate Salt

 

Make this beautiful Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel and Coconut Cream to impress.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel and Coconut Cream
Image and Recipe via The First Mess

Eat Chicken Month

Eat Chicken Month

It’s Eat Chicken Month, and in honor of it, we’ll have light and healthy recipes with your favorite protein all week long.

Skip the dry chicken breast and eat this tender Herb Roasted Chicken Breast instead.

Herb Roasted Chicken Breast
Image and Recipe via Budget Bytes

 

This Italian Herb Bruschetta Chicken is perfect for dinner or a meal prepped ahead of time for lunch.

Italian Herb Bruschetta Chicken
Image and Recipe via Cafe Delites

 

These Baked Chicken Fajita Roll-Ups are the perfect single-serving of your restaurant favorite.

Baked Chicken Fajita Roll-Ups

 

Whip up these Meal Prep Greek Chicken Gyro Bowls for easy lunches this week.

Meal Prep Greek Chicken Gyro Bowls

 

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Bowls are a great way to get your fix without getting takeout.

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Bowls

 

No need for huge appetizers when dining out, try these Healthy Chicken Nachos at home instead.

Healthy Chicken Nachos
Image and Recipe via A Healthy Fridge

 

This baked Ginger Chicken with Confetti Peach Salsa is a perfect combo of sweet and savory.

Ginger Chicken with Confetti Peach Salsa

Pain Awareness Month

Pain Awareness Month

It’s Pain Awareness Month. Many kinds of health conditions can cause chronic pain, and these resources can help you start managing that pain.

Resources for Your Pain

 

Almost all sufferers of chronic pain end up in the ER at some point. How can you be prepared and what can you expect?

E.R. Visits for Pain

 

Pain management programs and your pain management team are key to getting your pain under control.

Managing Your Pain with Your Team

 

If your pain limits your ability to perform these simple tasks, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

Pain Limiting Your Day

 

One of the most common types of chronic pain is back pain. This tool can help you describe your back pain in better detail and track your pain over time.

Migraines are a common cause of chronic pain. This guide can help you talk about your migraine pain with your doctor at your next visit.

Ongoing Headache Pain

 

Be ready to talk to your doctor at your next appointment about what’s happened with your last visit by filling out this summary.

Talking About Pain with Your Doctor

Remember September

Long View: Remember September

Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh-so-mellow.

Many of you may remember this Andy Williams song from years ago. For me, it rekindled some fond memories of a younger time. Did you read the lyrics, or sing them (as I did)?

September is a time when we welcome autumn and say so long to summer. Living in the Midwest for most of my life, I love the change of seasons, especially this one! The shades of nature are a mixture of both summer and fall.

It’s a fun time in fashion when colors start to pop as wardrobes transition. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear plum opaque tights with a pastel-colored summer frock, a cozy navy sweatshirt with those favorite khaki shorts, or even a pair of gray light wool pants with some snazzy, strappy sandals! (Is white OK after Labor Day these days?)

One of the most prominent colors of the season that you will see displayed this month is purple. Did you know that purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement?

September is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and here at Health Alliance, we participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in many of our communities throughout Illinois. These wonderful walks are intended to raise awareness of the disease and to raise funds for care, support, and research. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disease that progressively and slowly destroys a person’s memory and mental skills to the point of not being able to carry out the simplest task.

Finding a cure for this disease is the focus of Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and developing prevention along with treatment is part of the process. Check out the dates and towns for the 2018 walks near you. It’s a nationwide annual event, with more than 600 communities across the United States participating.

There are many way to help, even if you don’t want to walk. Take your first step and go the official website at Act.ALZ.org/Walk.

Here are some of the 2018 local walks where you may spot Health Alliance:

  • Champaign – September 22
  • Decatur – October 6
  • Mattoon – September 29
  • Bloomington/Normal – September 15
  • Peoria – October 13
  • Rockford – September 15
  • Springfield – September 22

Come up with your own transitional outfit to wear (maybe add a splash of purple,) and hope to see you at a walk!

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

National Sweet Corn Week

National Sweet Corn Week

It’s National Sweet Corn Week, and it’s the perfect time to cook up healthy sweet corn recipes with the Midwest classic.

First up is a hearty take on your summer favorites, Grilled Peach & Sweet Corn Summer Grain Bowls.

Grilled Peach & Sweet Corn Summer Grain Bowls

 

This Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, and Burrata makes for the perfect summer salad.

Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, and Burrata
Image and Recipe via Simply Recipes

 

Whip up a perfect seafood dinner with this easy Trout with Sweet Corn Sauce.

Trout with Sweet Corn Sauce
Image and Recipe via Sunset

 

Sneak in veggies for pasta night with light Zoodles with Creamy Corn Sauce.

Next Level Zoodles with Creamy Corn Sauce

 

Looking for a simple summer lunch? Look no further than Sweet Corn & Arugula Panzanella.

Sweet Corn & Arugula Panzanella

 

These Scallops with Grilled Sweet Corn Salad make a light but impressive meal.

Scallops with Grilled Sweet Corn Salad
Image and Recipe via Leite’s Culinaria

 

Get a hearty dish out of your summer corn with this Baked Sweet Corn Farro Risotto.

Baked Sweet Corn Farro Risotto

National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month

National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month

It’s National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a rare disease that affects the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, slowly robbing them of the ability to walk, eat, and breathe.

SMA and Nerve Damage

 

SMA is caused by a mutation in a gene that produces a protein critical to our nerves. Nerve cells can’t function without it.

SMA Gene Mutation

 

SMA is also the number one genetic cause of death in infants. About 1 in every 50 Americans could pass it on to their children.

Genetic SMA Carriers

 

There are 4 types of SMA based on the age when symptoms begin and the highest physical milestone the victim reaches. Type 1 in infants is often fatal, while type 4 in adults is very rare and only leads to mild motor impairment.

Types of SMA

 

SMA is usually diagnosed through genetic testing, newborn screenings, or through prenatal testing.

Prenatal SMA Testing

 

In 2016, the first FDA-approved treatment for SMA was approved. After an SMA diagnosis, it is key to work through the coming decisions with your family’s team of doctors.

Treating SMA

 

Those with SMA still develop mentally despite their physical barriers, so finding more forms of treatment and prevention are key to the future of the disease and those who suffer from it.

 

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