Quick Women's Health Tips

Quick Women’s Health Tips

It’s Women’s History Month, which makes it the perfect time to talk about your health and issues with these quick women’s health tips.

Prenatal care and care after you give birth are key parts of a healthy pregnancy. Learn more about your pregnancy care.

 

Your yearly well-woman visit with your doctor is the right time to talk about issues like endometriosis and menopause and to get routine screenings for breast and cervical cancer and bone density.

 

Women are more likely to die from a heart attack, and one of the reasons for that is not knowing the heart attack symptoms for women, which are different than for men.

Women and Heart Attacks

 

Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men.

Depression and Anxiety in Women

 

STDs can affect women more seriously than men, which makes screenings and the HPV vaccine very important.

STDs' Impact on Women

 

Osteoarthritis, which affects more women than men, can hurt your ability to be independent later in life.

Osteoarthritis and Women

 

Women are more likely to suffer from urinary tract issues throughout their lives.

UTIs and Women
Focus on Nutrition

Tips to Focus on Nutrition

In honor of National Nutrition Month, this week in food, we’re helping you focus on nutrition and make smart choices.

Lighten up your morning coffee run with these quick tips.

Smart Choices at the Coffee Shop

 

See what you know about what you eat or brush up with these quizzes on the different food groups.

Do you understand nutrition labels? They can be key to understanding what you’re buying, and we can help you break them down.

 

Is takeout your go-to on busy weekdays? These helpful tips can help you make smart choices.

Smart Choices in Takeout

 

School lunches are built to help your kids eat a balanced meal. Break them down to better understand them.

Balanced School Lunches

 

Teen girls sometimes struggle to build healthy eating habits. These tips can help them make smart, healthy decisions and avoid eating disorders.

Food Tips for Teen Girls

 

Teen boys might be able to get away with eating anything now, but these tips can help them set good habits they’ll be grateful for later in life.

Food Tips for Teen Boys
Alternative Flour Recipes

Alternative Flour Recipes

It’s National Flour Month, but if you have celiac disease, you’ve probably gone gluten-free. You can keep baking with these healthy alternative flour recipes.

Make breakfast gluten-free with these fluffy 5-Ingredient Almond Flour Pancakes.

Image and Recipe via Ambitious Kitchen

 

Harness in-season winter flavors before they’re gone with this Paleo Cranberry Orange Bread.

 

Go gluten-free with your takeout favorite with this Tapioca Flour Pizza Dough.

 

Your family will never know these Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies are gluten-free.

Image and Recipe via Ambitious Kitchen

 

Make these Quinoa and Brown Rice Flour Tortillas for quick and easy wraps.

 

This Maple Cornmeal Banana Bread uses oat flour and cornmeal to go gluten-free.

 

Serve these Buckwheat and Rosemary Crackers with your next cheese plate.

Self-Harm Awareness Month

Self-Harm Awareness Month

It’s Self-Harm Awareness Month, and self-harm is when someone hurts themselves on purpose. Cutting is common, but it’s not the only kind of self-harm. Some people burn themselves, pull out hair, or pick at wounds.

Self-harm itself isn’t a mental illness, and it’s not the same as trying to commit suicide, but it can be a sign of a lack of coping skills, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, or PTSD.

Understanding Self-Harm

 

Self-harm usually starts during a person’s teenage or young adult years, and it’s usually a result of coping with trauma, neglect, or abuse.

When Self-Harm Starts

 

Wanting to hurt yourself can be the result of rage, not knowing how to handle emotions, wanting to trigger endorphins, or simply the desire to feel something “real” instead of emotional numbness.

Why Self-Harm Happens

 

Self-harm can cause shame, both from the act of hurting yourself and from the scars that are left behind. This can lead to a dangerous cycle where self-harm causes feelings that can lead to more self-harm. 

Self-Harm and Shame

 

Getting help from a psychiatrist is a key part of treating the underlying issues that cause self-harm. Sometimes, a prescription like an antidepressant will be part of this treatment plan too.

Treating Self-Harm

 

If you suspect a loved one is self-harming, talk to them about how they’re doing and be prepared to hear the answer, even if it’s something that will hurt to hear. Reassure them that you care and offer to help them find treatment.

Help with Self-Harm
National Sauce Month

National Sauce Month

It’s National Sauce Month, but many of your favorite store-bought sauces have a lot of sugar and preservatives in them. Make these homemade, healthy sauce recipes as a replacement instead.

First up is a lightened BBQ sauce recipe that’s sweet and savory without all the sugar.

 

Whip up any of these 7 Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Recipes for a family stir-fry night.

Image and Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron
 

Lighten up a family favorite with this rich and creamy Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce.

 

With grilling season coming up fast, this Easy and Healthy Teriyaki Sauce will be a favorite.

Image and Recipe via Brewing Happiness
 

Even if you’re vegan, you can still get your nacho fix with Vegan Cheese Sauce.

 

Skip the jarred alternative with this easy and delicious San Marzano Tomato Sauce.

Image and Recipe via A Simple Palate
 

Lighten up dessert without anyone noticing with this Healthy Date Caramel Sauce.

Preventing Colorectal Cancer

Preventing Colorectal Cancer

It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

About 1 out of 3 people are not up to date with their colorectal cancer screening, which can help identify precancerous polyps so you can get them removed before they turn into cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

Colorectal cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms, which is why screenings are key to diagnosing cancer.

Your Colon and Cancer Symptoms

Those who do have symptoms experience:

  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent, ongoing stomach pain and cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss

Colorectal Cancer Screenings

There are a few different screenings for colorectal cancer available to you. The level of preparation needed for them, invasiveness, and frequency you’ll need them all vary.

Fecal Occult Blood Tests and Fecal Immunochemical Tests

Fecal Occult Blood Tests and Fecal Immunochemical Tests

A fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) or a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) can check for hidden blood in your stool, which can be a sign of cancer. 

These tests are noninvasive and don’t require a bowel cleanse before your appointment. They also need to be repeated each year because they don’t give your doctor a firsthand look at your colon’s health.

You simply collect your stool sample at home and mail it or bring it in to a lab for processing, and they’ll let you know your results.

FIT-DNA Tests

FIT-DNA Test

A FIT-DNA test checks for blood in the stool as well, but it also looks for DNA changes that may be a sign of cancer or precancerous polyps. 

This test is noninvasive and doesn’t require a bowel cleanse before your appointment. They also need to be repeated every 3 years, because they don’t give your doctor a firsthand look at your colon’s health.

You simply collect your stool sample at home and mail it or bring it to a lab for processing, and they’ll let you know your results.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy, but it only looks at part of your colon. 

This procedure may require a bowel cleansing the night before, but its prep is not as extensive as what’s required for a colonoscopy. It’s usually done in your doctor’s office or a procedure room, and it must be repeated every 5 years.

The procedure involves a thin, flexible scope being inserted into the rectum to view the lower third of the colon so your doctor can look at its condition firsthand. Pieces of tissue can also be removed and evaluated for any abnormal cell changes.

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy provides the best view of the entire colon. 

Bowel cleansing is required the night before this procedure. It’s usually done in an outpatient surgery center, and it is usually recommended once every 10 years. If your provider is concerned though, they can recommend you have them more frequently.

A thin, flexible scope is inserted into your rectum to view your entire colon.  Pieces of tissue or polyps can also be removed and evaluated for any abnormal cell changes.

The Screening That’s Right for You

You should work with your doctor to choose the screening that’s right for you and your situation. No matter which screening you choose, most of our plans will cover 100% of the cost. If more testing or services are needed besides your normal screenings, you may be responsible for paying a copay.

To check your exact coverage, log in to Your Health Alliance to review your benefits or contact us.

Reduce Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Reducing Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

A healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. What can you do?

  • Maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Eat a diet that’s high in fiber and includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit saturated fats and alcohol.
 

This March, talk to your doctor about scheduling your next screening.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Vantage Point: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

We always hear how we need to spend more time with our loved ones. But it’s hard to find common ground with others. We might not like the same music or have the same hobbies and interests.

In March, many schools celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2, 1904). This is a great opportunity for kids to learn the legend of these children’s books. It’s always nice to hear kids get back home and tell us how they now know about “Green Eggs and Ham.” We have all grown up hearing these stories and catchy rhymes. Now we don’t have to worry about what we are going to talk about with our children or grandchildren.

Dr. Seuss has been such an icon for so many years. His books bring together so many families and generations. When we were children, we loved the funny characters in these stories and how much fun they had in their adventures. Dr. Seuss taught us that there is so much more to do on a rainy day than just looking out the window. That silly cat had so many tricks up his sleeve (or should I say his hat?).

These stories help with more than just letting your imagination loose. They teach us valuable lessons. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” really shows us that this holiday is not about material possessions but about being surrounded by the people you love the most.

“The Lorax” has a character that only thinks about himself and his success but doesn’t think about how his actions could affect the environment. This teaches us to think of the long-term effects of our actions.

Now when we spend time with our children or grandchildren, we can read them a Dr. Seuss book. Enjoy watching them take in all of the colors, characters, and rhymes. We can teach them the meaning of each story and share the stories we grew up with. We don’t have to struggle to find something we both like. Instead, we can really enjoy our time together. And why not get a couple of laughs in as well?   

 

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.

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