Understand Heart Disease

Understand Heart Disease

It’s American Heart Month, and in honor of it, we want to help you better understand heart disease. Heart disease includes many problems caused by a substance called plaque building up in the arteries of your heart. This makes your arteries narrow, which makes it harder for blood to get through. Clogged Arteries   A heart attack is when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked by a blood clot in your arteries. If it cuts off blood flow completely, that part of the heart starts to die. How Heart Attacks Happen   The most common type of stroke is also caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain, which can cause brain damage. The longer those cells go without blood, the more damage it causes. Blood Clots and Stroke   Heart failure is when the heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should be, so the cells in your body aren’t getting enough oxygen. The longer heart failure is untreated, the worse it gets. What's Heart Failure?   Heart arrhythmia is when your heart beat’s rhythm is off. It can be too fast, too slow, or just irregular. Learn more about arrhythmia. Understand Heart Arrhythmia   Heart valve disease is when your heart valves aren’t working correctly, like not opening enough, not closing properly, or bulging into a different part of the heart. Learn more about heart valve disease. Heart Valve Disease   Your yearly visits with your doctor should help identify risk factors or signs of heart disease. These screenings can help them find issues or recommend preventive steps.
Understand Cancer

Understand Cancer

In honor of World Cancer Day, we shared information to help you better understand cancer all week.

Cancer causes 22% of deaths in the U.S., second only to heart disease, and you have an over 30% chance of being diagnosed with cancer in your lifetime.

Your Risk of Cancer

 

Cancer can start almost anywhere in your body and is when your cells fail to grow properly. When abnormal or damaged cells survive and continue to grow, they can become tumors.

How Cancer Cells Grow

 

Malignant tumors are masses of abnormal tissue that can spread into other healthy tissues around it. As they grow, they can also break apart and travel through your body, spreading the cancer further.

How Cancer Spreads

 

Cancer is genetic, so you can inherit genetic changes that cause cancer. They also can be a result of damage to DNA from being exposed to environmental issues, like tobacco or ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Genetic Risks for Cancer

 

There are over 100 types of cancer, and they’re usually named for the tissue they’re in or by the type of cell that they’re made of. Breast, colorectal, and lung cancers are currently the most common.

Early treatment can reduce your risk of death from cancer, and screenings, like exams, lab tests, imaging procedures, and genetic tests, can help you catch it before you display symptoms.

Screenings to Catch Cancer Early

 

Common cancer treatments include surgery to remove tumors, radiation and chemotherapy to kill cancerous cells, and immunotherapy that helps your immune system fight back. Learn more about other types of treatment.

How Cancer Is Treated

National Hot Breakfast Month

National Hot Breakfast Month

It’s National Hot Breakfast Month, and a hot breakfast can be the perfect way to start the day, especially for your kids.

First up is beautiful Toasted Oatmeal with Strawberry Chia Jam and Coconut Whipped Cream that only looks like a dessert.

Toasted Oatmeal with Strawberry Chia Jam and Coconut Whipped Cream
Image and Recipe via Cookie and Kate

 

Start your day with these light Morning Breakfast Pockets.

Morning Hot Pockets
Image and Recipe via Keto Diet

 

Hot breakfast is still possible on the go with these Easy Microwave Scrambled Egg Cups.

Easy Microwave Scrambled Egg Cup Recipes

 

Whip up this Low-Calorie Breakfast Sandwich for a light and satisfying hot breakfast first thing.

Low-Calorie Breakfast Sandwich
Image and Recipe via Food Nasty

 

Use up your leftover rice with these Rice Bowls with Fried Egg and Avocado for an easy hot breakfast.

Rice Bowls with Fried Egg and Avocado
Image and Recipe via Bon Appetit

 

Impress the family with a pot of this gorgeous Quinoa and Chia Porridge with Stone Fruits.

Quinoa and chia porridge with stone fruits

 

These 5-Ingredient Pumpkin Protein Pancakes are perfect for weekend brunch at home.

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Goal Progress

Vantage Point: Progress is Progress

It’s been a month since you put your best intentions forward and made your New Year’s resolutions. You’re now a month into those goals and making them work (or not) for you. So here might be the welcomed or dreaded question (depending on how you’ve kept to your goals): How are you doing? Have you totally fallen off the wagon, or are you still moving forward? If you’ve kept up your New Year’s goals, awesome! Keep moving forward and making your way to a better and brighter 2019. You are an inspiration! We celebrate your determination and your discipline to make things happen. Shine your light by sharing your tips with others around you. But what happens if January has come and gone, and you’ve fallen off the proverbial goal horse? Are you like me, where a cheat meal turns into a cheat day, then a cheat week, then a cheat month, and then to totally giving up your New Year’s resolutions, like I have in years past? To those out there struggling like myself, I say a mighty and loud, YOU CAN DO THIS! Get up, dust yourself off, climb back on the goal horse, and ride away into the victorious sunset. Braveheart speeches aside, how does one get back on track for their goals? Well, I can only tell you how I’ve managed to get back on mine, and that is with this thought: Progress is progress, no matter how small. I try not to look at my mess-ups, but to a new day where I make progress, no matter how small. I take it one day at a time, and I try to think about my choices before I make them. Is eating this or that going to help me make progress or hinder my progress? If it hinders my progress, I’ve really got to think about if it’s worth it. To some, a cheat treat is worth it, but only if it helps push you forward and past that craving rather than drag you down into the cheat meal spiral, which I’m famously known for. Cheat treats can also be altered to make them less of a hindrance. For instance, over the holidays, I made macadamia nut brittle rather than regular peanut brittle. It had less of the bad stuff, and I still got my brittle craving taken care of. Score! Sticking with my goals has led to finally hitting my 40-pound weight loss goal, but I’ve also fallen off for months at a time. During our Annual Enrollment Period in 2018, I totally fell off the goal horse, and I put back on 15 pounds, but a New Year’s refocus has put me back to my goal. Yes, I’ve floundered here and there, but I stay focused on the small decisions I make and decide if they would push me toward progress or in the other direction. Maybe it would help for you to keep a journal of the things that push you away from progress. Take that list, and master it, one thing at a time. Pretty soon, what’s pushing you toward progress will grow, and the list of those things pushing you away from progress will grow smaller and eventually be pretty much nonexistent. I know if I can do it, you can, too! Just remember, progress is progress, no matter how small. Let’s refocus and do this!   Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.
Winter Senior Games

Long View: Sack Those Winter Blues, Get Active at Winter Senior Games

When I was in high school, I had a crush on the hunky, curly-haired quarterback for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Chuck Long. Sigh, just saying his name takes me back to those days.

In my youth, sports of any kind ruled my world. Volleyball, softball, track and field, and basketball, I took a shot at all of them. I even earned a varsity letter for basketball in high school. I often say that the first thing God is going to let me do when I get to heaven is shoot the gap, slam through on the blind side, and sack the quarterback. But that quarterback will be someone I don’t like, like Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers, not Chuck.

Well, as it tends to happen, I grew up. I decided to become a Cyclone instead of a Hawkeye, got married, and raised a family. I stopped having crushes on college quarterbacks and started dreaming about minivans that could corner on a dime and the day my sons would stop taking swings at each other and just get in the car. Oh, and I went to work for Health Alliance, a company based in Champaign, IL, and full of Fighting Illini. Go figure. But I’ve always hung on to that love of sport. The body doesn’t always cooperate, but the heart is still alive and willing to give it a try.

February is a great month for all lovers of sport because Health Alliance is sponsoring the Winter Iowa Senior Games in the Quad Cities, and you are invited whether you’re an Illini, Hawkeye, Cyclone, or something else. You don’t need to be an Iowa resident to compete. In fact, competitors come from all over the United States. The only requirement is that you must be over 50 years old.

Still worried about the heart being more willing than the body? Don’t, everyone else is in the same boat because you compete with your own age group. Age groupings start at 50 and go up to over 90 years old. The playing field is even!

Registration is being taken for bowling, pickleball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and all track and field events. Events will take place throughout the Quad Cities, but most will happen at Augustana’s PepsiCo Arena in Rock Island. Yes, that is an indoor track.

Here is the best part. Chuck Long runs the Iowa Sports Foundation, the sponsoring agency of the Iowa Senior Games! Sometimes he even comes out to run the 800 meters in his age group. Making one’s heart go pitter-patter is an aerobic exercise, don’t you know? Come out and have some fun and shake off those winter blues.

The Winter Iowa Senior Games will be held February 22 to 24 in the Quad Cities. Register for events at IowaSeniorGames.org or by calling 1-888-777-8881.

Reading this article too late for the Winter Games? The Eastern Iowa Senior Challenge happens in April in Cedar Rapids, and the Iowa Senior Games is later this summer in West Des Moines. Check their website for all available events and dates.

 

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Writing a Letter to Yourself

Covered Bridge: What I Know Now

I have this idea, an idea that once changed how I handle and approach things that has stuck with me to this day. The advice, you ask?  

“I cannot say anything to make you feel any better in this season of life you are in, but I promise you time heals all things.”

While this advice seems so simple and is maybe even heard frequently, when you are 17, it is anything but.

This advice came from my great-aunt. She wrote to me (you know, actually on paper, with a pen, mailed with a stamp she purchased via USPS, and not in a text or email?) A meaningful letter that she took her precious time to send to me personally because I meant something to her. She has since passed, and I still regret not emphasizing just how much it really meant to me even after all these years.

While I know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea and is a little outside my own box, this idea might help change the way my daughters, niece, nephews, or grandkids view or handle a certain situation one day (should I be so lucky).

I was 17 and lost two friends in a vehicle accident, and that letter where she told me about a tragic loss she had is what gave me hope I would eventually make it through.

So here is the idea. Have you ever considered writing a letter to your younger self?  Your title: What I Know Now.

What if this letter could help someone through a tough time? What if this letter is something you leave behind to someone you love or is able to help in their time of need?

This will require you to remember your past while considering the present, written in an encouraging voice with compassion and understanding during a certain stage of your life so that another person can understand the message or theme.

Think about a scenario from when you were a particular age and how you would change that. What advice would you give to your younger self to do things differently? We all have a unique story to tell because we are all unique in our own ways.

Someone somewhere wants to hear all about it.

 

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month

It’s National Mentoring Month, and mentoring changes lives.

 

It’s easy to become a mentor in your community!

Become a Mentor!

 

Mentoring in your workplace is also a great way to encourage and foster young talent.

Fostering Talent in the Workplace

 

Learn more about advocating for mentoring in your community.

Advocate for Mentoring

 

Mentoring can both shape mentees and impact the community.

Impact Your Community with Mentoring

 

Mentoring is also a great way for mentors to grow and learn more about others.

Foster Personal Growth through Mentoring

 

While a majority of Americans think mentoring is important, most aren’t involved in actually making it happen. Donate or become a mentor now.

Donate to Mentoring

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