Tag Archives: education

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 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

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

It’s National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, and you can learn more about drug and alcohol use and its effects, especially among teens, along with us this week or at an event near you.

What’s the breakdown of drug and alcohol use among teens? Learn more about protecting your teens.

Drug and Alcohol Use Among Teens

 

Comorbidity can affect both substance abuse and helping get those suffering from substance abuse the treatment they need.

Comorbidity and Substance Abuse

 

The health effects of synthetic cannabinoids, popular among teens, are unpredictable, and they can be harmful.

Health Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids

 

Driving under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

 

In the midst of the opioid crisis, drug overdose deaths are on the rise.

Overdose Deaths by Drug
Infographics via NIH

 

Get more facts about the effects of a variety of drugs, alcohol, addiction, and more from the NIH.

Understanding the Facts of Drugs

National Braille Literacy Month

National Braille Literacy Month

It’s National Braille Literacy Month, and despite growing technology, braille is still important. 70% of blind adults are unemployed, but of those who are employed, 90% can read braille.

Despite Tech, Braille Matters

 

There are over 60,000 blind children in the U.S., but only 10% of blind students are learning to read with braille.

Literacy for blind students depends upon braille, and it’s proven to help them gain independence and employment as adults.

Independence Through Braille

 

60% of blind students drop out of school, and not being able to read plays a huge part. Imagine not being able to reread a sentence as you’re learning new words or not being able to understand literature.

The Importance of Reading for Finishing School

 

Partially sighted children are the ones most likely to be left behind in both print and braille reading.

Partially Sighted Students Getting Left Behind

 

85% of blind students go to public schools, but many states don’t require them to teach braille, despite how it helps prepare students for the future.

Preparing Blind Students for the Future

 

Students who learn braille are more likely to finish high school, go to college, have better self-esteem, and get jobs as adults.

A Brighter Future with Braille

Tacking Seasonal Affective Disorder

Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is when you experience symptoms of depression as the seasons change. Most often, these feelings are tied to the fall and winter. But you can take charge to feel better during these months.

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Winter

 

Symptoms of winter-onset SAD include oversleeping, exhaustion, low energy, gaining weight, and appetite changes, like craving carbs and heavy foods.

Symptoms of Winter-Onset SAD

 

Symptoms of summer-onset SAD include trouble sleeping, agitation, anxiety, losing weight, and poor appetite.

Symptoms of Summer-Onset SAD

 

While doctors aren’t certain of the cause of seasonal affective disorder, some factors that contribute to it include how your biological clock, serotonin levels (which affect mood), and melatonin levels (which affect sleep patterns) are affected by reduced sunlight.

Factors Causing SAD

 

SAD is more common for those with depression, bipolar disorder, a family history of these conditions, and those living far from the equator with short days in the winter.

Risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

Seasonal affective disorder can cause people to withdraw from their social circles, affect their performance in school or work, increase the risk of substance abuse, worsen other mental health issues (like anxiety), and in extreme cases, lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Issues Caused by SAD

 

Treatment for this disorder can include light therapy, antidepressants, therapy, and relaxation techniques like tai chi, yoga, meditation, or art therapy. Talk to your doctor to find the right fit for you.

Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

New Year's Reset

Long View & Vantage Point: New Year’s Reset

Happy New Year, everyone! Here is hoping that 2019 is your best year yet. Now, I am sure my readers are thinking my next line will be something about what my New Year’s resolution is going to be. No, not this year.

I have a different take on 2019 that I would like to share. Resolutions make us obsess about outcomes. The outcomes are sometimes tied to successes, but they’re also sometimes tied to failure. So this year, I am substituting the term “New Year’s resolution” with “New Year’s reset!”

It seems like every year, many of us find a way to ring in the new year, like watching the ball drop on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” with the countdown “3-2-1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” Or maybe we skip staying up all together because this whole New Year’s Eve thing is overrated. Nevertheless, the next day, we close the book on last year, and just like that, we are on to a brand-new year and a brand-new start.

Starting that diet? Setting the goal for financial freedom? Both? These are the good old New Year’s resolutions, the imagined future, where we all vow to make a change. Our minds are set and ready to move on to a better us! “This is the year that you are going to do it,” we tell ourselves.

What I have learned over all the years is that my ready-set-go approach is good for maybe the first week or two (maybe the first month or two if I’m lucky). The adrenaline is high. I go out and buy all the organic fruits and veggies and local health food to fill the fridge. Then, I head out to the mall to find sweatpants and a matching headband, maybe even a new pair of shoes to walk and exercise away all those pounds (all on sale of course because I am trying to cut down on spending, too!). Now, it’s all set, and I can’t wait to start!

Next thing you know, good intentions are interrupted. In the mail, there’s an invitation to the wedding event of the year (with of course, lots of food and drinks to be served), and no doubt, I have to find the perfect dress and accessories to wear to the big gala. Or maybe it’s the annual Super Bowl party invite with more food and drinks (at least sweatpants are fine for this occasion). There go the resolutions, just like that! And here come the struggles and guilt with all kinds of mixed feelings! What about the diet and saving money? Why do I do this every year?

Why put yourself through that?

This year, wouldn’t it be easier if we lived in the moment and not the imagined future? If each day, we took a short, mindful pause? Stop and reset? What is going on around you right this minute? You might see the most wonderful sunset or maybe kids sledding down a hill. Maybe you hear the humming sound of the fan or just that peaceful serenade of silence.

You don’t have to worry about the entire year or even tomorrow, just be in the moment. Mindfulness is putting the attention on the present, and doing it purposefully. You aren’t imagining it, you are living it! Go out for a walk or take that spare change to the bank. Make it intentional! It’s that small space in time that you can slow down, replenish, and reset your mind and body.

In 2019, maybe we can all learn to hit the reset button and find how the power of taking just a few minutes of each day can lift your spirit, boost your mind, and achieve successes! Here’s to a wonderful start for 2019!

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 infant son.

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