First and foremost, suicide does not discriminate. Not only does it claim more than 40,000 lives every year in the US, but those rates continue to rise.
People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide. But people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:
It’s important to note that people who attempt suicide differ from others in how they think, react to events, and make decisions.For example, there are differences in aspects of memory, attention, planning, and emotion; and often occur alongside disorders like depression, substance use, anxiety, and psychosis. Sometimes suicidal behavior is triggered by events such as personal loss or violence. In order to be able to detect those at risk and prevent suicide, it is crucial that we understand the role of both long-term factors—such as experiences in childhood—and more immediate factors like mental health and recent life events. Researchers are also looking at how genes can either increase risk or make someone more resilient to loss and hardships.
Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. Suicide is not a normal response to stress. It is, however, a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention.
Men are more likely to die by suicide than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide. Men are more likely to use deadlier methods, such as firearms or suffocation. Women are more likely than men to attempt suicide by poisoning.
Teens and young adults are at risk for suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 34.
Older adults are at risk for suicide, too. While older adults were the demographic group with the highest suicide rates for decades, suicide rates for middle-aged adults has increased to comparable levels (ages 24–62). Among those age 65+, white males comprise over 80% of all late-life suicides.
Among ethnicities, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) tend to have the highest rate of suicides, followed by non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders each have suicide rates that are about half their White and AI/AN counterparts.
One of the keys to suicide prevention is researching risk factors so programs can be developed to help people. Programs that work take into account people’s risk factors and promote interventions that are appropriate to specific groups of people. For example, research has shown that mental and substance abuse disorders are risk factors for suicide. Therefore, many programs focus on treating these disorders in addition to specifically addressing suicide risk.
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” can effectively reduce suicide risk. One type is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help people learn new ways of dealing with stressful experiences by training them to consider alternative actions when thoughts of suicide arise.
Another type of psychotherapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has been shown to reduce the rate of suicide among people with borderline personality disorder, a serious mental illness characterized by unstable moods, relationships, self- image, and behavior. A therapist trained in DBT helps a person recognize when his or her feelings or actions are disruptive or unhealthy, and teaches the skills needed to deal better with upsetting situations.
Medications may also help; promising medications and psychosocial treatments for suicidal people are being tested.
Still other research has found that many older adults and women who die by suicide saw their primary care providers in the year before death. Training doctors to recognize signs that a person may be considering suicide may help prevent even more suicides.
The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide:
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. One resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline , 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.
If you know someone who is considering suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get your loved one to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Remove any access he or she may have to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including medications.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health
Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health
The FDA has recently approved more than a dozen new medications for conditions ranging from sickle cell anemia to Parkinson’s disease.
Actemra (tocilizumab) injection from Genentech was approved in September for the treatment of CAR T cell-induced severe or life-threatening cytokine release syndrome. Actemra is specifically indicated for adults and pediatric patients 2 years of age and older with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell-induced severe or life-threatening cytokine release syndrome.
Side effects may include:
Bayer introduces Aliqopa (copanlisib) for the treatment of follicular lymphoma. Aliqopa was approved in September and is specifically indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma (FL) who have received at least two prior systemic therapies.
Side effects may include:
Benznidazole from the Chemo Group was approved in August for the treatment of Chagas disease. Benznidazole is specifically indicated for use in pediatric patients 2 to 12 years of age for the treatment of Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. According to the CDC, Chagas disease is considered one of the neglected parasitic infections (NPI), a group of five parasitic diseases that have been targeted by CDC for public health action in the United States. Some side effects include:
For the treatment of adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia Pfizer introduced Besponsa (inotuzumab ozogamicin) and it was approved in August.
Besponsa is specifically indicated for the treatment of adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Some side effects include:
Duzallo (lesinurad and allopurinol) from Ardea Biosciences was approved in August for the treatment of hyperuricemia associated with gout. Duzallo is specifically indicated for the treatment of hyperuricemia associated with gout in patients who have not achieved target serum uric acid levels with a medically appropriate daily dose of allopurinol alone. Side effects may include:
Another treatment for sickle cell disease has been approved. Endari (L-glutamine oral powder) from Emmaus Life Sciences was approved in July 2017 to reduce the severe complications of sickle cell disease (SCD) in adult and pediatric patients age 5 and older. Side effects may include:
For patients with Parkinson’s disease dyskinesia, Gocovri (amantadine) from Adamas Pharmaceuticals was approved in August. Gocovri is specifically indicated for the treatment of dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease receiving levodopa-based therapy, with or without concomitant dopaminergic medications. Adverse effects may include, but are not limited to:
IDHIFA (enasidenib) from Celgene was approved in August for the treatment of relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia with IDH2 mutation. IDHIFA is specifically indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with an isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 (IDH2) mutation as detected by an FDA-approved test. Side effects may include:
KedRab [Rabies Immune Globulin (Human)] from Kedrion Biopharma was recently approved for the post-exposure prophylaxis of rabies infection. KedRab is specifically indicated for passive, transient post-exposure prophylaxis of rabies infection, when given immediately after contact with a rabid or possibly rabid animal. Side effects may include:
Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) from Novartis was approved in August for the treatment of refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Kymriah is specifically indicated for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse. Some side effects include:
Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) by AbbVie was approved for the treatment of adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 infection without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis (Child-Pugh A). Mavyret is also indicated for the treatment of adult patients with HCV genotype 1 infection, who previously have been treated with a regimen containing an HCV NS5A inhibitor or an NS3/4A protease inhibitor (PI), but not both. Side effects include:
Solosec (secnidazole) by Symbiomix Therapeutics was recently approved for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in adult women. Side effects may include:
For adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy, Tremfya (guselkumab) from Janssen Biotech has recently been approved. Side effects could include:
Vabomere (meropenem and vaborbactam) from The Medicines Company has been approved for the treatment of adults with complicated urinary tract infections, including pyelonephritis caused by designated susceptible bacteria. Side effect may include:
Verzenio (abemaciclib) from Eli Lilly was recently approved for the treatment of HR+, HER2- breast cancer. Verzenio is specifically indicated for use:
Side effects may include:
For adult patients with newly-diagnosed therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or AML with myelodysplasia-related changes, Vyxeos (daunorubicin and cytarabine) from Jazz Pharma has been approved. Side effects may include, but are not limited to:
Many of you are aware that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an important time for all of us to be reminded of the importance of early detection. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women (after skin cancer). About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
Talk to your doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.
Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
Certain screening tests may be suggested only for people who have a high risk for certain cancers. Anything that increases the chance of cancer is called a cancer risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer.
Some screening tests are used only for people who have known risk factors for certain types of cancer. People known to have a higher risk of cancer than others include those who:
People who have a high risk of cancer may need to be screened more often or at an earlier age than other people. Breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. This is why regular breast cancer screening is so important.
What is a mammogram and what can I expect when I get one?
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and allows your doctor see changes that can’t be felt during a breast exam. Mammograms use a very low level of x-rays, which are a type of radiation, but they are very safe.
If you have had any changes or problems with your breasts, talk to the technologist doing the mammogram. Also describe any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk—such as surgery, hormone use, breast cancer in your family, or if you’ve had breast cancer before. Also,be sure to let the tech know if you’re breastfeeding or if you think you might be pregnant.
When you get mammograms, the nurse will place your breasts, one at a time, between two plastic plates and take pictures of them. Mammograms can be uncomfortable for some women, but they don’t hurt. The technologist will usually take at least two views of your breast and in some cases, may take three or four images to get a better view. Though the X-ray itself only takes a few seconds, the whole process takes about 20 minutes.
How to prepare for your mammogram:
Don’t be afraid of mammograms! Remember that only 2 to 4 screening mammograms in 1,000 lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Different tests can be used to look for and diagnose breast cancer. If your doctor finds an area of concern on a mammogram, or if you have symptoms that could mean breast cancer, you will need more tests to know for sure if it’s cancer or not.
Call your doctor and schedule your mammogram appointment today.
Sources: National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society
Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young. If your teen continues to use drugs despite harmful consequences, he or she may be addicted.
If an adolescent starts behaving differently for no apparent reason—such as acting withdrawn, frequently tired or depressed, or hostile—it could be a sign he or she is developing a drug-related problem. Parents and others may overlook such signs, believing them to be a normal part of puberty. Other signs that your teen may have a drug problem include:
Through scientific advances, we know more than ever before about how drugs work in the brain. We also know that addiction can be successfully treated to help young people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives. Intervening early when you first spot signs of drug use in your teen is critical; don’t wait for your teen to become addicted before you seek help. However, if a teen is addicted, treatment is the next step.
Repeated drug use changes the brain. Brain imaging studies of people with drug addictions show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision-making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Quitting is difficult, even for those who feel ready.
Asking for help from professionals is the first important step
You can start by bringing your child to a doctor who can screen for signs of drug use and other related health conditions. You might want to ask in advance if he or she is comfortable screening for drug use with standard assessment tools and making a referral to an appropriate treatment provider. If not, ask for a referral to another provider skilled in these issues.
You can also contact an addiction specialist directly. There are 3,500 board-certified physicians who specialize in addiction in the United States. The American Society of Addiction Medicine website has a Find a Physician feature on its home page, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder on its website. You and the physician can decide if your teen or young adult should be referred to treatment.
It takes a lot of courage to seek help for a child with a possible drug problem because there is a lot of hard work ahead for both of you, and it interrupts academic, personal, and possibly athletic milestones expected during the teen years. However, treatment works, and teens can recover from addiction, although it may take time and patience. Treatment enables young people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on their brain and behavior so they can regain control of their lives. You want to be sure your teen is healthy before venturing into the world with more independence, and where drugs are more easily available.
What to expect from a doctor visit
The doctor will ask your child a series of questions about use of alcohol and drugs, and associated risk behaviors (such as driving under the influence or riding with other drivers who have been using drugs or alcohol). The doctor might also give a urine and/or blood test to identify drugs that are being abused. This assessment will help determine the extent of a teen’s drug use (if any) and whether a referral to a treatment program is necessary.
There are medications available to treat addictions to alcohol, nicotine, and opioids (heroin and pain relievers). These are generally prescribed for adults but, in some circumstances, doctors may prescribe them for younger patients. When medication is available, it can be combined with behavioral therapy to ensure success for most patients. In addition, non-addictive medication is sometimes prescribed to help with withdrawal. Other medications are available to treat possible mental health conditions (such as depression) that might be contributing to your child’s addiction.
Your treatment provider will advise you about what medications are available for your particular situation. Some treatment centers follow the philosophy that they should not treat a drug addiction with other drugs, but research shows that medication can help in many cases.
You child’s treatment provider will probably recommend counseling. Behavioral treatment (also known as “talk therapy”) can help patients engage in the treatment process, change their attitudes and behaviors related to substance abuse, and increase healthy life skills. These treatments can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people stay in treatment longer.
Treatment for substance abuse and addiction can be delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral approaches. With adults, both individual therapy and group counseling settings with peers are used. However, studies suggest group therapy can be risky with a younger age group, as some participants in a group may have negative influence over the others, or even steer conversation toward stories about having fun with drugs. Some research suggests that the most effective treatments for teens are those that involve one or more family members present.
Whatever you do, do not ignore the warning signs of addiction. Getting your child help early-on can increase their chances of leading a productive life as an adult.
Source: National Institute of Health
It’s the time of year when many people debate whether or not they should get a flu shot. If you are unsure if the flu shot is right for you, this information my help you decide.
Unlike a typical cold, the flu tends to come on suddenly, and the symptoms are much worse than just a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. And although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home and often don’t need to see a doctor.
However, If you have flu symptoms and are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away. Taking antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours after you first notice symptoms may reduce the length of your illness and help prevent more-serious problems.
What causes the flu?
The flu is contagious—that means it spreads from person to person, often through the air. You can spread the infection before you feel sick and you are contagious for several days after you get sick. Children and people with weakened immune systems may be contagious for a slightly longer time. You can catch the flu when someone near you coughs or sneezes. Or, if you touch something the virus is on, like a phone, keyboard, or doorknob, and then touch your nose or mouth, you could catch the flu. The flu virus can live on a surface like a book or doorknob for a number of hours. Remember to wash your hands often when you are around someone who is sick. Make a point of washing them before eating or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you can, stay away from sick people. That will help stop the flu from spreading.
Influenza viruses are constantly changing, with new strains appearing regularly. If you’ve had influenza in the past, your body has already made antibodies to fight that particular strain of the virus. If future influenza viruses are similar to those you’ve encountered before, either by having the disease or by vaccination, those antibodies may prevent infection or lessen its severity.
But antibodies against flu viruses you’ve encountered in the past can’t protect you from new influenza subtypes that can be very different immunologically from what you had before.
What makes someone more at risk for the flu?
Factors that may increase your risk of developing influenza or its complications include:
If you’re young and healthy, seasonal influenza usually isn’t serious. Although you may feel miserable while you have it, the flu usually goes away in a week or two with no lasting effects. But high-risk children and adults may develop complications such as:
Pneumonia is the most serious complication. For older adults and people with a chronic illness, pneumonia can be deadly.
Getting a flu vaccine shot every year can help you stay healthy and keep you from getting the flu. Medicare will pay for the shot, and so will many private health insurance plans. You can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office or one of our pharmacies. A flu shot won’t keep everyone healthy. But, getting the flu shot every year can mean that if you do get the flu, you might have only a mild case.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people age 50 and older should get a flu shot every year. Anyone who lives with or takes care of people age 50 and older should also have a flu shot every year.
It takes at least 2 weeks for your shot to start working, so try to get your flu shot as early as September or October through early November for the best chance at prevention. Most people have no problem with a flu shot. In fact, for most people, the flu is far more dangerous than the flu shot.
When you get the flu shot, your arm might be sore, red, or a bit swollen. These side effects may start shortly after getting the shot and can last up to 2 days. They should not get in the way of your daily activities. A few people do have a headache or a low-grade fever for about a day after they get the shot. The flu shot cannot cause you to get the flu.
If you are allergic to eggs, you should not get the flu shot. Because eggs are used to make the flu vaccine, people who are allergic to eggs could have a serious reaction to the shot.
Stop by our stores in Rocky Point and Hampstead during our normal business hours Monday – Saturday to get your flu shot. No appointment is necessary. Rather than risk it, get your flu shot today!
Sometimes it’s a battle, right? Feeding your kids food that they will eat, but that’s also healthy and nutrient rich. Teaching good eating habits is important to instill in the early years so that kids will grow into healthy teens and adults.
According to a study from Iowa State University, almost one in two children in the U.S. is either overweight or obese. That is about half of the kids in America! Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help your kids develop healthy eating habits:
When packing lunches for young kids, think contrast and variety. Using lots of colors, textures and shapes makes lunches more tempting for little ones.
How do you know if your elementary school aged child is getting proper nutrition? Should she be taking a multivitamin?
Multivitamins aren’t necessary for most healthy children who are growing normally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Regular meals and snacks can provide all the nutrients most young children need.
While many children are picky eaters, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have nutritional deficiencies. Many foods, including breakfast cereal, milk, and orange juice, are fortified with important nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and iron. So your child may be getting more vitamins and minerals than you think.
Furthermore, multivitamins aren’t without some risks. Megadoses of vitamins and minerals can be toxic. In addition, some vitamins and minerals can interact with medications your child may take.
Talk with your child’s doctor if you’re concerned about whether your child is getting the recommended level of vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin might be helpful for your child if he or she:
If your child’s doctor recommends a multivitamin, choose one that is designed for your child’s age group and doesn’t provide more than 100 percent of the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals. Keep multivitamins out of your child’s reach and make it clear that they aren’t candy.
Sources: Iowa State University; University of California, Davis; American Academy of Pediatrics; Mayo Clinic
Are you a new mother who is breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding infants because it provides babies with ideal amounts of necessary nutrients and immune factors. Though breastfeeding is great for babies, it does it not provide infants with an adequate intake of vitamin D or B12, and it also increases a mother’s need for vitamin B12.
Breastfed infants are able to get additional vitamin D through routine sunlight exposure (just like children and adults). However, a major public health effort is underway to decrease the risk of skin cancer by encouraging people to limit their sunlight exposure. Plus, there are reports of cases of vitamin D deficiency causing softening and weakness in the bones (also called rickets) among breastfed infants in the United States. Though rare, the Vitamin D deficiency rickets among breastfed infants can occur if the baby does not receive additional vitamin D from a vitamin supplement or from adequate exposure to sunlight.
A number of factors decrease the amount of vitamin D a person will synthesize from sunlight. These factors include:
To ensure proper intake, a supplement of 400 IU per day of vitamin D is recommended for all breastfed infants. Adequate amounts of vitamin D can be easily provided by currently available liquid vitamin products—giving a boost to the levels found naturally in breast milk. For babies who are not being breastfed, the good news is that infant formula is required to have 400IU of vitamin D added to every liter.
Not only is vitamin D important for newborns, it’s also important for children and adolescents. Taking a multivitamin product containing 400 IU of vitamin D per mL or taking 400 IU/mL vitamin D alone without other vitamins will help them get their recommended daily allowance.
Recent research highlights the importance of Vitamin D for everyone. Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. While infants and small children are the focus of the clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, lactating mothers should also consider taking supplemental Vitamin D. It is unlikely for a person to obtain adequate vitamin D from natural dietary sources alone. Food sources for Vitamin D include:
Breastfeeding women have a higher need for vitamin B12, compared to most other adults (including pregnant women). Mild vitamin B12 deficiencies are common since the developing fetus used up much of the mother’s stores of the vitamin during pregnancy. Mild vitamin B12 deficiencies are probably not a cause for much concern. However, a severe deficiency in a breastfeeding woman can lead to a severe deficiency in her infant/child.
Some women are at higher risk for vitamin B12 deficiencies than others. Women who are strict vegetarians or vegans, and women who have undergone bariatric weight loss surgery are at particular risk.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in foods of animal origin. It can also be round in plant-based foods that have been fortified. The best dietary sources of Vitamin B12 are:
While many women have no difficulty getting plenty of vitamin B12 through a healthy diet, it is probably a good idea for most breastfeeding women to take a multivitamin containing B12. The recommended dietary intake (RDA) based on the dietary reference intake (DRI) for vitamin B12 in breastfeeding women is 2.8 mcg per day compared to 2.6 mcg per day for pregnant women and 2.4 for most other adults. The requirements for vitamin B12 are based on the amount needed to maintain good blood count values. While the RDA is good for preventing deficiencies in most women, much higher doses are required to treat a deficiency. While many women have no difficulty getting plenty of vitamin B12 through a healthy and well- balanced diet, it is probably a good idea for most women to take supplemental vitamin B12 in the form of a prenatal vitamin. Such supplementation is safe, and the consequences of a deficiency can be quite severe.
In children and adults Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to hematological, neurological and gastrointestinal conditions.
Vitamin B12 deficiency in an infant can cause:
You should talk with your healthcare provider about vitamin D and B12 and breastfeeding. Each mother-baby situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation and that of your infant, the two of you can make a shared decision about vitamin supplements and breastfeeding that is right for you.
Skipping, modifying or ignoring your medication can be bad for your health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed by their doctor. Are you taking your medications as prescribed?
Medication adherence, or taking medications correctly, is generally defined as the extent to which patients take medication as prescribed by their doctors. This involves factors such as getting prescriptions filled, remembering to take medication on time, and understanding the directions.
Common barriers to medication adherence include:
Poor adherence can interfere with the ability to treat many diseases, leading to greater complications from the illness and a lower quality of life for patients. Here are some examples of areas in which medication adherence can pose challenges, along with tips for taking medications correctly and talking with your doctor or pharmacist about your questions and concerns.
Taking your medication as prescribed can possibly:
So, it’s important to follow the directions that are on your prescription bottle. For example:
Our pharmacists can help you stay on track with your prescriptions be offering these services:
If you have any questions about our medication, please ask a pharmacist. And be sure your doctor and pharmacist know all the medications you are taking. It could save your life!
The older you get the greater your risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bones are brittle, weak and more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. There are no signs or symptoms of osteoporosis. You might not know you have the disease until you break a bone. That’s why it’s so important to get a bone density test to measure your bone strength.
A bone mineral density (BMD) test is like an x-ray or scan of your body. A bone density test estimates the true mass of the bone. It doesn’t hurt, and you don’t need to do anything to prepare for it. It only takes about 15 minutes. By measuring BMD, it is possible to predict fracture risk. A BMD test is recommended for all women between the ages of 50 and 65 with risk factors such as family history, bone structure and body weight, and ethnicity, to name a few. The test is recommended for all women over the age of 65. Men and women who take certain medications or have certain diseases should talk to their doctor about having a bone density test, too. Men over 65 who have concerns about osteoporosis, should talk to their doctor about a bone density test.
These things can also increase your risk for osteoporosis:
If you have osteoporosis, you can still slow down bone loss. Finding and treating this disease early can keep you healthier and more active, lowering your chances of breaking a bone.
Get enough calcium.
Calcium helps keep your bones strong. Good sources of calcium include:
Get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Your body makes vitamin D when you are out in the sun. You can also get vitamin D from:
Physical activity can help slow down bone loss. Weight-bearing activities (like running or doing jumping jacks) help keep your bones strong.
You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership to stay active. Check with your local community center or senior center to find fun, low-cost, or free exercise options.
If you have a health condition or a disability, be as active as you can be. Your doctor can help you choose activities that are right for you.
Stay away from cigarettes and alcohol.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol can weaken your bones. Find ways to stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. This means no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.
Take steps to prevent falls.
Falls can be especially serious for people with weak bones. You can make small changes to lower your risk of falling, like doing exercises that improve your balance. For example, try walking backwards or standing up from a sitting position without using your hands.
It’s never too late to get on the right track to being and staying healthy!
How long has it been since you’ve been to the doctor for a wellness checkup. Most of us (mostly men) only go see the doctor if there is something absolutely wrong and we can’t avoid it any longer. But the advantages of seeing the doctor for a checkup when you feel good may help you out in the long-run.
We’re all familiar with the normal questions your doctor will ask about our lifestyle: smoking and drinking habits, caffeine intake, exercise habits, diet, and sexual activity. He will also update your vaccine records and administer those that need updating. A review of your family medical history will also be conducted to see if there is any change in a family member’s health.
If you know we are living a healthy lifestyle, why see your doctor for preventative care?
It’s included in your health insurance. The premium you pay every month for health insurance includes one well check-up per year.
Blood pressure screening. High blood pressure is also known as the silent killer. Even seemingly healthy people can have high blood pressure. Less than 120 over 80 is a normal blood pressure. Doctors define high blood pressure (hypertension) as 140 over 90 or higher.
Heart and respiratory rate: Heart rate values between 60 and 100 are considered normal. Many healthy people have heart rates slower than 60, however. Doctors can also detect an irregular heartbeat, heart murmurs or other indicators of heart disease. An exam will also check your breathing. Twelve to 16 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy adult. But breathing more than 20 times per minute (while resting) can suggest heart or lung problems.
Cholesterol screening. A lipid panel, also known as a cholesterol test is recommended every four – six years, according to the American Heart Association. Your doctor might check more frequently if you have risk factors for heart disease. Abnormal cholesterol level increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes.
HIV screening. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Learn the risk factors for HIV.
Diabetes (Type 2) Screening. According to the American Diabetes Association, all patients should be screened for diabetes at three-year intervals beginning at age 45, especially people who are overweight or obese. If multiple risk factors are present, screening should be done at an earlier age and more frequently. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults with high blood pressure or high cholesterol be screened for type 2 diabetes (insulin-resistant diabetes) in an effort to reduce cardiovascular disease.
Obesity Screening. Part of your check up will include getting your height and weight to determine your body mass index (BMI). BMIs of 30 or above are termed obese. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight. Normal BMIs are 18.5 to 24.9.
Colorectal cancer. At age 50, it’s time to begin regular screening for colorectal cancer. If you have an immediate family member with colorectal cancer or other risk factors you may need to be screened before age 50.
For obvious physiological reasons women and men each have their own unique sets of recommended tests as part of their annual physicals.
For women, breast cancer mammography, cervical cancer screening, and the human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test are recommended.
For some women, age 40 marks the time to begin annual mammography screening for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start mammograms if they wish to do so. Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year, while women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening.
Screening for cervical cancer is recommended for women age 21 to 65 years with cytology (Pap smear) every 3 years or, for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval.
The most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer is infection with HPV. Doctors can now test for the HPV (high-risk or carcinogenic types) that are most likely to cause cervical cancer by looking for pieces of their DNA in cervical cells. The test can be done at the same time as the Pap test, with the same swab or a second swab. You won’t notice a difference in your exam if you have both tests.
For men, their annual exam may include testicular exam, a penis and prostate exam, and a hernia exam.
In a testicular exam, a doctor can check each testicle for lumps, tenderness or changes in size. Most men with testicular cancer notice a growth before seeing their doctor. A doctor will also check a man’s penis for evidence of sexually transmitted infections such as warts or ulcers. The prostate is also examined by feeling the prostate (via the rectum) for its size and any suspicious areas.
During a hernia exam, doctors check for weakness in the abdominal wall between the intestines and scrotum.
During routine exams for both men and women, your doctor can gather information from you based on your general appearance by watching and talking to you. They can assess how healthy your skin appears, how is your memory serving you, and if you can stand and walk easily.
Doctors will also look at your throat, and tonsils, check the quality of your teeth and gums, and your ears, nose, eyes, lymph nodes and thyroid for any unusual signs.
An abdominal exam can detect the size of your liver, presence of abdominal fluid, and listening to bowel sounds. This exam also checks the tenderness of your abdomen.
Reflexes and joint health are also assessed during any annual exam to check for abnormalities.
Want to avoid the doctor for being sick? Healthy behavior like regular exercise, healthy eating and not smoking are the best prescription for preventing illnesses.