In an article recently published in November on MyModernMet.com, it stated that doctors in the United Kingdom are going to begin the practice of social prescribing. Instead of prescribing only medicines to aid in depression, they will also prescribe art and music lessons or even attending the theatre for some patients with depression and other mental and physical health issues. Studies have proven that self care measures such as having a good work-life balance, eating right, exercising, meditating, and writing in a journal are all great ways to combat feelings of anxiety and depression.
Self care is extremely important to do on a daily basis. It won’t only give you time for yourself every day, but it can also lessen your stress level before you start to feel overwhelmed.
But what about other ways to take care of yourself? You can know your family history, pick up a screening kit that can detect diseases before you even have symptoms, and you can vaccinate yourself from preventable diseases and illnesses such as measles and shingles.
Know your family history
Most of us know that we can reduce our risk of disease by eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and not smoking. But, did you know that your family history might be one of the strongest influences on your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer? Even though you cannot change your genetic makeup, knowing your family history can help you reduce your risk of developing health problems.
Family members share genes, as well as environment, lifestyles, and habits. But they also share risks for diseases such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Everyone’s family history of disease is different. The key features of a family history that may increase risk are:
- Diseases that occur at an earlier age than expected (10 to 20 years before most people get the disease)
- Disease in more than one close relative
- Disease that does not usually affect a certain gender (for example, breast cancer in a male)
- Certain combinations of diseases within a family (for example, breast and ovarian cancer, or heart disease and diabetes)
The good news is that today, there are screening tests available that can detect certain cancers and diabetes.
An estimated 40 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it, which means they aren’t getting treatment that could protect them from very serious health problems down the road, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure. The best option is to go to a doctor if you’re having symptoms of diabetes. But if you’re reluctant to do that, for whatever reason, the next best thing is to buy an over-the-counter diabetes test kit.
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Colorectal Cancer Screening
The good news about a colorectal cancer diagnosis is that it is up to 90% curable if caught early enough. That is why screening is so important. Colorectal cancer arises from benign growths in the colon known as polyps. The goal of screening is to detect and remove polyps before they have the opportunity to become cancerous. According to The Cancer Research Foundation of America as many as 30 to 40 percent of the population over 50 has pre-cancerous adenomatous polyps. Nearly all colorectal cancer develops from these growths in the colon and rectum. For a limited time, you can pick up a FREE colon cancer screening kit here at Village Pharmacy.
Even if a cancer is detected during screening, it is often small and early in stage making curable surgery and treatment more likely.
Common symptoms and warning signs of colorectal cancer include:
- Blood in the stool
- A change in bowel habits
- Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
- Stools narrower than usual
- General abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating fullness, and/or cramps)
- Weight loss with no known reason
- Constant tiredness
If any of these symptoms persist, if a self screening kit came back with concerning results, or you have a family history of colorectal cancer you should talk to your health care provider or a gastroenterologist.
Vaccines are an easy and affordable way to prevent certain diseases and illnesses.
All of our pharmacists are certified to administer vaccines. North Carolina law says immunizing pharmacists may administer any vaccine that the CDC recommends. We offer both pneumonia vaccines (Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23) and shingles vaccine (Shingrix) daily and flu shots seasonally. These vaccines may be given without a prescription. We administer flu vaccines to anyone age 14 and older. We also administer hepatitis B, meningococcal, tetanus, tetanus-diphtheria, and TDAP vaccines to patients at least 18 years of age with a prescription upon request.
Village Pharmacy offers the following vaccines:
- Zostavax (shingles vaccine)
- Pneumovax (pneumonia vaccine)
- Prevnar 13 (pneumonia vaccine)
- Influenza (flu vaccine)
- Td (tetanus and diphtheria vaccine)
- Engerix-B or Recombivax HB (hepatitis B vaccine)
- Vaqta (Hepatitis A vaccine)
- TMenactra (meningococcal vaccine)
Please stop by or call to ask about your vaccine needs. They are just one more way to help you take care of yourself and prevent serious illnesses before they start.