About 1 out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect. These can be minor or severe, ranging from structural (e.g., cleft lip or spina bifida) to functional and developmental (e.g., Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis).
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are some ways to increase your chances of having a baby not affected by congenital conditions or disabilities. It comes down to being your healthiest self both before and during pregnancy.
Keep in mind that whatever’s best for you is best for the baby.
The CDC recommends that you see your health care provider regularly and start prenatal care as soon as you think you may be pregnant
The More You Know: Type 1 Diabetes
Formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes, 10 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes suffer from type 1. Its symptoms, and the resulting diagnoses, most often occur in childhood or early adolescence, but can strike adults as well.
When a person is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it means that their pancreas does not generate insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps move glucose from food into cells to generate energy. Without insulin, too much glucose, or sugar, stays in the blood. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to many serious complications, including:
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may include the following:
Although it is a lifelong condition that requires constant treatment and management, there is a lot that can be done in order to prevent further health complications:
Make a commitment to diabetes management.
See doctors often. Regular diabetes checkups do not replace yearly physicals or routine eye exams.
Keep immunizations current. High blood sugar can weaken the immune system.
Take care of your teeth. Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections.
Pay attention to your feet. High blood glucose from diabetes can cause nerve damage and low blood flow.
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage or kidney disease.
Drink responsibly. Alcohol can cause either high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and if you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink:
Take stress seriously. Stress makes it easy to abandon your usual diabetes management routine. The body’s hormones produced in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. To take control:
The More You Know: Type 2 Diabetes
Between 90% and 95% of those diagnosed with diabetes in the United States have Type 2 diabetes. Formerly called adult onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, the condition is increasing at an alarming rate due to the current obesity levels in the United States.
About the Condition
Type 2 diabetes causes the body to resist insulin, a hormone that controls the absorption of sugar. As a result, a normal glucose level cannot be maintained. People can develop Type 2 diabetes at any age, including during childhood years. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 is usually preventable with a balanced diet and exercise. Unfortunately, once present, Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Causes and Risk Factors
While it is not completely understood why some people develop Type 2 diabetes, research has shown the following factors significantly increase the risk of developing the disease.
If you’re concerned about diabetes, or if the following symptoms appear, book your appointment here at Trinity Health Center for a diabetes screening:
It is recommended that anyone 45 years of age or older consider getting tested for diabetes, as well as those under age 45 who are overweight. The following tests are used for diabetes diagnoses:
Those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes need to follow a stringent daily plan to ensure that blood glucose is kept in the proper range, such as:
Dangers and Complications
Left uncontrolled, there are several serious complications that can arise from type 2 diabetes, such as:
Take the following precautions to help avoid developing Type 2 diabetes:
Currently the third-leading cause of death in the United States, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has no cure and the damage it causes is irreversible. Fortunately, a majority of COPD cases can be avoided through simple lifestyle changes.
COPD is a lung disease in which the airways are partially obstructed, making it difficult to get air in and out. Over time it will make breathing increasingly difficult. COPD develops slowly, and it may take many years before symptoms are noticed. It is usually diagnosed in those middle-aged or older. COPD is not contagious; however, there are several risk factors that greatly increase your chance of developing it.
Common symptoms associated with COPD include a phlegm-producing cough that won’t go away, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and frequent throat clearing.
Not smoking is the most effective way to prevent the development of COPD, and the best way to slow or stop its progression. It is also important to stay away from secondhand smoke. Reduce your exposures to other lung irritants such as pollution, dust, and certain cooking or heating fumes. Try to stay inside when the outside air quality is poor.
COPD’s effect on your lungs cannot be reversed, but there are things you can do to feel better and slow future damage. Medicine and pulmonary rehabilitation are often used to help relieve symptoms, allowing patients to breathe easier and stay active.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
More people die from lung cancer than from any other type of cancer. While many people think that smokers are the only ones at risk, lung cancer affects smokers and nonsmokers alike. Exposure to asbestos and radiation, as well as smoking tobacco products or exposure to second-hand smoke, contribute to the disease.
Causes and Risk Factors
Smoking is the leading risk factor for developing lung cancer, and is accountable for almost 90% of all lung cancer cases. A smoker’s risk for getting lung cancer is 30 times greater than the risk of a nonsmoker. In addition to smoking, lung cancer can be caused by several factors, including exposure to:
Signs and Symptoms
Catching lung cancer early gives you the best chance of survival, and recognizing the symptoms is the first step. The most common symptom is a persistent cough that worsens over time. Other common symptoms associated with lung cancer include:
Researchers continue to study the causes of lung cancer and ways to prevent it. Smoking tobacco products remains the number-one cause of lung cancer, while not smoking remains the number-one preventative measure. Quitting smoking at any age can lower your chances of getting lung cancer.
Finding healthy snack options while you’re on the go can be tricky but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Navigate the convenience store shelves with ease by knowing what snacks to look for. Download our guide below!
Tips to Get A Better Night Sleep
Do you struggle to get a good night’s sleep? If so, you’re likely feeling fatigued throughout your day, which can cause serious problems for your health, your job and your life.
Symptoms of Fatigue
Fatigued individuals typically experience drowsiness, mood changes, loss of energy and appetite, headaches, and a lack of motivation, concentration and alertness. Men and women often differ in their symptoms—men may become angry, while women more often feel sadness.
Fatigue in the Workplace
Going to work fatigued even occasionally impairs your ability to perform your job at the highest possible level. The above symptoms are obviously not conducive to productivity, and can also create a safety hazard depending on the job.
Studies show that fatigue can lead to other medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and diabetes. Similarly, many health conditions can cause the poor sleep that produces fatigue.
In addition, while many people suffer simply from trouble sleeping, others have more serious sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia.
There are certain ways you can improve your sleep, referred to as “sleep hygiene.”
There are some specific habits that will help you not only sleep better, but lead a healthier lifestyle in general:
Migranes: A Headache At Its Worst
Migraine headaches are episodic, recurrent, throbbing headaches that usually occur on one side of the head. Migraines last from several hours to several days, and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
Types of Migraine
Migraines are classified into two types: classic or common. Classic migraine, or migraine with aura, is a migraine that is preceded by visual disturbances such as flashing lights, jagged lines or distorted images. There can also be neurological symptoms including numbness or weakness on one side of the body, severe dizziness or difficulty speaking. These pre-headache symptoms are the aura, which is an indication of the impending headache.
Common migraine is simply a migraine that sets in without an aura. However, many common migraine sufferers do notice subtle indications that a migraine is coming several hours or days before it starts. These symptoms include feeling elated, energetic, thirsty, hungry for sweets or feeling drowsy, irritable or depressed.
The exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown. Experts believe that migraines are hereditary, and that 60% of adults with migraines and 90% of children with migraines report a family history of the condition.
Several theories exist about their cause. Migraine pain is believed to be primarily related to abnormal constriction and dilation of blood vessels surrounding the brain. The reasons for these changes in blood vessels are unclear. One theory blames changes in the trigeminal nerve system—a major pathway in the brain—and another suggests that imbalances in the brain chemical serotonin might be the culprit.
A number of factors can generate migraines. Keep in mind that these triggers do not cause the pain associated with a migraine attack, but rather activate a chemical imbalance that already exists. Such triggers include:
Before being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, most people develop “prediabetes,” a serious medical condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal.
People with prediabetes often have no signs or symptoms, or don’t recognize them because they develop slowly over a period of time.
If you are overweight and age 45 or older – You should be checked for prediabetes during your next routine medical office visit.
If your weight is normal and you are over age 45 – You should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate.
If you are under age 45 and overweight – Your doctor should recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes, including:
Screening and Diagnosis
Screening guidelines for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes are as follows:
Prevention and Treatment
If diagnosed with prediabetes, you can and should do something about it. Studies show that people with this condition can prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes, including:
"True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment." - William Penn
This #WorldSleepDay, Trinity Health Center is here to remind you how important sleep is for your health and wellness.
Sleep ensures your body is recharged and ready for the next day.
? It improves brain function, memory, and problem-solving skills.
? It also boosts immunity and lowers stress levels.
? More importantly, sleep prevents excess weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.