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Archive for October, 2014

Your Guide to Health Screenings

October 30, 2014

You take care of the filter in your furnace, getting the oil changed in your car, but do you pay enough attention to your most important machine – your body?

Regular checkups and screenings are keys to early detection and successful treatment of serious health conditions. However, remembering what to get checked for and when can be difficult. So we’ve put together a list of basic and essential health screenings that you should schedule with a healthcare provider, along with the basics on why you need them.

 

Health Screenings

Eye Exam: This is necessary for everyone about once every two years. The American Optometric Association recommends an eye exam once every 2-3 for ages 19-40, once every 1-2 years for ages 41-60, and once every year after that.

Dental Exam: Another obvious screening, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to make your appointment once every 6 to 12 months. It’s important for your dentist to examine not only your teeth, but to check for gum disease, oral cancer, and issues with your bite.

Blood Pressure Screening: Recommended for everyone age 18 and older, once a year. Screening for high blood pressure is simple, yet important. High blood pressure increases the risk for stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney damage.

Pap Test/Pelvic Exam: Pelvic exams and pap tests detect cancerous and pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, and recommended for women ages 21 to 65 once every three years. The frequency of screenings may be reduced by your health care provider bases on your results.

High Cholesterol Screening: Recommended for adults starting at the age of 20, and rescreenings should occur once every five years. Detecting and managing high cholesterol is extremely important. High cholesterol can cause plaque build-up in artery walls, raising the risk for atherosclerosis. Based on your health history, your health care provider make screenings more often.

Mammogram: New screening guidelines call for women of average-risk to be screened once every 2 years starting at age 50 to age 75, to detect breast cancer.

Diabetes: Screening for type 2 diabetes is recommended for anyone over the age of 45, or adults with blood pressure higher than 135/80. The screening checks fasting levels of blood glucose. Individuals who have high cholesterol, obesity, and family history should be screened more often.

Colon and Rectal Cancer Screenings: Colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for everyone of average risk starting at age 50. Studies show that regular screenings improve survival rates and reduce the number of CRC-related deaths. If you have family history, your doctor may recommend a different testing or screening schedule.

Prostate Cancer Screening:  A prostate cancer screening is recommended once a year for men starting at age 50, and earlier for patients at a high risk. Screenings detect high levels of prostate-specific antigen which may indicate prostate cancer.

Bone Density Test: Bone density screenings are used to detect osteoporosis and are recommended for women ages 65 and older, once a year, unless they are at high risk. Screenings are used to detect loss of bone density and mass which can help in early detection and treatment.

Heart Disease Screening: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease screenings measure risk factors such as high cholesterol, C-reactive protein levels, glucose levels and high blood pressure.

 

Life Line Screening

At Life Line Screening, our mission is to make people aware of unrecognized health problems and encourage them to seek follow-up care with their personal physician. We are the leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings in the United States. We use advanced ultrasound equipment (the same as the equipment found in hospitals) and highly trained healthcare professionals perform our screenings. Board-certified physicians review each result to ensure the highest standards.

Since our inception in 1993, we have screened nearly eight million people, and currently screen nearly one million people each year at over 16,000 screening events nationwide. Through this experience, we often identify serious health issues and have helped save thousands of lives. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality preventive screenings at affordable rates.




Healthy Recipe: Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes

October 28, 2014

Sweet potatoes are in season during the fall, and they make a perfect side dish that’s not only delicious, but packed full of nutrition. Whether you are in charge of bringing them to your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, or you just want to try out a new recipe, this one is sure to please!

Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of fat-free milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

This recipe is simple, and if the photo doesn’t persuade you to try this recipe for yourself here are 8 reasons you should include more sweet potatoes in your diet.

They are high in vitamin B6. This vitamin helps reduce  in our bodies, which is a chemical linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.

They are a good source of vitamin C. We all know that this is important to keep the common cold and flu at bay, but vitamin C also is important in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation.

They also contain vitamin D. This vitamin is crucial for immune system and overall health. It plays an important role in energy level, mood, and helps to build healthy bones, teeth, nerves, skin, and heart.

They contain iron. Iron is crucial in order to maintain adequate energy levels in addition to assisting white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune system functioning, and metabolizing protein.

They are a source of magnesium. Known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral, magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle and nerve function.

For nutritional information and to access the full recipe, click here.




How You Can Prevent a Heart Attack

October 23, 2014

New research from Sweden proves that almost four out of five heart attacks can be prevented simply by following a healthy lifestyle. After following 20,000 men for 11 years, they discovered that those who did not smoke, and maintained several healthy habits, reduced their heart attack rates by 86%.

 

Reducing Your Risk

The first step in preventive health is to know your personal risk for a particular disease or condition. Consulting with your primary care physician and participating in health screenings are recommended. Screenings for heart disease check for coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks.

Healthy habits can make all of the difference in preventing a heart attack. In the study, men who had the lowest risk did not smoke, walked or biked for at least 40 minutes per day, took part in exercise for at least one hour per week, limited alcohol intake to one or two glasses per day, and followed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy, whole grains and fish.

Some risk factors such as age, family history and gender also contribute to your risk of heart disease and a heart attack, but researchers from this study found that even modifying small habits can drastically decrease your risk.

  • Quitting smoking can reduce heart attack rate by up to 36%
  • Following a healthy diet with moderate alcohol consumption can lower heart attack risk by 35%

 

Heart Disease in the United States

Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States according to the CDC. If just half of the population followed a healthy lifestyle, up to 40% of heart attacks could be prevented.

While it’s not shocking or new news that a healthy lifestyle can prevent heart attacks, the numbers are starting to tell a powerful story. To start a plan for yourself, meet with your doctor to set up personal goals for diet and exercise. If you have other risk factors including high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, medications can also play an important role in prevention.




Recipe: Pumpkin Dip

October 21, 2014

Just when you feel comfortable with your diet, you realize that you have a party to go to and before you know it, you’ve scarfed down half of the ranch chip dip. It’s not your fault; many of us have done the exact same thing. But don’t worry! Next time you attend a family get together, bring along this guilt-free pumpkin dip.

Pumpkin Dip

¾ cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

¼ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Now the only question is, what to dip? Use fresh fruit like apple slices or grapes to get in a serving of fruit and keep the dip as light as possible. For fall parties, use cinnamon graham crackers, gingersnap cookies, toasted mini bagels, or toast slices.

Be sure to watch how much you eat, fruit is healthy, but beware of how much you eat since it is high in sugars, even if they are coming from a natural source. Maintaining a regular intake of fruits and vegetables can very well reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. For more information on preventive health care, visit lifelinescreening.com.

To view specific nutrition information and to see more recipe details click here.




Tips to Improve Your Heart Health in Less Than One Hour

October 16, 2014

Can you believe that one hour is only 4% of your total day? Most doctors recommend that people exercise for at least 30-40 minutes each day, but how many times do we forget or feel like we don’t have enough time to get to the gym?

Here are some helpful tips that you can do each day to improve your heart health in just 60 minutes.

Take a Power Nap: Even just a 10 minute nap can work wonders for your well-being. A quick nap can boost your mental activity and help alleviate stress.

Chat with Friends: Take time out during the day to talk to your friends, neighbors, or colleagues at work. Having social interaction, laughing, joking and sharing thoughts can relieve stress in addition to improving blood circulation and brain activity.

Take a Walk After Lunch: Even going on a five minute walk can help improve overall heart health. Taking time to get fresh air relaxes your mind, but also burns calories and improves digestion. Also, taking a quick walk during your lunch break at work can boost your overall productivity and lower the risk of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and heart disease.

Sign Up for an Exercise Class: Exercise is the key to healthy living, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. If going to work out at a gym or rec center isn’t your thing, sign up for a new fitness class, try a home workout video, or do a mix of all three. There’s something out there to fit your needs!

 

Heart Health

While these simple tips can improve your heart health, there are other risk factors that can impact your personal risk:

  • Family History
  • Increasing Age
  • Gender (males have an increased risk)
  • Smoking
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated C-reactive protein

In addition to following a healthy lifestyle, taking part in preventive health screenings are an option to reduce your risk of heart disease. 9 out of 10 doctors support preventive health screenings for heart disease among patients with risk factors, but who may not show any symptoms of the disease.




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