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Posts Tagged ‘health screening’

Health Screenings Essential for Men

July 3, 2014

Men don’t like to stop and ask for directions, and even more than that, they don’t enjoy visiting the doctor. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, men are 24% less likely to visit the doctor’s office than women. Yet, they are 28% more likely to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure and 32% more likely to need care for diabetes complications.

So how do you prevent these issues from happening? The answer is health screenings. Prostate, colon and skin cancer are common diseases among men, as is heart disease and diabetes. The good news is that health screenings are available to detect these issues early. Knowing risk factors and screening guidelines can assist men in preventing and detecting these diseases while they are in early stages, making them more treatable and before any complications arise.

 

Health Screenings for Men

 

Prostate Cancer Screening: Starting at the age of 50, men should speak with their doctor about the potential positives and negatives of prostate cancer screenings. The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test measures the blood level of PSA – the higher the level the more likely it is that cancer has developed. Risk factors include age (6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men age 65+), ethnicity (African American and Caribbean men have higher risk), family history, obesity, smoking, toxic exposure and inflammation of the prostate.

Blood Pressure Screening: Simple, painless and extremely important. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” since it has no apparent symptoms. High blood pressure puts men at an increased risk for stroke, heart attack and other serious conditions. Often simple lifestyle changes like exercise and following a healthy diet are enough to lower blood pressure levels, if not, there are medications available.

High Cholesterol Screening: High cholesterol also has no apparent symptoms, but it can be detected through a simple blood test. If cholesterol levels are normal, this screening is recommended at least every 5 years for men. However, if cholesterol levels are above normal, men should get a cholesterol screening yearly.

Colon Cancer Screening: Men should start to get screened for colon cancer at age 50. Earlier testing is recommended if a close relative has had colorectal polyps or cancer, Crohn’s disease or genetic syndromes.

Skin Cancer Check: Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States. Limiting sun exposure and receiving a regular check-up from a dermatologist can help prevent the cancer from appearing and allow for early treatment.

Diabetes Screening: A diabetes (glucose) screening is recommended for men starting at age 45 and should be repeated every three years. This screening is performed by testing fasting glucose levels in the blood. Many people live with type 2 diabetes for years before they realize that they have it, and some only know once they suffer from one of its known complications including nerve and eye damage, heart disease and kidney disease.

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.

Have you had preventive health screenings before? Let us know how they’ve benefited you in the comments.




Staying Sharp As You Age

May 22, 2014

Looking for ways to stay sharp as you age? The answer is simple, fun and good for you – just babysit your grandkids at least once a week.

Grandparents who care for their grandchildren have a lower risk for developing Alzheimers and have increased mental sharpness. Just be careful – too much of a good thing can be harmful.

 

Get the Details

Researchers from the Women’s Healthy Aging Project study in Australia studied 186 women and put them through a series of tests for memory and mental processing ability.

So what were the results? Grandparents, and specifically grandmothers, who performed significantly higher, were the ones who cared for their grandchildren at least once a week. However, too much of a good thing can be detrimental, and those who cared for grandchildren five days a week performed worse.

So how does it all work? Caring for grandkids keeps you socially engaged and active, just be careful to avoid the high stress levels of becoming a full-time caregiver.

 

Tips for Staying Active with Your Grandkids

Don’t just watch shows or pop in a movie when you babysit your grandchildren, keep their minds and bodies active – and yours too!

Visit a local park: If a park and playground is nearby, take a walk to go visit. Relax on the swings while they play and run around, or bring a sports gear to play soccer, tennis or basketball.

Bike around the neighborhood: Get our the bike helmets and go for a ride around the neighborhood. If you aren’t up for biking with them, walk while they ride around the neighborhood.

Chalk it up: Let your creative side show and color the driveway with artwork.

Work on educational activities: Help your grandkids out with their schoolwork, or prepare them for school with fun and easy to use workbooks.

Get Cooking: Open up your cookbook and pick a recipe – you don’t need a special occasion to bake some delicious cookies.

These are just a few ideas to get you started but there are so many more! Go swimming, play hide and seek around the house or create a puppet show, use your imagination.

 

Taking Care of Your Health

While taking care of your grandkids may help prevent developing Alzheimers and help increase mental abilities, you still need to focus on taking care of the rest of your body. Screen for Life offers customizable screening packages that can prevent life-changing diseases. Check out the health screenings that we offer, and schedule yours online with us today.




Community Healthcare is More Important than Ever

May 10, 2014

Looking for easy, convenient and affordable health care options? You aren’t the only one. The Health Resources and Service Administration state that about 20% of people in the United States live in areas with an insufficient amount of primary care physicians to meet community needs.

To add to this problem, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that there will be a shortage of potentially 45,000 physicians within the next six years.

The healthcare access gap is becoming more apparent in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More than 5 million Americans have signed up to receive insurance this year, and that number is expected to grow to close to 30 million by the end of 2017. With more Americans having the means to afford healthcare, the growing problem is that they do not have anywhere to go.

So where do you turn to for accessible healthcare? The answer is closer to home than you think – community based health options.

 

Community Healthcare

Community based health options offer up quality care and are options that are able to save you a more costly trip to the doctor’s office.

Option #1: Community health screenings – Life Line Screening, the nation’s leading provider of preventive health screenings, offers affordable tests in local and in some cases under served communities. Our focus is to detect chronic diseases such as stroke, cholesterol and diabetes that are a burden on the healthcare system, and cause significant disability to individuals and their families.

Option #2: Retail Clinics – These are small practices mostly found in national drug stores, and are predicted to double by 2015. Accenture also reported that they will save the health care system around $800 million annually since they are used instead of a higher cost option.

 

Hospital Relationships

Retail clinics and health screening services are often partner with local hospital systems. Minute Clinic from CVS, for example, has a list of the hospital affiliations, meaning that they collaborate with those medical systems in the community.

Life Line Screening partners with many hospitals throughout the nation in an effort to make patients more aware of unrecognized health problems. We also encourage our screening participants to seek follow-up care with their personal physicians.

Community-based healthcare options like Life Line Screening are a way of providing accessible, easy, convenient screenings. Learn more about community health screenings.




Gene Linked to Heart Attack Risk

April 3, 2014

 

Researchers from the University of Michigan and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted a study  that used gene scanning processes to detect genes variations that are connected to certain diseases. The approach involved observing how variations influenced the way proteins act, and because of this method they were able to discover a gene that directly relates to heart attack risk.

The study used information from 5,600 Norwegians who had health information stored in a biobank. The focus of the researchers was on variations in genes that cause a change in protein function. The end result was cataloging 80,000 variants. From these variants, they narrowed the results down to 10 which had previously been related to blood lipid levels and cholesterol.

Honing in on a specific DNA strand that is controls blood lipid levels, they discovered gene TM6FS2. A percentage of study participants who carried a variation of the gene had healthier blood lipids and a lower overall risk for heart attack. If the gene is overexpressed or completely silent, heart attack risk increases.

 

Other Heart Attack Risks

Another recent study  conducted by researchers at Harvard showed that a heart attack risk is higher after an anger outburst for 2 hours after the episode. After an outburst the risk of a heart attack increases 5 times, risk of stroke raises by three times in addition to abnormal heartbeat or ventricular arrhythmia. (The risk per person also depends on how often anger outbursts occur, and their own personal risk factors.)

Other risk factors for heart attack and heart disease include family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes and elevated C-reactive protein levels.

 

 Reducing Your Risk

The first step to reducing your risk for heart attack and heart disease is to know where you currently stand. We offer five different heart disease screenings to assess specific risk factors. Look up screening events near you, or schedule an appointment online today.

Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle are also recommended to reduce risk factors. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, with some muscle strengthening exercises. Cut out saturated fats and foods that are high in sodium, as they negatively impact health.

 




New Research from the Cleveland Clinic Shows that “Good” Cholesterol May Not Live Up to Its Name

February 27, 2014

What if we told you that what you think you know about HDL “good” cholesterol is wrong? A new study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic has some shocking findings about cholesterol. HDL is known for preventing plaque buildup in arteries, but researchers are realizing that it can also turn and contribute to heart disease.

In its good form, HDL is meant to take molecules of cholesterol away from vessel walls and parts of the body to the liver to be removed. However, in the newly discovered dysfunctional or “bad” form of HDL, these molecules that are meant to be removed never make it to the liver. Due to this, it causes inflammation in vessel walls, and people who have a high level of the dysfunctional version are now at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

So, how are doctors able to differentiate between the two different forms of HDL? Researchers developed their own blood test through the Cleveland HeartLab, but may release it as soon as the end of this year. The blood test specifically tests for a protein found in HDL that when it is oxidized starts to cause problems for the heart and artery walls.

 

Connection Between Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol has long been linked to heart disease, and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol which carries 65% of cholesterol in the blood stream. LDL can help form plaque that builds up along artery walls that feed the heart and brain. When HDL works as it should, the “good” cholesterol carries LDL away to the liver and a high level helps to prevent heart disease.

High levels of LDL contribute to a condition called atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which raises risk for heart attack and stroke.

More than 60% of adults in the U.S. don’t know their cholesterol levels. Knowing these simple facts is an important step towards a healthy future, and at Life Line Screening we offer high cholesterol screenings with a lipid panel test. Learn more about our cholesterol screenings now.




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