Awareness of Diabetes Triggers Now Can Prevent Problems Later

Diabetes continues to pose a growing national health concern, with 3.6 million Americans currently afflicted, 79 million having pre-diabetes, and 1.6 million more individuals diagnosed each year.

According to the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, Type 2 diabetes has become one of the most common and costly diseases in the United States and around the world, creating an enormous, and costly, strain on the U.S. healthcare system.

With November being Diabetes Awareness Month, this is a good time to take stock of your diet and exercise routines.

Studies by the National Diabetes Research Foundation have determined that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, and a 5 percent to 10 percent reduction in body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes by almost 60 percent. To help you achieve these goals, here are healthy living tips for the whole family:

  • Try to eat regular, balanced meals every four to five hours. Smaller amounts eaten more often are better for healthy blood-sugar levels
  • Eat carbohydrates in moderation. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar more than foods with protein or fat. Carbohydrates include milk, fruit, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, corn and peas.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Eat more fiber from whole grains and dried beans.
  • Eat less fat and less saturated fat. Choose lean meats, low-fat dairy products and low-fat snack foods.
  • Use drinks that do not raise blood sugar such as water, diet soda, coffee and tea.
  • Choose desserts occasionally. Look for dessert foods that are lower in carbohydrates and fat.

While watching your nutritional intake and snacking is important, walking and moderate exercise every day or every other day also plays a critical role in preventing weight gain, reducing stress, strengthening heart health and reducing chances for diabetes later in life.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate; Knowledge and Action Saves Lives

While the threat and dangers of breast cancer are now well known, thousands of American women (and hundreds of men) are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Early detection and treatment are key to treating and containing this disease. In addition to knowing your family history, getting regular exams and avoiding known cancer-causing foods and activities, there are a variety of natural preventive measures you can take to decrease your chances, including proper diet and exercise, not smoking tobacco products, and drinking in moderation.

When detected early before it can spread to other parts of the body, breast cancer can be treated through radiation, drug therapy and surgery, and many cancer survivors live long, healthy lives.

If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. Fortunately, eight out of 10 breast lumps are benign, or not cancerous. But women sometimes stay away from medical care because they fear what they might find. Take charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication with your doctor, and scheduling regular mammograms.

However, men need to tune in, as well. Each year it is estimated that approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die. While this percentage is still small, men should also give themselves regular breast self-exams and note any changes. Men should speak with their doctor if they find suspicious lumps, abnormal skin growths, experience tenderness or experience other changes in their breasts.

For women, a mammogram remains one of the best tools available for the early detection of breast cancer. While women who have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. If you have a mother, daughter, sister or grandmother who had breast cancer, you should have a mammogram five years before the age of their diagnosis, or starting at age 35.

Don’t let tales of other people’s experiences keep you from having a mammogram or from visiting your physician. Base your decision on your doctor’s recommendation and be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with a medical professional. Breast cancer remains insidious and scary, but you can play an important role in preventing or limiting its spread in you, your children and friends and family by tuning in and knowing the facts.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Many Lives

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2010 are:

  • 102, 900 new cases of colon cancer (49,470 in men and 53,430 in women)
  • 39,670 new cases of rectal cancer (22,620 in men and 17,050 in women)

Overall, the lifetime risk for developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 19 (5.2%). This risk is slightly higher in men than in women. A number of other factors may also affect a person’s risk for developing colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in men and women when both sexes are combined. It was expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2010.

The death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that polyps, or growths, are being found by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers. Screening also allows more colorectal cancers to be found earlier, when the disease is easier to cure. In addition, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last several years. As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.

Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer. Screening is the process of looking for cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease. From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow into polyps, it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for them to develop into colorectal cancer. Regular screening can, in many cases, prevent colorectal cancer altogether. Several tests are used to screen for colorectal cancer in people with an average risk of colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor which tests are available where you live and which options might be right for you.

People who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening at age 50. Those who have a family history or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer should talk with their doctor about starting screening at a younger age and/or getting screened more frequently.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month, and a perfect time to take stock of your heart health. Two important elements in maintaining a healthy lifestyle include being aware of the dangers of high cholesterol, and understanding high blood pressure. Both can be inherited risks, but aggravated – or controlled effectively – through diet, exercise and medications.

Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol

Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Take responsibility for managing your cholesterol levels. Whether you’ve been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Lifestyle changes

Your diet, weight, physical activity, and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level — and these factors may be controlled by:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Enjoying regular physical activity
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke

Know your fats

Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don’t is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease.

Cooking for lower cholesterol

It’s not hard to whip up recipes that fit with the low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan recommended by scientists to help you manage your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Understand drug therapy options

For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication. Learn about:

  • Types of cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Tips for taking medications

Work with your doctor

It takes a team to develop and maintain a successful health program. You and your healthcare professionals each play an important role in maintaining and improving your heart health. Know how to talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and be sure you understand all instructions. Follow your plan carefully, especially when it comes to medication — it won’t work if you don’t take it as directed. And learn how to make diet and lifestyle changes easy and lasting.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!