February American Heart Month 

'Knowledge is Power when it is Shared'

by Leotha 'Candy' Wilkins LPN

Got health-related questions?





October is

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

September is

Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Month

November is

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Traditionally the month for lovers and all things heart related, February also reminds us to take care of our heart. It is American Heart Month.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
Make a difference in your community: Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.

How can American Heart Month make a difference?

Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt.
Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early.
Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.

Heart Disease Awareness is represented by the color red. You can choose to wear  a rubber wristbands, ribbon magnets, lapel pins and more or place a custom order to support Heart Disease Awareness.
Heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages. February is Heart Month, the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.
Heart disease and the conditions that lead to it can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking).

You Could Be at Risk

Many of the conditions and behaviors that put people at risk for heart disease are appearing at younger ages:

High blood pressure. Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s. About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
High blood cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Smoking. More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.

Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include:

Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart. More than 1 in 3 Americans and nearly 1 in 6 children ages 2 to 19 has obesity.
Diabetes. Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood. This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes.
Physical inactivity. Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Only 1 in 5 adults meets the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.
Unhealthy eating patterns. Most Americans, including children, eat too much (salt), which increases blood pressure. Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure. But only 1 in 10 adults is getting enough fruits and vegetables each day. Diet high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and added sugar increases the risk factor for heart disease.

4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health

You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your heart. Learn how to be heart healthy at any age.
Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke,.
Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed.
Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options.
Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks.

How can I help spread the word?

We can host a community event to promote heart health, like a group walk or a heart health fair at your church.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), also referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and treatment.
What is the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
As a tumor develops, you may note the following signs: A lump in the breast or underarm that persists after your menstrual cycle. This is often the first apparent symptom of breast cancer. Lumps associated with breast cancer are usually painless, although some may cause a prickly sensation
Other possible symptoms of Breast Cancer include:

Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
Breast or nipple pain.
Nipple retraction (turning inward)
Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin

Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer

Breast discoloration. An early sign of inflammatory breast cancer is discoloration of the breast. ...
Breast pain. ...
Skin dimpling. ...
Change in nipple appearance. ...
Enlarged lymph nodes. ...
Sudden change in breast size

The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:

Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. ...
Don't smoke. ...
Control your weight. ...
Be physically active. ...
Breast-feed. ...
Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. ...
Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution.
Is pain a symptom of breast cancer?
Breast pain is usually present to some degree with Inflammatory Breast Cancer which has other distinct symptoms as well. Rarely, a breast tumor may cause pain, but generally cancerous tumors are not reported as painful


A physical exam. Your doctor examines your breast to look for redness and other signs of inflammatory breast cancer.
Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend a breast X-ray (mammogram) or a breast ultrasound to look for signs of cancer in your breast, such as thickened skin. ...
Removing a sample of tissue for testing.



Allergy Facts:

 - Asthma and allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), food allergy, and eczema, are common for all age groups in the United States.

 - Asthma affects more than 24 million people in the U.S., including more than 6 million children.1
 - Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.2
 - Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, is a common condition that causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes and itching of the nose, eyes or the roof of the mouth.
 - Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial.
 - Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis occur in spring, summer and/or early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores.
 - People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round. 

 - Perennial allergic rhinitis is generally caused by sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches and/or mold spores. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms.
 - Once diagnosed, allergic rhinitis treatment options are: avoidance, eliminating or decreasing your exposure to the irritants or allergens that trigger your symptoms, medication and immunotherapy (allergy shots).
 - Immunotherapy (allergy shots) helps reduce hay fever symptoms in about 85% of people with allergic rhinitis.
 - The prevalence of food and skin allergies increased in children under 18 years from 1997-2011.3
 - In data published from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 8.4% of US children under age 18 suffered from hay fever, 10% from respiratory allergies, 5.4% from food allergies, and 11.6% from skin allergies.

You can treat allergy symptoms with over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as allergy shots.  Lifestyle changes like using air filters and avoiding triggers are important, too. 

If symptoms worsen call your doctor. (Retrieved March 14 2018) 

November marks Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, a time when people across the world come together to fight back against, and raise the profile of, Pancreatic Cancer.
 What is pancreatitis cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach and in front of the spine.  The pancreas produces digestive juices and hormones that regulate blood sugar.  
Signs and symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancer:

Jaundice and related symptoms. Jaundice is yellowing of the eyes and skin. ...
Belly or back pain. ...
Weight loss and poor appetite. ...
Nausea and vomiting. ...
Gallbladder or liver enlargement. ...
Blood clots. ...
Fatty tissue abnormalities. ...
What foods cause pancreatic cancer?
Diet: Diets high in meats, cholesterol, fried foods and nitrosamines may increase risk, while diets high in fruits and vegetables reduce risk.
The vitamin folate may be protective.

Genetics: As mentioned earlier, a number of inherited cancer syndromes increase the risk of pancreatic cancer

What causes Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is fundamentally a disease caused by damage to the DNA. This damage is often referred to as mutations.
These mutations can be inherited from mom or dad, or they can be acquired as we age. First, let us look at the inherited mutations.

Remember that we have two copies of each gene - one copy we inherit from our mother, the other copy we inherit from our father.
 Most individuals with an inherited cancer syndrome inherit one mutant copy (let us say from dad) and one intact (normal) copy (let us say from mom) of a cancer associated gene. As these individuals with an inherited cancer syndrome age, some of will sustain damage the good copy of the gene (the copy they got from mom) in a cell in their pancreas.  That cell will then have two damaged copies of the gene (one inherited and one acquired during life), and, as a result, that cell in the pancreas will begin to grow abnormally and will eventually form a cancer.
Treatment depends on stage or may include surgically removing the pancreas, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Can cancer of the pancreas be treated?
Surgery is usually the only way pancreatic cancer can be completely cured.
However, as the condition is usually advanced by the time it's diagnosed, surgery is not always suitable.  If your cancer has spread to other areas of the body, surgically removing the tumor won't cure you.
How long does a person live with pancreatic cancer?
The median survival for untreated advanced pancreatic cancer is about 3 1/2 months; with good treatment this increases to about eight months, though many will live much longer.
Can you beat pancreatic cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and more than 38,000 will die. The overall survival rate is only 6 percent. There are no early detection tests, no effective long-term treatments, and unless caught in its earliest stages, no cure.
What is the main cause of pancreatic cancer?
Scientists don't know exactly what causes most pancreatic cancers, but they have found several risk factors that can make a person more likely to get this disease. Some of these risk factors affect the DNA of cells in the pancreas, which can result in abnormal cell growth and may cause tumors to form. 
Educate yourself about your family history and have your annual check up.......,

New Antioch Christian Fellowship