Difference by gender and race
Obesity is a major risk factor for the incidence of many illnesses, including cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in this country.
A two-year decline
Life expectancy in the U.S. population had a decrease of 0.1 year between 2015 and 2016, according to a data brief by the National Center for Health Statistics. You might say that’s not significant and too minor to even mention. But this is the second year in a row that it has dropped in this country. That’s not a good sign.
The #3 killer in African Americans
Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in this country. Many cases are largely preventable by following a healthy lifestyle and properly managing high blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes.
A change in guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has updated its guidelines for prostate cancer screening. They now take the position that screening offers a small potential benefit of reducing the chance of dying of prostate cancer.
Strawberries and spinach top the list
Twelve products have made the annual list of “dirty dozen” produce. These fruits and veggies in particular contain high contents of residues from pesticides, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group.
But there can be too much of a good thing
The body cannot survive without sodium, but the typical American diet contains more sodium than the body can handle. High amounts of the mineral can lead to heart and kidney disease.
Still below desired national goals
Although screenings for breast, cervical and colon cancer are covered at no cost by the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of adults in this country that comply with the guidelines are lower than desired.
Some helpful tips
Some helpful tips to keep your spending down and your nutrition up.
A helping hand for those in need
Several programs are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist low income consumers purchase healthy foods. The City of Boston also developed a program to enable SNAP recipients to purchase produce at local farmers’ markets.
Good value at a lower cost
Store brands are fast becoming the choice of many consumers. Store brands are typically less expensive than national brands and offer similar quality.
Keep your grocery list handy
Supermarkets are designed to pique your interest into purchasing more items than originally intended. The ideal way to prevent overspending is to make a list and stick to it.
Tips on how to stretch that dollar
Although food is one of the highest costs for consumers, it is possible to eat healthy while keeping an eye on one’s budget.
Get up and walk
Although low back pain is very common, it may be possible to prevent it by practicing healthy lifestyles.
It’s all about the core
If low back pain does not go away within a week or so, often physical therapy and exercise are recommended. The goal is to strengthen the core and improve function.
Mindfulness: You control the pain
There is a link between low back pain and depression, but the exact causes of the link are unclear.
A 2,000-year-old treatment in modern times
Acupuncture, an age-old form of traditional Chinese medicine, is growing in popularity in this country. Although originally used for pain reduction, the World Health Organization has determined that it can be effective in the treatment of several illnesses.
A simple move can set it off
Herniated discs are one of the most common causes of low back pain. The pain starts in the back, but radiates to the buttocks and down the leg.
Often only as a last resort
Only about 5 percent of cases of low back pain require surgery. The majority of cases can be treated with more conservative measures, such as physical therapy and exercise.
No one is exempt
Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in this country. It is estimated that 80 percent of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.
A healthy combination
This recipe that pairs butternut (winter) squash with shiitake mushrooms and sage is not only tasty it’s packed with vitamins and minerals, but low in sodium and fat.
Fall brings the foliage … and the flu
The 2016-2017 flu season is upon us. There’s no escaping that pesky virus. Like clockwork, it makes its appearance every fall. Generally, flu season starts in October and peaks between December and March, but can last as long as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now considered a power food
Avocados are considered a power food because of its high nutritional value. Each contains nearly 20 minerals and vitamins that the body needs to perform sufficiently.
Living longer and healthier
Life expectancy in blacks has increased over the years largely due to lower death rates in cancer, heart disease and HIV. In addition, access to medical care has improved with the advent and expansion of Medicaid.
The first line of attack
Regular exercise can not only prevent high cholesterol, it can often lower it. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day for five days a week is recommended.
A healthy vegetarian entree
This recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research is a good source of fiber, protein and potassium. It contains no saturated fat and is low in sodium.
This recipe from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides healthy nutrients but is low in fats, cholesterol and sodium. Each serving contains only 329 calories.
It’s possible to eat your way to good health
Many cases of high cholesterol can be prevented just by following a healthy lifestyle. If the cholesterol is too high or it does not respond to healthy lifestyle alone, medication — in conjunction with behavioral changes — is warranted.
A combination of disorders
Metabolic syndrome occurs if three or more medical conditions coexist at the same time. The conditions are high blood pressure, high triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, low HDL and large waist.
Common, but often undetected
Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a common, but often undetected, condition that can result from excessive buildup of plaque in the arteries, particularly in the legs.
A possible link to high cholesterol
Melissa Blount, 46, put her treatment for high cholesterol on hold. She was trying to have another child, but her efforts several years ago almost cost her her life.
Major complications from cholesterol
Heart attack and stroke are two of the most common complications from high cholesterol. In both conditions, cholesterol in the arteries blocks energy and nutrients to the organs.
Cholesterol not really a villain
Although cholesterol has a bad reputation, it is actually essential to the body and a part of every cell. If it accumulates in the arteries, however, it can block access to energy and nutrients the organs need to survive.
It is recommended that screening for cholesterol begin at age 20 and be repeated every three to five years. Those of higher risk, such as those with diabetes, heart disease, stroke or a family history of high cholesterol, may get screened more frequently.
Fewer than 3 percent adhere to recommendations
Only 2.7 percent of adults in the U.S. follow the four behaviors of a healthy lifestyle. While not smoking is the most common behavior observed, maintaining a healthy weight is the least.
Your heart might be older than you
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks a strange question on their website — “how old is your heart”? That doesn’t seem to make much sense. Surely if you’re 40, your heart is 40 as well. But, according to the CDC, that’s not always the case.
An update by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. Yet, it often goes undiagnosed or untreated. It is a leading cause of suicide.
More studies are necessary - Special advertorial health section
Although ovarian cancer is rare, it is the fifth deadliest form of cancer in women. To date, a reliable screening test for ovarian cancer has not been developed.
Many people lack awareness
Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in this country. There is no cure for glaucoma, but it can be treated with medicine and surgery.
The difference between bacteria and viruses
Antibiotics are often prescribed for people suffering from the flu. However, antibiotics are designed to treat infections from bacteria. The flu, on the other hand, is a virus and does not respond to antibiotics.
Cervical cancer largely preventable
With the advent of Pap smears and immunization against certain types of HPV, the incidence of cervical cancer in this country has plummeted in the past 50 years.
An unexpected link
Current data indicate that the incidence of diabetes may be on the decline. Since research suggests that there is a link between type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer, a drop in diabetes rates may result in lower cancer rates.
Limit to 12½ teaspoons a day
The Food and Drug Administration is at it again. Now the target is sugar, but it’s not just any sugar. It’s the added sugar the administration is going after.
An alternative method to keep your pressure low
Regular exercise can increase the efficiency of the heart, which can help prevent or control high blood pressure.
This recipe is high in potassium and fiber and low in unhealthy fats and sodium. This combination will help lower blood pressure and decrease its risk.
This side dish pairs quinoa, a whole grain, with vegetables for a healthy recipe that is low in unhealthy fats, sodium and calories and high in fiber, protein and potassium
Dialysis and transplant the only treatments
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Once diagnosed, the only treatments available are dialysis and kidney transplant.
An inefficient pump
Heart failure, one of the leading causes of death, is often caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure. Because of increased resistance, the heart has to pump harder in order to supply blood to the body.
Frequent checks help keep tabs on blood pressure
Home monitoring of blood pressure is particularly beneficial for those with hypertension and those with several risks for the disorder. It is important to buy an approved monitor and to use it correctly.
Many cases are preventable
Some cases of high blood pressure are difficult to avoid. It may run in families or a medical condition precipitates it. For everyone the risk of hypertension increases with every tick of the clock. But too many times our behavior brings it on. Here are risk factors that are in our court. Fortunately, we can have some control.
Americans consume more than twice the quantity recommended
According to the American Heart Association, consumers eat more than twice the recommended daily limit. Salt, or sodium, is available in many foods we purchase or eat in restaurants.