Avoid being ‘bitten’ by the cold this winter – Health Briefs
Now that cold weather has settled in, it’s important not to get “bitten” by the cold this winter. Frostbite and hypothermia are serious conditions caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
“Frostbite is a bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body and severe cases can lead to amputation,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Because the skin goes numb, the person affected might be the last to know they’ve developed frostbite. According to the CDC signs to wathc for include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and numbness
Those who think they’ve developed frostbite or detect symptoms of frostbite are urged to seek medical care. First, determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance.
To learn more about frostbite, visit cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/frostbite.html.
Program helps people at risk for type 2 diabetes
Northwest Colorado Health will host a lifestyle change program for individuals who have prediabetes or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Program participants will meet from 11 a.m. to noon Thursdays beginning Jan. 11 at Northwest Colorado Health, 745 Russell Street.
Participants will work with a lifestyle coach in a group environment, learning how to set realistic, achievable goals focused on nutrition, exercise and stress management to prevent or delay diabetes and complications.
To learn more about the program, visit cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention. For more information or to sign up, call 970-870-4103.
Resources available to help stop smoking
Quitting smoking is a resolution many smokers set for themselves.
Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Smoking can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and more. The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, which is part the reason it can be so tough to quit smoking. On average, it takes a tobacco user eight to 11 quit attempts before they are smoke-free for good.
Though it’s not always easy, finding new ways to help quit smoking can be a good start. Picking a specific date, such as New Year’s Day, is one great way to start the journey to becoming smoke-free.
In Colorado, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and the American Lung Association are partnering to help Coloradans quit smoking, improve lung health through exercise and fight lung disease in the new year.
The two organizations will offer smoking cessation support to residents of public housing.
Through the Smoking Cessation for Low Income Housing Residents Initiative, the American Lung Association will work with Public Housing Agencies and other local partners to provide smokers who are ready to quit with access to proven-effective tobacco cessation services, such as Freedom From Smoking. This support comes in advance of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s smoke-free housing rule, requiring all public housing to be smoke-free by July 31.
Many other free resources are available for people trying to quit smoking, including the following.
• 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) (for Spanish speakers) is a free service that offers resources, including coaching, help with making a quit plan, educational materials and referrals to other resources.
• Smokefree TXT is a free 24/7 texting program that sends encouragement, advice and tips to help smokers quit smoking for good. To get started, text QUIT to 47848, answer a few questions and start receiving messages.
• The Online Tips From Former Smokers website provides helpful online quit resources.
• The QuitGuide is a free app that tracks cravings, moods, slips and smoke-free progress to help smokers understand smoking patterns and build the skills needed to become and stay smoke-free.
To learn more about how to quit smoking, call the Lung Association’s toll-free Lung Helpline 800-LUNGUSA, or learn more about Freedom From Smoking at lung.org/ffs.
DASH ranked best diet overall for the 8th year
For the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News and World Report ranked the National Institutes of Health-developed DASH Diet “best overall” diet among nearly 40 it reviewed. The announcement came just as new research suggests that combining DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, with a low-sodium diet has the potential to lower blood pressure as well as or better than many anti-hypertension medications.
With its focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins, DASH tied this year for “best overall” diet and was ranked number one in the “healthy eating” and “heart disease prevention” categories.
According to the World Health Organization, hypertension, more commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is the most common chronic condition worldwide. It is a major risk factor for heart disease, affects 1 billion people and accounts for one in eight deaths each year.
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutedeveloped DASH to prevent and treat high blood pressure, but the diet has also proven highly effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
DASH is a healthy eating plan that supports long-term lifestyle changes. It is low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, lean meats, beans and nuts. It is rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. However, it calls for a reduction in high-fat red meat, sweets and sugary beverages.
The DASH diet was one of 38 diets reviewed and scored by the U.S. News and World Report’s panel of health experts. To receive top ratings, a diet must be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.
Help people with Alzheimer’s stay healthy this year
Being active and eating healthy foods can help people with Alzheimer’s feel better. Following are some tips from the National Institute on Aging to help a person with Alzheimer’s maintain healthy habits.
• Buy healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products. Be sure to buy foods the person likes and can eat.
• Give the person choices about what to eat, for example, “Would you like green beans or salad?”
• Break exercises into simple, easy-to-follow steps.
• Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several 10-minute “mini-workouts” may be best.
• Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too.
When you hear “family medicine,” think of your family doctor — the person who provides you with general health care for all ages.