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November Awareness
November: American Diabetes

Diabetes is a tough diagnosis but is one that can be fought and held back to still live your best life. There are two different types of diabetes. Type 1 can occur at any age, size, or shape. Ranging from children to the elderly it is the best-case condition and can be managed. At this stage the body doesn’t produce insulin. Insulin is a very important hormone which helps carry glucose away from the blood to the cells in the liver, fat, and skeletal muscle. Typically, during this time, a diet intervention and insulin therapy is used to help manage and reduce the affects.

Type 2 diabetes is a “long-term condition resulting in too much sugar circulating in the blood stream. Eventually, high blood sugar levels can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems” (mayoclinic.org). The body does not regulate insulin and sugar usage correctly and is usually more detrimental than Type 1 and there is no cure.

While these are scary and should be taken very seriously, the effects can be mitigated. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. Staying very active and making a concerted effort to fight this. Stay vigilant, stay active, and reduce the processed, high carb foods in your diet. Get plenty of exercise and see the doctor regularly and diabetes can be a thing of the past.

For more information on diabetes, please visit diabetes.org.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




October Awareness
October: Dental Hygiene Month

Often, we take our oral health for granted. Brushing for a minute or two most nights and ultimately forgetting about overall dental hygiene until the dentist sends in a 6-month reminder letter and we brush and floss real hard to make up for lost time and it turns into a painful (sometimes bloody) mess. Dental hygiene has so much more of an impact on our overall health than we can imagine.

A tooth ache, root canal, wisdom tooth removal, braces, dentures. The list goes on of extensive, painful, expensive issues related to oral health. To reduce the need for some of these issues one can easily maintain a healthy smile. While brushing your teeth is a very important part, flossing is possibly more important. It can reach places a toothbrush can not and can break up areas of bacteria and plaque. Brushing your teeth comes next. This can beat bad breath, keep teeth looking whiter, and reduce the chance of gum disease. Choosing toothpaste is also a factor to take into consideration. Be sure that it has “at least 1,000 parts per million fluoride and the American Dental Association stamp of approval.” (Nathan Janowicz, DMD).

To wrap up:

  • Floss daily (2 times if possible)
  • Brush at least 2 times a day with a proper toothpaste for 2 minutes covering the teeth entirely with gentle pressure, do not forget to the tongue.
  • Do not rinse immediately after brushing to allow the toothpaste to do its job.
  • Rinse with water after eating or drinking acidic things like coffee or coke.
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Use mouthwash as the coup de gras to disinfect.

For more information on dental hygiene, please visit ada.org/en.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




September Awareness
September: Healthy Aging Month

Aging, something we all must go through but sometimes it seems that some do it more gracefully than others. There are several steps that one can take to increase their chances of getting into the centenarian’s club. One of the best and most ubiquitous pieces of the puzzle is exercise and physical activity. Going on walks, resistance training, swimming, gardening, yoga, or any other myriad of ways to stay active are necessary for longevity. Idleness and stagnation are the enemy of movement. With the exercise comes increased levels of balance, strength, bone density to fight osteoporosis, flexibility, and more importantly fights against diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and fatigue. The next step on the ladder is healthy eating. Higher fiber, protein, fruit, vegetable, and water intake are all correlated with healthier longevity. Reducing the overall amount of inflammation inducing foods such as cokes, sweets, and heavily fried foods leads to a healthier life which leads to healthier aging. Finally, a part that most people miss out on is the effect of loneliness. Unfortunately, as we age, we lose loved ones, move away, lose mobility, and many other things that cause a reduced amount of interaction with others. This can lead to loneliness and isolation. Reducing happiness, quality of life, and life span. “Loneliness induces a chronic low-level inflammatory response…loneliness is also associated with reductions in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein crucial for neuronal health, cognition, and memory…increases older adults’ risk of developing cognitive impairment.” (Katherine Peters, MD, PhD, FAAN, associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Duke University).

There are many, many ways to increase health and longevity but these are a few ways that you can work on today to get ahead of the curve. Healthy aging is more than just working out and eating well. It is a quality of life, it is an enjoyment of the celebration that is life, and the ability to spend time with friends and family and truly enjoy the moments.

For more information on healthy aging, please visit nia.nih.gov.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




August Awareness
August: Cataract Awareness Month

“Cataract is the world’s leading cause of blindness, accounting for approximately 42 percent of all cases of blindness in all nations.” (Preventblindness.com). Unfortunately, this is a very serious issue that can affect people especially as they age. Cataracts are when the eye lens clouds and makes vision blurry and dim and can get progressively worse. Early detection is paramount. With education about this disease, we can reduce these numbers because this can be treated through a surgery with 95% success rates. Ways to reduce the likelihood of cataracts and to possibly detect it early include:

  • Eating healthy foods, including appropriate amounts of vitamin C and E
  • Quit smoking
  • When in prolonged direct sunlight, wear sunglasses
  • Limit alcohol
  • Monitor blood sugar levels
  • Regular eye exams-get a complete eye exam at least every 2-4 years and 1-2 years if over 65

Cataracts can be scary for all those involved but with a healthy lifestyle, consistent exams, and a proactive mindset its effect can be reduced.

For more information on cataract awareness, please visit preventblindness.com.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




July Awareness
July: Childhood Obesity Month

Childhood obesity is an epidemic that can have dramatic effects. Obesity in 2- to 19-year-olds was around 19.3% and affected 14.4 million children and adolescents according to the CDC. Excessive eating of high calorie, low nutrient foods such as soft drinks and candy will lead to high weight gain. Also, a lack of consistent sleep patterns can negatively affect health. High blood pressure, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, breathing problems, skeletal problems, fatty liver disease, heartburn, and many other physiological health issues can arise from obesity. Not to mention the psychological issues that can come with it including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, lower reported quality of life, and social problems like bullying (CDC). Finally, health problems that will carry on into adulthood, as children that are obese are extremely likely to continue being obese as they age. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk are all increased with obesity.

Encourage an active life. Encourage safe outdoor playing, athletics, exercising, and health education. Drastically reduce the availability of candy, soft drinks, unhealthy fast foods, and other calorically dense foods. Reduce overall screen time and enforce a consistent sleep schedule of a minimum of 8 hours a day. These actions will not be easy, but consistency and education will go a long way. It is worth it for the health of your child or those around you.

For more information on childhood obesity, please visit cdc.gov.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




June Awareness
June: Men's Health Month

Men take charge of your health! Often, the only time men go to the doctor is if they are sick or have a medical emergency. However, a preventative health focus, instead of reactive health focus, is often far less expensive and time consuming. Take the time to visit a healthcare provider just to ensure that no underlying issues are creeping up. Stay fit. Your work may be active but often that is not enough to get the health benefits of exercise. Be sure to incorporate both resistance and cardiovascular endurance work. Cut out smoking and if you must drink, do so in moderation. Know your family health history and make sure you are up to date on all shots and checkups. Try adding a handful of greens to your meals and eat one less snack. To protect others, you must first ensure you are protected.

A few stats on US men’s health from the CDC:

  • 14.9% Percent of men aged 18 and over in fair or poor health
  • 40.5% Percent of men aged 20 and over with obesity
  • 51.9% Percent of men aged 20 and over with hypertension
  • Leading Causes of Death: Heart Disease, Cancer, and Accidents

Most of these issues are treatable and not the end of the line. By redirecting your path and making a few easy choices you can increase your health and longevity.

For more information on Men’s Health, please visit cdc.gov.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




May Awareness
May: Women's Health Month

This month we would like to look at the importance of Women’s health. Taking care of others is important but don’t forget to look after yourself as well. 2 out of every 3 caregivers in the US are women and have higher risk for poor physical and mental health. Stay up to date with all doctor appointments. It is always easier to deal with problems if caught earlier. Mammograms and gynecological care are both important to maintain overall health. Make time for a consistent sleep schedule and try for 7 hours of sleep minimum. This is one of the best ways to fight stress, fully recover from a hard day’s work, and awaken fresh and ready to take on the day. Don’t neglect resistance training. Women need a mix of cardio and resistance training 3-5 times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, and to stay in shape. Finally, find healthy ways to crush stress in your life. Such as: meditation, walks, reducing caffeine and sugar, exercise, and getting adequate amounts of vitamin B. This can seem daunting but will be totally worth it over time.

For more information on Women’s Health, please visit womenshealth.gov.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




April Awareness
April: Youth Health Month

This month is Youth Health Month. According to the WHO (World Health Org.) more than 1.1 million adolescents died in 2016, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. Tragically, half of all mental health disorders in adulthood start by age 14, mostly undetected and untreated. Needless to say, this demographic is extremely important and should be at the forefront of our society’s mind.

The WHO says that promoting healthy behaviors during adolescence and taking steps to better protect young people from health risks are critical. Some of these steps include providing sexual health education, providing safe and supportive environments, keeping track of all medicines in the household, and securely storing firearms. Also, don’t neglect promoting a healthy lifestyle. It may be easier to eat out and let kids play video games all night but going for walks, playing in parks, trying out team sports, and spending time together are all great ways to help the youth.

Remember: Know your family heart health history, eat healthy (small changes go a long way), workout at least 150 minutes a week, and don’t smoke!

For more information on Youth Health, please visit CDC.gov.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




March Awareness
March: Kidney Health Month

This month is Kidney Health Month. Our kidneys do much more than just filter out waste products and toxins. They also regulate our pH, salt, potassium, and blood pressure through hormones they produce. The kidneys help make Vitamin D into a useful form in the body. Vitamin D is vitally important as well, with the CDC showing more than half of all Americans having low levels of Vitamin D. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 Americans over 20 years old show evidence of Chronic Kidney Disease. Kidney disease can cause heart disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and neuropathy.

According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) if you or a loved one may be at risk you should ask your PCP about 3 tests that may be lifesaving. First, a Blood Pressure test to check for high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in kidneys. Second, a Urine Test that checks protein content in urine. Thirdly, a Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) test. This measures how the kidneys filter blood. The NKF suggests lowering high blood pressure, manage blood sugar levels, reduce salt intake, avoid NSAIDs, moderate protein consumption, and get an annual flu shot.

For more information on Kidney Health, please visit kidney.org.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




February Awareness
February: Heart Health Month

Did you know that the heart beats about 2.5 billion times over a lifetime, and it pumps about 2000 gallons of blood a day? This incredible piece of you helps support every aspect of your health. Whether carrying oxygen from the lungs, nutrients to your cells, removing waste by-products, or fighting infection.

The CDC recommends that you know you heart health history. Ask your family about their overall heart health and if there are and underlying conditions you should be aware of. Help your heart out by eating a healthy diet, reducing added sugars (like sodas), and trans fats. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake can have a big impact as well. Regular exercise, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week, is a must for a strong healthy heart. Finally, one of the best things someone can do to improve not only their heart health but their overall health is to completely cut out smoking.

Remember: Know your family heart health history, eat healthy (small changes go a long way), workout at least 150 minutes a week, and don’t smoke!

For more information on Heart Health, please visit CDC.gov.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




January Awareness
January: Mental Health Month

We’re all in this together! Mental health is a tremendously important aspect of overall health and something that we should strive to make a high priority in our lives. We often feel alone in our feelings and thoughts. According to the National Council for Behavior Health 1 in 5 American Adults experience a mental illness. However, there is always hope. Around 70-90% of people who seek proper treatment for mental health witness a significant reduction in symptoms. If we take the time to connect with others and try and understand their feelings, we will see that we all deal with difficulties and that together we can overcome them. Own your feelings, take the time to understand why you feel a certain way. Find the positives in all things. Eliminate toxic influences and create healthy routines. Finally, never hesitate to reach out to a mental health specialist.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




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