This is a month long national holiday committing to educating children on proper oral health. It brings together dental professionals, health care workers, and teachers to promote the benefits of good oral health within children. For 2021, the National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM)’s particular theme is “Water, Nature’s Drink!”.
Tips for maintaining children’s dental health:
Schedule routine dental check ups. If it has been more than 6 months since their last visit, schedule an appointment
Teach them how to floss their teeth. Then, they can teach you the floss dance move in return
Brush twice a day for the appropriate amount of time.
Snack healthy. Fruit snacks and sticky candies all are threats to your child’s teeth. Rather than sugary snacks, feed them calcium-rich snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. If you want to fulfill a sugar craving, ttry eating a chocolate bar which is preferable to gummy or sticky sweets that can get lodged in between the teeth even after brushing.
Drink water! Fruit juices and sodas are very sugary and can be harmful for children’s teeth. Water helps to rinse away any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities.
How can I create a lesson plan to teach Children’s dental health:
Here is a great resource for creating a lesson plan to help educate children as well as learn how you can get involved and spread the word. This site contains poster, coloring activities, and dental information!
This time of year, it’s common to see Valentine hearts pretty much everywhere. And while it’s great to celebrate with your loved ones in the spirit of St. Valentine, there’s another heart you shouldn’t be neglecting (hint: it’s the one keeping you alive!). If you’ve been keeping up with our blog for awhile, you already know how to recognize the signs of heart attacks and strategies to maintain your cardiovascular health (and if you haven’t seen those blog posts yet, go check them out!). Today, we’re addressing common myths about heart disease, just in time for American Heart Month.
MYTH: Heart failure occurs when your heart stops beating. FACT: That’s actually cardiac arrest! Heart failure, on the other hand, simply means that your heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. The symptoms of these two conditions also differ: a person in cardiac arrest may fall unconscious and stop breathing, while a person with heart failure may experience a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or swelling of the feet and ankles.
MYTH: Women, especially young women, don’t need to worry about heart disease.
FACT: Heart disease kills over a fourth of women and men, so no one should get too complacent. The same risk factors that predispose men to heart disease (such as obesity, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes) also put women at risk. However, men are more likely to get heart attacks in their mid-50s, while women are more likely to get them in their mid-60s.
MYTH: It’s dangerous to exercise if you have heart disease.
FACT: If anything, it’s dangerous not to! If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, you should make an exercise plan that works with you for your doctor and be sure to follow it. Exercise helps strengthen your heart muscle, and it’s been found to reduce the likelihood of people with heart disease having a first or another heart attack. Studies have also shown that heart attack survivors who implement healthy changes and start exercising regularly tend to live longer than those who don’t.
MYTH: You don’t need to think about your cholesterol levels until you’re middle-aged.
FACT: You should get your cholesterol levels checked beginning at age 20 (and maybe even earlier if heart disease runs in your family) and at least every 5 years after that. Meanwhile, you should continue eating a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats and getting enough physical activity, so that your cholesterol remains at a healthy level.
MYTH: If heart disease runs in your family, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.
FACT: Genetics is just one piece of the puzzle. Although you may be at higher risk if you have a family history of heart disease, you can still take steps to significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease: get enough physical activity, keep your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and blood sugar at a healthy level, and quit or don’t start smoking.
Despite an estimated 80% of cardiovascular disease being preventable, it continues to claim the lives of nearly 1 in 3 Americans today. This Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love and commit to keeping your real heart in the best shape possible. And as always, stay healthy and stay safe!
World Cancer Day (02/01/2021) was started in 2000 by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). This was a global initiative that is now celebrated internationally. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. It is a growing health issue that needs to be addressed.
What is Cancer?
Cancer arises when abnormal cells begin to divide uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. They have the ability to infiltrate and destroy healthy tissue. There are many different types of cancer typically attributed based on the location of the tumor (the abnormal cell clump).
This year’s Theme for World Cancer Day: “I Am and I Will”
This year’s theme is focusing on what “I am” and what “I will” be. The campaign is geared to pull people together and make a difference within the health world. This slogan will be spread on February 4th to celebrate and support this holiday.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to educate ourselves about this condition that affects over 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of irreversible blindness today. There is no cure for glaucoma, so early detection and treatment are essential for preserving vision.
Glaucoma is actually not a single disease, but rather a group of diseases that progressively damage the optic nerve. The most common form, primary open-angle glaucoma, involves deterioration of the optic nerve tissue that is gradual and painless. For this reason, those affected may lose a significant portion of their vision without even noticing. Another type of glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma, which can be acute or chronic. Acute angle-closure glaucoma may be accompanied by symptoms such as:
Pain and redness in the eye
Halos or colored rings appearing around lights
Nausea and vomiting
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency, so you should go to the emergency room or ophthalmologist immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Both primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma involve an increase in intraocular pressure, which is the pressure inside your eye. This happens when there is either an overproduction of fluid inside your eye or improper drainage of it.
The best way to protect yourself from glaucoma is to get regular comprehensive eye examinations. If detected early enough, there are a variety of glaucoma treatments that help reduce pressure in the eye and slow the damage to the optic nerve, including medications, surgery, and drainage implants. You should also be aware of the risk factors of glaucoma, which include:
Age: People over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Race: Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Alaskan people are at an increased risk for certain types of glaucoma.
Family history: If someone in your family has had glaucoma, you may also be at an increased risk for developing it.
Eye injury: Past trauma to the eye can cause intraocular pressure to increase, increasing the risk of glaucoma in the future.
Medical conditions: People with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or sickle cell anemia may have a greater risk of glaucoma.
Eye anatomy: Having thin corneas, sensitive optic nerves, or extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness may increase risk of glaucoma.
Medications: Prolonged use of corticosteroids may increase risk of secondary glaucoma.
The National Eye Institute predicts that the number of Americans with glaucoma could double over the next three decades. Educating yourself about it now is a smart step, and you can now share what you’ve learned with your friends and family. Enjoy the rest of the month, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!
Heart attacks or myocardial infarctions are caused due to a blockage within the heart’s arteries. The arteries take blood from within the heart and distribute it away from the heart either to the body or the lungs. If the arteries are blocked, the blood circulation within the heart becomes disturbed. This means that the heart isn’t getting enough blood or oxygen flowing through it, which can lead to a heart attack. Think of the blocked artery like a clogged pipe. If a pipe is clogged, then only a reduced amount of water can run through at a less efficient rate. Similarly, if an artery is blocked, blood has trouble flowing through.
Why do Heart Attacks occur?
A clogged artery is caused by the buildup of fat or cholesterol in the arteries.
What is Cholesterol- a fatty like substance that is made in the liver and is taken in through foods. We measure two types of cholesterol LDL and HDL. LDL- is the “bad” kind of cholesterol because it builds up plaque in your arteries. LDL is often consumed as saturated fats or trans fats through foods. Meanwhile, HDL- is the “better” kind of fat because high levels of it can prevent blockage.
Other important risk factors include:
-High blood pressure
– High cholesterol
-Family history/ Genetics
What are the symptoms?
There are symptoms that occur before a heart attack. Paying attention and monitoring how you’re feeling can help you catch the warning signs.
Angina- chest pain around the heart
Dyspnea – shortness of breath
Nausea- discomfort in the stomach making you feel sick
What can be done to prevent a heart attack?
Maintain a heart healthy diet primarily by lowering your LDL intake
Try to lower a high blood pressure
Stay physically active
What is a healthy Heart Diet?
Maintaining a healthy heart diet can reduce your risk for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. It can also lower your risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
A healthy heart requires a diverse diet of fibers, fruits, and veggies. Here are some healthy food groups to eat:
Healthy Fats: Avoid saturated fats and trans fats for they are known to increase your LDL () cholesterol. These “bad” fats can be found in oily foods that are solid at room temperature like butter, full fat dairy products, and fatty meats. Trans fats are normally found in processed foods such as fried foods and baked goods. Try consuming healthy fats such as almonds, nuts, olive oil, flaxseeds, and avocado. These are considered healthier because they are unsaturated fats (which increase your HDL). They are easier for your body to break down and don’t leave a fatty residue that could later cause a clog in arteries.
Beware of Dairy: Dairy can contain a lot of saturated fats. So be sure to choose low fat or fat free dairy products in order to help keep your saturated fats in check. This can be done by simply changing your milk from 2% to skim.
Whole Grains: Ever seen the label on that whole wheat non sugary cereal box that says “heart healthy”? Well, they’re talking about whole grains! Whole grains contain fiber. There are two types of fibers soluble and insoluble. The difference between the two is that one can dissolve in water while the other can not. The soluble fiber can dissolve and create a gel like form that helps improve digestion, lower your blood cholesterol and sugar! The insoluble fiber is known for attracting water into your stool which makes it easier to have a bowel movement. But don’t be fooled, not all whole grains are healthy. For example, healthy whole grains are not sugary cereal. Rather, it’s plain oats, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. So grab a bowl of oatmeal and dig in to get those fibers!
Produce Produce Produce! All the produce! Eat a variety of fruits and veggies to maintain a healthy diet. They are low in calories and high in fiber. Fresh produce is best. But if you opt for canned or frozen fruits/veggies that’s okay too! Just make sure to check the labels for added salts or sugars that may have been used to preserve the produce.
Meats. It is true that meat is a great source of protein. However, lots of american loved meats such as burgers, hotdogs, steak, or bacon all contain high levels of saturated fats. Try eating meats that have less of these saturated fats such as fish and shellfish. With any meat, make sure to pay attention to your portion control. Typically your plate should contain a balance of ¼ meats to ½ veggies. It also matters how you cook the meat. Baking, broiling, or roasting are healthier and use less oil than pan frying or deep frying.
Other important factors:
Eating healthy is one part of reducing your risk for artery clots, but it’s a healthy lifestyle that will prevent most from heart attacks.
1 . Exercise: Staying active regularly can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It helps your metabolism and “builds” a healthy strong heart.
2. Drinking water: What are the downsides of drinking water? I mean really. I know drinking water is always listed as the “cure all” for everything, but it is an important part in everyone’s diet. Drinking water is important for staying hydrated, but primarily people are encouraged to drink water to deter against its sugar filled soda alternatives. Try not to grab the soda or energy drinks. They can contain a lot of unnecessary sugars. Rather, focus on drinking water (or no sugar added drinks like black coffee/tea).
3. Stop Smoking. You’ve heard that smoking damages your lungs, but it also puts a lot of stress on your heart. But why? Nicotine creates an adrenaline rush which can raise your blood pressure and make your heart beat faster. Smoking thickens your blood which makes it more likely to clot and cause blockage in an artery. Similarly, smoking can also worsen coronary artery disease because it damages the lining in your coronary arteries which makes it more difficult for blood to flow to your heart. Lastly, smoking can decrease the amount of oxygen that gets to your heart, which makes the heart have to work extra hard to get it’s needed oxygen levels to the body. Although it’s difficult to quit smoking, this is one of the main recommendations among doctors to maintain a healthy heart.
4. Portion sizes: It’s one thing to eat healthy, but now you need to know how much to eat. Normally it is suggested that your plate should consist of 3 oz of meat, 1 cup of produce, 1 teaspoon of saturated fats, 1-2 tablespoons of a condiment, and maybe 1-2 oz of nuts, pretzels, or cracker like foods. Here’s a helpful infographic for visualizing your correct portion sizes.
Did you know heart attacks are more common in December and January than in other months? A multitude of factors may contribute to this pattern, one being the cold temperatures, which cause blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise, ultimately putting more strain on the heart. Excessive indulgence (such as in salt, fat, and alcohol), emotional stress, and the tendency to put off seeking medical treatment during the holidays may also play a role. This means that now is the perfect time to learn (or brush up on) the most common signs of a heart attack, so that if you find yourself or a loved one in this situation, you can act quickly and minimize the damage done to the heart.
You’re likely familiar with the classic heart attack symptom, severe chest pain (often compared to the feeling that an elephant is sitting on your chest), but this isn’t the only symptom you should be aware of, especially if you’re a woman. Although both men and women can experience this kind of pressure on their chest, women are more likely to have heart attacks and not experience this tell-tale symptom. For this reason, you should know the other symptoms of heart attacks in women:
Shortness of breath
Lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or nausea
Sleep disturbances and/or unusual fatigue
Gas-like pain or discomfort in the stomach
Pain in the jaw
Pain in the upper back, shoulders, or one or both arms
For men, too, there are other symptoms you should know to look out for in addition to the typical chest pain and pressure:
Shortness of breath
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Pain or discomfort in the upper body (one or both arms, left shoulder, back, neck, or jaw)
Gas-like pain or discomfort in the stomach
If you suspect you or a loved one may be having a heart attack, don’t hesitate to seek help. The first thing you should do is call 911 right away. While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, chew a normal dose of aspirin— this will help slow the blood clotting. Try to stay calm and sit or lie down near the door.
Heart attacks can be scary, but by learning about the symptoms now, you’re preparing yourself to take swift action if the need ever arises. Kudos for prioritizing your health, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!
World AIDS Day is held on December 1st and it is a day dedicated towards spreading awareness and information about the virus. This day allows people to mourn the loss of family, friends, and partners who have fought the virus as well as reminds people to continue to support medical researchers who are actively looking for a cure. In order to demonstrate a network of support for these families, let us take this day to honor all those who fought and are fighting AIDS.
Quick AIDS/ HIV facts:
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. While AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
AIDS is not the same as HIV. HIV is a virus that can lead to AIDS. If infected with HIV, then the virus resides in your blood, particularly white blood cells, which help your immune system. However, people are diagnosed with AIDS when HIV grows and starts killing their immune cells. This weakens their immune system and leaves the person vulnerable to infections and illnesses ranging from pneumonia to cancer. Therefore, AIDS is a stage of HIV in which the immune system becomes very weak due to HIV.
Nearly 38 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Many of them do not know they are infected and may be spreading the virus to others.
HIV has not been cured. There is still ongoing research on how to prevent and stop this disease.
HIV can be transmited through semen, vaginal fluids, anal fluids, breastmilk, and blood
Although only started in 1988, World Aids day was the first ever global health day!
People with HIV may have concerns for their risk of COVID19. Here are 2 helpful links. One is from the CDC that answers the general question you may be having. While the other link is from HIV.gov and has specific recommendations on preventable measures that can be taken to avoid getting COVID with HIV. Please note that information on the Coronavirus is still new and being obtained. Changes and updates in information will be posted on these sites.
In the U.S., approximately 25 percent of new HIV cases occur among young people between the ages of 13-24. Therefore, it is particularly important for students to speak up and spread awareness through organizational efforts.