January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

The Importance of Preventative Care
Cervical Health Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV
(human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It’s also a major
cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV don’t know they are
infected. The good news? HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine. Cervical cancer can often be prevented with
regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care.

Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer. Most deaths
from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular Pap tests and follow-up care.

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How can Cervical Health Awareness Month make a difference?

We can use this opportunity to spread the word about important steps women can take to stay healthy. Here are just a few ideas:

#1—Encourage women to get their well-woman visit this year.
#2— Let women know that the health care reform law covers well-woman visits and cervical cancer screening. This means that, de
pending on their insurance, women can get these services at no cost to them.
#3—Talk to parents about how important it is for their pre-teens to get the HPV vaccine.

781d934060190289712ea1a3a05dcc00Source: healthfinder.gov

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the January 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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All Pregnant Women Need Flu Shot: Ob/Gyn Group

All Pregnant Women Need Flu Shot: Ob/Gyn Group

A group representing U.S. obstetricians is calling for all pregnant women to get a flu shot. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), several studies released in recent years have upheld the safety and effectiveness of flu vaccination during pregnancy.

“The flu virus is highly infectious and can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women, as it can cause pneumonia, premature labor, and other complications,” Dr. Laura Riley, chair of the college’s Immunization Expert Work Group, explained. “Vaccination every year, early in the season and regardless of the stage of pregnancy, is the best line of defense,” she advised.

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The best time to get vaccinated is early in the flu season, regardless of the stage of pregnancy, the guidelines state. However, pregnant women can get a flu shot at any time during flu season, which typically lasts from October to May.  All women who are or become pregnant during the flu season should get the inactivated flu vaccine, which is also safe for women who have just given birth and those who are breastfeeding.

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However, pregnant women should not be given the live attenuated version of the flu vaccine (the nasal mist), according to the guidelines. Before the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, flu vaccination rates for pregnant women were only 15%.  That rose to 50% in the 2009-2010 flu season and has been around that mark every flu season since. However, vaccination rates could and should be even higher, according to the ACOG.

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Flu shots not only protect pregnant women, but their infants as well. Babies can’t be given flu vaccine until they are 6 months old, but receive flu antibodies from their vaccinated mother while in the womb. This provides them with protection until they can be vaccinated directly.

Source: http://www.healthfinder.gov

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the September 2014 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Mellow Music May Help Stave Off Road Rage

Mellow Music May Help Stave Off Road Rage

A quick switch to mellow music in the car may make you a safer driver, researchers say. Promptly changing to soothing music is the most effective way to calm down while driving in stressful conditions that could trigger road rage, found the study published in the journal Ergonomics.

It was already known that music can influence mood and driving styles. More accidents occur when drivers listen to “upbeat” music, possibly because the music is more distracting or because it causes drivers to go faster. Downbeat music is more relaxing and associated with safer driving.

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However, there were questions about whether a quick or gradual switch from upbeat to downbeat music was most effective in changing drivers’ moods. To get answers, researchers had volunteers tackle demanding driving conditions in a simulator while they listened to different types of music.

Participants who switched to more mellow music abruptly or gradually both reached the same levels of calmness eventually. However, those who made the switch quickly became calm sooner and made fewer driving mistakes, according to a journal news release.

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The results show that “during high-demand driving, abrupt changes in music led to more physiological calmness and improved driving performance and were thus safer and more effective,” concluded researcher Marjolein van der Zwaag, of Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, and colleagues in the Netherlands and at Stanford University in California.

The investigators said their findings could also apply to office or hospital settings to encourage or relax listeners.

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Source: http://www.healthfinder.gov

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, October 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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Shopping Around Brings Steep Prescription Drug Savings

Shopping Around Brings Steep Prescription Drug Savings

Prescription drug prices at U.S. pharmacies can vary widely, and failing to shop around could result in people overpaying by as much as $100 or more a month on average, depending on the drug, a new study finds.

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Researchers at Consumer Reports called more than 200 pharmacies across the United States to get retail prices (out-of-pocket costs) for a one-month supply of five popular medicines that have recently gone generic. The medicines were: the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone); the antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram); the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (astorvastatin); the blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel); and the asthma drug Singulair (montelukast).

For a one-month supply of these drugs, there was a $749 difference between the highest– and lowest-priced stores—a more than four-fold difference, according to the study in the May issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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Overall, Costco outlets had the lowest retail prices and CVS had the highest, the report found. Among the specific findings:

  • A month’s supply of generic Lipitor cost $17 at Costco, compared with $150 at CVS. Prices at Rite Aid and Target were also high.
  • A month’s supply of generic Lexapro cost $7 at Costco and $126 at CVS. On average, Rite Aid, Walgreens and grocery store pharmacies also charged higher prices.
  • A month’s supply of generic Plavix cost $12 at HealthWarehouse.com, and $15 at Costco, compared with $180 at CVS.

Different business approaches are one reason for the wide price variations, according to Lisa Gill, prescription drugs editor at Consumer Reports. “It really comes down to a store’s business model. For example, big box stores tend to use their pharmacies as a way to get consumers through the door with the expectation that they’ll buy other things,” she explained in a Consumer Reports news release.

If you want to get the best deals, shop around and always request the lowest price, Gill advised. “A consumer can’t assume that the price of their prescription medications is set in stone,” she said. “One of the big takeaways is that you have to ask for the best price and see if your pharmacist will work with you. Especially for the independent pharmacies, if they want to retain your business and loyalty, they will help you get the best price,” she said.

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Other ways to save money include:

  • Using generic drugs, which contain the same active ingredients as brand name drugs.
  • Getting refills for 90 days, not 30 days. Most pharmacies offer price reductions on a three-month supply of a medicine.
  • Look for other discounts. All chain and big-box pharmacies offer discount generic drug programs, with some selling hundreds of generic drugs for $4 a month or $10 for a three-month supply.
  • Try shopping in rural areas. The study found that some grocery store pharmacies and independent drug stores had higher prices in cities than in rural locations. For example, a 30-day supply of generic Actos cost $203 at a pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C., compared with $37 at a pharmacy in a rural area of the state.

Source: http://www.healthfinder.gov

Provided by the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the April 2013 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter by Rebecca McGonigle.

 

 

Just Lowering Fat Intake can Shed Pounds, Study Finds

Arizonahealthspot.org is all about healthy living, fun, and positive health and community news.  We NEVER recommend that you DIET.  We recommend that you eat healthy, stay active, and live a healthy lifestyle.  Diets are usually more destructive than helpful, whereas lifestyle changes and a better choice of foods, are the keys to looking good and feeling good.  Here is a story shared with us from the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) Wellstyles February 2013 Monthly Newsletter, edited by Rebecca McGonigle.  Thank you VSEBT for all the great information you provide!

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Just Lowering Fat Intake can Shed Pounds, Study Finds

The key to a slimmer figure is not necessarily dieting, but just cutting back on fat intake, a new British study suggests. Researchers from the University of East Anglia found that simply replacing high-fat foods with low-fat alternatives helped people lose roughly 3.5 pounds. Reducing fat intake also resulted in lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels. The study authors suggested that the findings may play a critical role in global dietary recommendations, because being overweight or obese increases the risk for many cancers, heart disease and stroke.

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The researchers reviewed 33 randomized, controlled trials in North America, Europe and New Zealand that involved over 73,500 men, women and children with a variety of health histories. A randomized, controlled study is one in which people are randomly assigned to different groups: one group receives the treatment and the other does not receive the treatment (the “control” group).

For at least six months, the investigators compared the weight and waistline measurements of those who cut back on their fat intake with the same measurements of those who did not alter their eating habits. In addition to losing weight, the study found that eating less fat reduced the participants’ body mass index (BMI, a measurement of body fat based on height and weight) and waist circumference slightly. The researchers pointed out that none of the participants were dieting or trying to lose weight, and they added that the weight came off quickly and wasn’t regained for at least seven years.

“The weight reduction that we found when people ate less fat was remarkably consistent—we saw it in almost every trial. Those who cut down more on fat, lost more weight,” study leader Dr. Lee Hooper, from the university’s Norwich Medical School, said in a journal news release. “The effect isn’t dramatic, like going on a diet. The research specifically looked at people who were cutting down on fat, but didn’t aim to lose weight, so they were continuing to consume a normal amount of food. What surprised us was that they did lose weight, their BMI decreased and their waists became slimmer,” Hooper added.

One expert explained why fat calories are the worst. “Fat calories are more dense, and the fat that we add to food is usually palatable, increasing our desire to want to eat more,” Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist and fitness trainer at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC. “So, figure you decrease your fat intake, which decreases your total caloric intake and [leaves] you less likely to crave and overeat.”

Although the study did not differentiate between types of fat, Hooper’s team pointed out that cutting down on saturated fat is the healthiest approach since it reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. “This means having low-fat milk and yogurt, cutting down on butter and cheese and cutting the fat off meat,” noted Hooper. “Most importantly, have fruit instead of fatty snacks like biscuits, cake and crisps. And remember, this isn’t a diet, so don’t take it to extremes, but work out a way of eating that you can stick to permanently.”

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Study co-author Carolyn Summerbell, from Durham University, said, “A healthy diet is a way of eating that people can sustain over time. That’s the trick, to find a comfortable way to eat that you can stick to for life, which helps you maintain your weight. Cutting down on fat will help.” Zarabi put it this way: “You are what you eat. Put the cheap fuel in, and you’re left with low-quality health.”

The researchers said more studies are needed to investigate the effect of reduced fat intake on body weight in developing countries, as well as in children.

Source: http://www.healthfinder.gov