Take 12 Steps for Health
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TAKE 12 THIS MONTH?
Step 8: Know Your Numbers
Knowing your numbers is a good way to keep your body healthy. Schedule routine visits with your doctor to keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and weight.
Making Healthy Strides
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Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle
Lifestyle modifications are essential. These changes may reduce your blood pressure without the use of prescription medications. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as eating sensibly, exercising regularly, sleeping, reducing stress and not smoking are critical for the health of your heart. Think of these changes as a "lifestyle prescription" and make every effort to comply with them.
You can undermine your healthy efforts with a high-salt diet, limited physical activity, high stress level, being overweight, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and not taking prescription medications properly.
Source: American Heart Association, Prevention & Treatment of High Blood Pressure
Screenings: What and When?
Getting recommended screening tests are one of the most important things you can do for your health. Screenings are medical tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms and may find diseases early when they are easier to treat. There is no set timeframe on when to do a screening and it should be discussed with your doctor before being performed. Which tests you need depends on your age, your gender, your family history, and whether you have risk factors for certain diseases.
- Cardiorespiratory health
- High blood pressure
- Bone Density
- Hearing or vision loss
- Breast and cervical cancer for women
- Prostate cancer for men
After a screening test, ask when you will get the results and whom to talk to about them. Want more info on health screenings? Visit the websites of these sources:
Sources: Healthfinder.gov, Mayo Clinic, National Library of Medicine
In the Healthy Zone
Want to know more about your health? Get to know your numbers for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight. Getting your numbers checked regularly and knowing what they mean is a great step toward better health. Staying in the healthy range is important for optimal health and life longevity.
Blood sugar (a.k.a. blood glucose) is the amount of sugar found in your blood. Before eating, your number should be less than 100, and two hours after eating it should be less than 140. In adults, a blood sugar test is generally used to see whether blood sugar is too high and if you are at risk for Diabetes.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the arteries when the heart beats (top number) and rests (bottom number). Your number should within the normal range of 90/60 to 120/80. When you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, the force of blood against your artery walls is too strong. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart, and kidneys if it is not treated. With high blood pressure, the heart works harder, your arteries take a beating, and your chances of a stroke, heart attack, and kidney problems are greater.
Blood cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver. Too much can make it harder for blood to circulate. Your total cholesterol score should be less than 200. A cholesterol test measures the amount of cholesterol in your blood. This helps your doctor figure out your risk for heart disease.
Your ideal body weight depends on your gender, age, height and frame. Body Mass Index (BMI) provides a good guideline. Your BMI should be between 18.6 - 24.9. BMI takes into account not just your weight, but also your height to indicate body fat. Online BMI calculators are accurate and easy to use, or you can calculate BMI yourself, following the steps below:
- Multiply your height in inches by your height in inches (you are squaring the number).
- Divide your weight in pounds by that square number.
- Multiply that result by 703.
- The answer is your BMI.
Source: University of Kentucky UK Health Care Gill Heart Institute, Know Your Numbers
Fight the Bite!
The bite of an infected mosquito, tick or other disease carrying
insect may result in a life-changing illness, such as West Nile
virus or Lyme disease. Fairfax County Health Department’s Disease
Carrying Insects Program works to minimize the threat of
Here are some tips to Fight the Bite of mosquitos and ticks:
- Defend yourself: Wear insect repellent containing DEET. Repellents with DEET can be applied to exposed skin to help repel insects.
- Avoid peak times: Stay indoors at dawn and early evening.
- Dress right: Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors. Use permethrin on clothing. Permethrin kills ticks and there are formulations to treat your clothes sold at sporting goods stores.
- Keep them outside: Install, repair or replace screens on both windows and doors.
- Examine yourself, gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine animals, coats and backpacks. Promptly remove any attached ticks.
The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:
- Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
- Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
- Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
- Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
- Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!