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Health Topics of Interest

Diabetes

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Diabetes is becoming more and more common among Americans. In the U.S. 29.1 million children and adults, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes. 86 million Americans age 20 and older have pre-diabetes. It is also a very costly disease with annual costs in the U.S. totaling approximately $245 billion (2012). Medical expenditures were 2.3 times higher for those with diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

If you or your child has any of the following symptoms, you should consult a physician:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and irritability

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this form, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is needed to break down all of the sugars and starches that you eat into glucose, which is the basic fuel for cells in the body. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, you begin to see complications.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should consult a physician:

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder

*often people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms.

Who is at greater risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

  • If you are over age 45
  • If you have a family history of diabetes
  • If you are overweight
  • If you do not exercise regularly
  • If you have low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure

Source: American Diabetes Association

First Aid & CPR

City of Bryan offers Red Cross First Aid & CPR courses throughout the year. We offer both courses for first time attendees as well as renewal courses. You may also contact Risk Management at 209-5056 if you have questions about courses or qualifications.

Register for an upcoming course

Men’s Health

Heart Disease and Men

More than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the single major cause of death of American males. Cardiovascular disease includes several different conditions affecting the function of the heart. These include:
Coronary heart disease (including heart attack), abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, heart valve disease, congenital heart disease, heart muscle disease, pericardial disease, aorta disease and vascular disease.

Common or “Classic” signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain-pressure, tightness or ache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Pain in one or both arms

“Atypical” signs of a heart attack:

  • Back, neck or jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Risk factors you can’t control:

  • Increasing age
  • Sex (gender)- men are more likely than women to have a heart attack
  • Heredity
  • Previous heart attack or stroke

Risk factors you can control:

  • Smoking-tobacco use is a major cause of heart disease among women
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Prostate Cancer

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a small gland (about the size of a walnut) that sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. While the prostate is not essential for life, it is important for reproduction. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America. This form of cancer affects 1 in 6 men. Simple screenings and an exam can lead to early detection of prostate cancer. Screening usually begins between the ages of 40 and 50 depending on individual risk.

To read more about prostate cancer along with its signs, symptoms and treatments, click on the links below.

Men’s Health Checklist provided by the Urological Care Foundation:

Women’s Health

Menopause

Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility in women and is a normal biological process. Menopause can be caused by various different causes including the natural decline of reproductive hormones, a hysterectomy, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy to name a few.

Symptoms:

  • Irregular periods
  • Decreased fertility
  • Hot flashes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Thinning hair
  • Loss of breast fullness

It is always best to check with your physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Your doctor may need to do an evaluation including blood work to make a diagnosis.

Read more about menopause

Heart Disease and Women

Although most people think of heart disease as a “man’s disease,” it can and does affect women.  In fact, it is the number one killer of women in the United States.  Know the risk factors, preventative measures along with the signs and symptoms.

Common signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain-pressure, tightness or ache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Pain in one or both arms

“Atypical” signs of a heart attack:

  • Back, neck or jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness 

Risk factors you can’t control:

  • Increasing age
  • Gender- men are more likely than women to have a heart attack
  • Heredity
  • Previous heart attack or stroke

Risk factors you can control:

  • Smoking-tobacco use is a major cause of heart disease among women
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

For more information visit:

Breast Cancer and Screening

Breast Cancer affects 1 in 8 women and for women in the United States.  The good news is, early detection through screening, increased awareness and advances in treatment have helped decrease the number of breast cancer deaths in recent years.

Regular breast cancer screening is vital. Three main tests are used to screen the breasts for cancer. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you, and when you should have them.

  • Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40 for as long as the woman is in good health.  If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend you get a mammogram earlier than usual.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE). A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.  A CBE should be done every 3 years or so for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and older.
  • Breast self-exam. A breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts for lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm (armpit).

 

Workplace Injury Prevention

Immunizations and Influenza

Immunizations are one of the most effective ways to protect children and adults against many common infectious diseases.  Visit with your healthcare provider or make an appointment at the City of Bryan Employee Health Center to make sure that you and your family are up to date on your immunizations.

Flu Vaccines are offered annually to all City employees and dependents (age 5 and up) on the City’s health plan at no charge through the City of Bryan/BISD Employee Health Center.

What is influenza?

Influenza (Flu) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses.  The flu can cause mild to severe illness and could potentially cause death in the elderly, young children and those who have other health conditions.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Some may experience vomiting and/or diarrhea

Flu Prevention

The flu vaccine is your best line of defense against the flu.  Flu vaccines are offered annually.  The City of Bryan offers vaccines to all employees at no cost.  Covered dependents (age 5 years and up) are able to get the vaccine through the Employee Health Center for no charge as well.

Other ways to avoid the flu include: avoiding those who are sick, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and staying home if you are sick.

For more information about the flu, please visit www.flu.gov .

Depression

Depression can affect both men and women of all ages.  Everyone has moments of sadness but generally these feelings are temporary and go away after a short period of time.  When these feelings linger and begin interfering with your daily life you may be suffering from depression.  Depression is a serious illness and most people may need treatment.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Persistent sad or anxious feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities you once found pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, consider visiting with your doctor about treatments that might help you.  You may also receive help through the City of Bryan’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Source: www.nimh.nih.gov

Smoking

Facts

  • Smoking causes damage to nearly every organ and is the leading cause of preventable death.
  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.
  • The adverse health effects of smoking account for nearly 480,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Smoking Risks

  • Smokers are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease by 2 to 4 times.
  • Smoking causes reduced circulation causing narrowing of the blood vessels.
  • In addition to causing lung cancer, smoking can also cause the following types of cancer:  bladder, esophageal, cervical, kidney, stomach, oral, and others.
  • Smoking can cause infertility, pre-term delivery and low birth weight.

Smokeless Tobacco

  • The two main types of smokeless tobacco are chewing tobacco and snuff.
  • Smokeless tobacco causes oral health problems, including cancer.
  • Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.
  • Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.

Quitting

Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States and it often takes a smoker multiple attempts to quit.

Effective treatments include:  Clinical interventions, counseling, over-the-counter and prescription nicotine replacement medications.

If you are interested in quitting, always discuss which method might work best for you with your physician. The following resources are available to smokers who are interested in quitting:

Colorectal Cancer

What is colorectal cancer?

Cancer of the colon or rectum is termed colorectal cancer. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon) and rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. In 2022, The American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 106,180 new cases of colon cancer and over 44,850 new cases of rectal cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in your stool
  • Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Narrower stools than usual
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

Risk Factors

  • Over the age of 50- Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur in older adults.
  • Colorectal Polyps-These are growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum and are common in people over the age of 50. Most polyps are benign, but some can become cancer.
  • Family history-If you have close relatives who have had colorectal cancer, you may be somewhat more likely to develop it as well.
  • Genetic alterations-Changes in certain genes can increase your risk.
  • Diet-Some studies show that diets high in fat may increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Personal History-It is possible for a person who has had colorectal cancer to develop it a second time.
  • Cigarette Smoking-A person who smokes may be at increased risk for developing polyps and colorectal cancer.

Screening for colorectal cancer

There are various screenings that can be done to detect colorectal cancer. Treatment of colorectal cancer is more effective if the disease is found early.

  • People age 50 and older should be screened.
  • People who are at high risk may need to be screened earlier than age 50.

You should always consult your medical provider about when you should be screened and which screening is best for you.
Source: www.cancer.org

Read more about colorectal cancer screening

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that leads to an increased risk of fracture.  It is common in the aging population, especially in women.  While osteoporosis is more common among women, it can still affect men.

 Risk factor for women:

  • Gender- Your chances for developing osteoporosis are greater if you are a woman.
  • Age- Your risk of osteoporosis increases as you age.
  • Body size- Slender, thin-boned women are at greater risk.
  • Race- Caucasian and Asian women are at greatest risk.
  • Family history
  • Sex hormone deficiencies- Low estrogen levels in women after menopause increase your risk.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits- Smoking, excessive alcohol use, inactivity, low calcium intake

Risk factors for men:

  • Chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach and intestines or alter hormone levels
  • Regular use of certain medications
  • Undiagnosed levels of low testosterone
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits:  smoking, excessive alcohol use, inactivity, low calcium intake
  • Age-your risk increases with age
  • Race-Caucasian men seem to be at higher risk although all men can develop this disease

What can be done to prevent Osteoporosis

  • Get enough calcium each day– Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take a calcium supplement or if you are getting enough in your daily diet.
  • Get enough vitamin D each day– Vitamin D is produced in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight.  It helps your body absorb calcium from the food you eat.
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of exercise– Exercise helps slow bone loss, improves balance and muscle strength.
  • Do not smoke
  • Drink alcohol in moderation–  Alcohol makes it more difficult for your body to use the calcium you take in and increases your risk for falls.
  • Medication– There are various medications that can be prescribed to prevent bone loss.  Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.

Source:  www.womenshealth.govwww.niams.nih.gov