6 Things You Can do to Prevent Breast Cancer

A More Healthful Lifestyle Can Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

An apple a day may keep the doctor away. It might seem simple, but the truth is that living a more healthful lifestyle has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as many other cancers, regardless of your family history.

Be sure to talk with your health care provider, especially when it comes to how your family history impacts your risk. However, it’s been shown that moving more and eating better has a positive impact on your health and overall lifetime risk of cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, about 33 percent of breast cancer cases can potentially be prevented with some basic lifestyle changes. 

1. Lose it

Maintaining a healthy weight puts you at a lower risk for developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, studies have shown that losing even a modest amount of weight (approximately seven percent of your body weight) can improve your health. Maintaining a BMI under 26, especially in post-menopausal women, has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

2. Move

A small amount of exercise can add big results. Studies have shown that 150 minutes of exercise per week can impact weight loss. Try a new class, join a gym or simply go on a 10-minute walk after most of your meals. Find something that interests you so you’ll stick with it and start slowly to avoid injury.

3. Focus on plants

Eating a plant-based diet rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables can provide a variety of healthful antioxidants that have been shown to prevent cancer. Other foods offering cancer-reducing effects include soy, green tea, turmeric, ground flaxseed, the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, as well as fish oil, garlic and onions.

4. Try soy

In Asia, where soy consumption is much higher, the rates of breast cancer are much lower. It’s considered safe to consume one-to-two servings of soy per day by eating foods like tofu, edamame and protein bars. Although because soy can act as an estrogen in the body, there are different recommendations for those who have a family risk of estrogen-positive breast cancer. Check with your health care provider. 

5. Avoid fad diets and red meat

Focus on eating to maintain for your long-term health. The American Cancer Society says to avoid eating processed meats high in the cancer-causing preservative sodium nitrite. They also suggest no more than 18 ounces of “red” meat per week (pork, beef and lamb) in your diet.

6. Get drunk on life

Avoid or reduce your alcohol intake and increase your water intake. Alcohol is a proven carcinogen and contributes to weight gain. It’s recommended that women have no more than one drink per day and a maximum of two for men.

If either side of your family has a history of breast cancer before the age of 50, male breast cancer or ovarian cancer, you may be a candidate for genetic testing and you should speak to your physician about getting tested.

7 Ways to Stay Healthy as You Age

Aging Well

Clinicians for ages have shared the importance of exercise, emphasizing its positive impact on the heart, waistline and longevity. But exercising can be a boon to the brain as well. Physical activity actually increases the amount of oxygen that flows to your brain, improving mental acuity and concentration. The endorphins released during workouts also help to reduce incidence of depression and anxiety disorders, as well as improving your sleep patterns and moo

Exercise can also help older adults reduce the need for some medications, and may be as effective as prescriptions for some conditions. Paired with a healthy lifestyle, working out regularly can also reduce the risk of dementia.

As you age, mind and body fitness are more important than ever. Keeping abreast of both can help you to maintain your independence and state-of-mind. 

The idea of starting a new regimen later in life can be daunting, but it can be accomplished in a few easy steps.

1. Pull up a Chair

Chair exercises are an easy way to exercise safely anywhere. Using a sturdy chair, work on standing up and sitting down. Begin by sitting up straight, toward the edge of the chair. While bending slightly forward at your hips, push your weight into your heels and stand up, then sit down slowly. 

2. Be Flexible

Stretching exercises are important for maintaining and improving range of motion in the joints. Stretching does not need to be unpleasant. Gentle stretches performed in a chair or while standing can provide significant improvement in range of motion, balance and fall reduction—all keys to preventing cognitive decline.

3. Join a Group

Group workout programs are a good place to start for anyone new to exercise. Groups for older adults, like Chesapeake Regional’s Silver Sneakers program, provide exercise and social interaction—which can also aid your mental wellbeing.

4. Stay Positive

Exercise, and a positive attitude, can help to reduce stress. Stress can cause an over-secretion of stress hormones that negatively affect memory. By changing your attitude and your routine, you can take the weight off of your shoulders.

5. Play Games

Your regimen shouldn’t stop there; cognitive exercises like crossword puzzles and brain teasers keep the brain fit. Reading and math problems also keep the brain youthful. Research has shown that brain exercises can actually improve memory and reduce “fog.” 

6. Feed Your Brain

A heart-healthy diet is also a brain-healthy diet. Damaged blood vessels, which supply the brain with blood, are linked to vascular dementia. Focus on reducing the amount of red meat in your diet and increasing your intake of fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

7. Don’t Give Up

A little bit can go a long way.  As long as you are on the move and keeping your brain active, your whole body—and your future independence—will benefit.

Again, it is never too late to get started on a healthy path. However, if you start to notice changes in your memory, or someone you love is more forgetful than usual, it may be time to seek the guidance of a physician.

Behind the Scenes of a Heart Attack

Learn What Any Hospital Should Do

Have you ever heard of “door-to-balloon time?” It’s that critical amount of time that it takes for a heart attack patient to get from an initial assessment into the Emergency Room, and it should be under 90 minutes. During this time, an accredited Chest Pain Center should begin an intricate set of steps to guide treatment once they receive their patient.

A heart attack patient’s journey first begins in the ambulance

  1. ElectrocardiogramAn electrocardiogram (a test that records the heartbeat rhythm) is given en route to the hospital. The results of this test are electronically sent to the on-call emergency physician.
  2. The “All Call”If the emergency physician determines that the patient is having a heart attack, the physician will activate an “all call,” which prepares the Emergency Department and Cardiac Catheterization Clinic team for the patient’s arrival.
  3. Patient Stabilized After an initial evaluation by the emergency medicine physician and a cardiologist, the patient is stabilized.
  4. Cardiac Lab if necessary, the patient will be transported to the Cardiac Lab for a coronary angiography. This is a rotational X-ray test that uses dye inserted through a catheter to determine if there are any blockages in the coronary arteries.
  5. Procedure is PerformedIf the technician finds a blockage, a “percutaneous coronary intervention” is performed. This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that aims to clear blockages and blood clots. A coronary stent may be placed to widen the artery.
  6. Patient RecoveryThe patient will then recover from surgery in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Patients are usually up and about within an incredible eight-hour time span and can usually go home a few days later.

Learn the Signs of a Heart Attack

As a patient, it’s important to remain cognizant of heart attack symptoms, which are different for men and women. You can find more information and heart healthy tips at heart.org.

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re experiencing any unusual and concerning abdominal discomfort, along with chest or jaw pain, seek medical care immediately. It’s your job to catch a heart attack early—the medical team will take care of the rest.

Make a Plan for an Emergency

You know to call 9-1-1 if you or a loved one suffers a life-threatening emergency or illness. But did you know that what you do before and after you make that call can be just as important as dialing those three numbers? Use this guide to find out how you can prepare for an emergency.

When faced with an emergency situation, it is often difficult to stay calm and remember everything you need. Because of this, experts recommend that you prepare for an emergency before it happens by gathering all of the information you’ll need to give the 9-1-1 operator and emergency team.  This includes:

  • Your street address, apartment number and closest cross street
  • A call-back number in case you are disconnected, or emergency personnel have additional questions
  • Chronic medical conditions, if any
  • Recent medical events or illnesses, if any

Keep this information handy (by the telephone or on the refrigerator, for instance) and include contact information for your doctors and family members. Make sure caregivers, babysitters and others know where to find this information. It is also important to have a list of allergies and medications, including how much and how often each is taken.

Just as important as having the patient’s medical history and medication list handy is deciding whether or not a call to 9-1-1 is truly necessary. 9-1-1 services are meant for patients who require rapid evaluation and transport. When 9-1-1 is called and it is not a true emergency, that ambulance and dispatcher are no longer available for someone who is having a true emergency like a heart attack or stroke.

You Just Called 9-1-1. What’s Next?

When a patient or family member calls 9-1-1, they will talk to a dispatcher who is trained to send emergency vehicles to patients and find out preliminary information that can be helpful to emergency personnel.

In case the emergency is happening while the patient or family member is on the phone, 9-1-1 operators are also trained to give advice on how to handle these situations until help arrives. For instance:

  • In a choking victim, the operator may give advice on how to clear a victim’s airway, whether through the Heimlich Maneuver or another method.
  • In a patient who is bleeding, the operator will give advice on how to control the bleeding, such as applying direct pressure until the ambulance arrives.
  • In a patient whose heart has stopped, the operator might give instructions on how to perform CPR while waiting for the ambulance.

Waiting for Help to Arrive

Help is on the way, but don’t hang up the phone until the 91-1 operator tells you to do so. Families or patients can prepare for EMS’s arrival by unlocking doors, grabbing the patient’s medication list and clearing the area from unnecessary bystanders. If the patient is a minor, or an elderly or handicapped person, make sure an adult or person with power of attorney is available to authorize care.  Furthermore, if there is information regarding care that the patient, or their medical power of attorney, does not want to have rendered, such as Do Not Resuscitate status, that information should be readily available to EMS personnel upon their arrival.

While nobody ever hopes to need 9-1-1, it helps to be prepared in case that day comes. In the event of an emergency, a few minutes can make all the difference.