Understanding Cancer Risks

You can’t change your age or family history, but other cancer risk factors are within your control. Find out how to lower your risk of cancer.

Scientists have been trying for decades to understand cancer. What makes normal cells start to change, divide and invade the body? And what can be done to prevent this process?

A lot about cancer is still a mystery. Doctors often aren’t sure why one person who has never smoked a cigarette may get lung cancer when a longtime smoker may not.

Research has taught us a lot. We know that cancer in its many forms is most likely a result of several factors working together. We know that cancer can develop over a number of years. And we know that certain factors are known to raise your risk of cancer.

Water Aerobics

Water Aerobics: Everyone in the Pool

For a workout that’s easy on your body, but still works your heart and major muscle groups, water aerobics may be just the thing.

If you’re looking for an effective, fun workout, water aerobics may be just the ticket.

Water aerobics is a low- to no-impact form of activity. It will raise your heart rate and cause you to break a sweat. It’s both an aerobic and muscle-building workout. It can vary in intensity from moderate to vigorous. That depends on your fitness level.

Signs of a stroke

Every minute matters: Know the signs of a stroke

When someone is having a stroke, time isn’t on your side — unless you act fast. How you react could be lifesaving. And, it may mean the difference between a successful recovery and a lasting disability for your loved one.

So, know what to look for — and what you should do.

Heart-healthy eating

February is American Heart Month. During the month of February, Optum Medical Network will post weekly articles on keeping your heart healthy.

Food For the Heart

Heart-healthy eating involves more than slashing fat and cholesterol. Learn what foods may help keep you healthy.

Eating well is an excellent way to help protect your heart. More than one third of Americans have either cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, or both. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle helps reduce the chance of developing those deadly diseases.

It’s important to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Guidelines for heart health encourage people to eat a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and includes low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils and nuts. Experts also recommend that people limit sodium, sweets, sugary beverages and red meats.

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month. During the month of February, Optum Medical Network will post weekly articles on keeping your heart healthy.

“Step-by-Step: Exercising With Heart Disease”

Having coronary artery disease needn’t keep you from trying to get fit.

If you have a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, also called heart disease, you might feel nervous about exercising.

You shouldn’t worry. Multiple studies show that physical activity has many benefits for people with your condition. In fact, regular exercise at a moderate to vigorous pace actually makes your heart muscle stronger. And that’s just the beginning of what exercise can do for you.

Be sure to check with your doctor before becoming more active.

Cholesterol: The Real Story

“What to Do About Your Cholesterol”

Read the basics on cholesterol and how to lower it.

Here’s the story about the good, the bad, and the “other” types of cholesterol.

HDL is the good type. HDL cholesterol, or high-density lipoproteins, protects against heart disease, so it’s commonly known as “good” cholesterol. Higher numbers are better.

LDL is the bad type. LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoproteins, increases your risk for heart disease. Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood can build up on the inside walls of your arteries. Over time, the buildup, called plaque, can narrow the space for blood to flow through. Plaque can then break off, causing life-threatening clots that block the blood flow. This can happen in the arteries everywhere in the body but is most dangerous in the arteries that feed the heart, brain, and other vital organs.

Talking to your Doctor

Patients used to be led by doctors, but now taking initiative and being prepared is essential to a collaborative patient-doctor partnership. Although discussing sensitive topics can be difficult, the relationship you have with your doctor is one of the most important aspects of receiving good health care. It is also helpful for you to take an active role in the development & ownership of your Care Plan. Below are a few easy steps in developing a plan to make the most of your next visit with your doctor.

What to prepare before meeting with your doctor:

  • 1. A list of your symptoms – write them down as you experience them and be specific
  • 2. Your medications – this includes any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, supplements, laxatives, and eye drops.
  • 3. List of habits or life changes – such as use of assistive devices like canes, walkers or scooters.

Happy New Year!

3 R’s to help you reach your goals.

The last seconds count down. The streamers fly. We celebrate another year — and resolve to make our next trip around the sun a little healthier.

It’s a fun tradition. But, the truth is: You don’t have to wait for the ball to drop before you get it rolling. Start now — or any time — to think about how you’d like to make positive changes.

Here are three easy-to-remember R’s that can help you set the stage for success. And, you can use them any time you’re trying to improve your health or life with better habits.

1. Reflect
Start with some careful thought. What would help you feel healthier and happier?

Quit Smoking

Get Back on Track After a Slip-Up

If you slipped up and had a smoke, don’t despair. Here are tips to get back on track.

When you quit smoking, it can be discouraging to slip up and smoke a cigarette or two. Having even one cigarette puts you at risk for smoking again. But don’t let a slip-up turn into a relapse. It doesn’t have to derail you.

If you slipped, use these tips to get back on track:

Healthy Holiday Sips

Cheers! Low-calorie sips for the season.

Relax or revel with these festive and light liquid refreshments.

Holiday drinks can be warm and steaming or cool and sparkling. And they can bring comfort and joy.

But even if you’re just sipping, calories can add up quickly. So here are some ideas healthy holiday sips that are low in calories — while still fun and festive.