Asthma affects more than 25 million Americans1. It is a chronic disease that causes your airways to become inflamed, making it hard to breathe. There is no cure for asthma. The best way to manage asthma is to avoid triggers, take medications to prevent symptoms and prepare to treat asthma episodes if they occur.
Common symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Asthma may lead to a medical emergency. It is important to know the signs of a severe asthma episode (or asthma attack).
Asthma symptoms can appear when you are exposed to a trigger. A trigger is something you are sensitive to that makes your airways become inflamed. This causes swelling, mucous production and narrowing in your airways. Common asthma triggers are pollen, chemicals, extreme weather changes, smoke, dust mites, stress and exercise.
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on a “twin pandemic” emerged. This twin pandemic is mental health, according to Mental Health America (MHA)’s Executive Vice President of Communications, Jillian Hughes.
Quick facts about mental health:
- Mental health conditions are more prevalent among adults who report being two or more races.
- Children who experience trauma are 1.3 times more likely to develop a mental health condition.
- Mental health conditions affect women more than men.
- On July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will change its phone number to an easy to remember three-digit number – 988.
After the last two years of pandemic living, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being.
Whether you realize it or not, mental health plays a big role in your overall well-being. When you’re mentally healthy, you are able to enjoy your life and the people in it, feel good about yourself, keep up good relationships, and deal with stress. It’s normal for your mental health to shift over time – we all face difficult situations in our lives. Creating positive habits is a great way to support your mental health when you’re doing well and helps you build skills to use if you do face symptoms of a mental health condition.
West Oakland Health Council offers mental health services. Call Us Today.
Join West Oakland Health Council in supporting National Minority Health Month 2022!
April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM). This year, West Oakland Health Council is joining the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) to highlight the important role individuals can play in their communities to help reduce health disparities and improve the health of racial and ethnic minorities and American Indian/Alaska Natives.
This year’s NMHM theme is Give Your Community a Boost! This theme focuses on the continued importance of COVID-19 vaccination, including boosters, as one of the strongest tools we can use to protect others from the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color. The theme also supports the many other efforts happening across the country to advance health equity.
During NMHM, West Oakland Health Council will be sharing information and resources on social media to highlight the importance of vaccines and boosters. Help us spread the word! Follow the conversation on Instagram, and use the hashtags #BoostYourCommunity and #NMHM2022.
Visit the National Minority Health Month website in English and Spanish to find resources, events, shareable social media messages, graphics, and information to share with your networks about Give Your Community a Boost!
Colorectal cancer is responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths each year. But thanks to increased colon cancer awareness efforts, the death rate has been dropping steadily since the 1980s.
March is National Colorectal Awareness Month, an observance dedicated to encouraging patients, survivors, and caregivers to share their stories, advocate for colorectal cancer prevention, and inform others about the importance of early detection. Dark blue ribbons and clothes are worn throughout March to spark curiosity and start a conversation about colon cancer awareness.
Common Myths About Colorectal Cancer
Colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer. However, there are quite a few myths surrounding colon and rectal cancer that prevent people from getting tested.
Myth #1: “It only happens to men.”
The truth: The overall lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer for women (1 in 24) is only slightly lower than it is for men (1 in 22). Age is a much bigger risk factor than sex.
Myth #2: “I’m too young to get colon cancer.”
The truth: While it’s true that more than 9 out of 10 instances of colorectal cancer occur in people over the age of 50, the American Cancer Society recently changed their guidelines to recommend screenings starting earlier, at age 45. This is due to a sharp rise in the number of young adults diagnosed with colon cancer each year.
Myth #3: “Colonoscopies are painful.”
The truth: Colonoscopy is a common test familiar to many but not well known by all patients. Sure, it’s not exactly pleasant, but it’s not as bad as you think. For starters, most people only need one every 10 years.
To prepare for the procedure, you’ll have to avoid solid foods and take a bowel-cleaning substance the day before the procedure to clear your colon. During the procedure, you’ll receive a sedating medication to make you more comfortable, and most people can return to their normal activities that same day. All in all, the hassle is worth it. Precancerous polyps can be removed during the procedure, which is much easier than treating late-stage colon cancer, which may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Myth #4: “Colonoscopies are dangerous.”
The truth: A colonoscopy is a medical procedure, so yes, complications are possible. Rarely, a colonoscopy can create tears in the colon or trigger diverticulitis, an infection of the pouches inside the colon wall. Overall, the complication rate is estimated to be less than 1% for all complications. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you before the procedure, but in most cases, the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.
If you’re still anxious about having a colonoscopy done after talking with your doctor, there are other tests used to screen for colon cancer. While a colonoscopy is still the most accurate test available, you may be more comfortable with a fecal blood test (FOBT) performed every 1 or 2 years, or a sigmoidoscopy, which is similar to a colonoscopy but is less intensive.
When Should You Be Screened for Colon Cancer?
For someone at an average risk of colon cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends having a colonoscopy once every 5 to 10 years beginning at age 45.
Someone at a higher risk of developing colon or rectal cancer may need to be tested earlier or more often. You have a higher risk of colon cancer if you have:
- A family history of colorectal polyps/cancer
- An inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis
- An inherited syndrome, such as Lynch syndrome, that increases your cancer risk
- Type 2 diabetes
Some colorectal risk factors can be controlled, such as:
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- Heavy alcohol use
- High red meat consumption
Talk with your doctor about these risk factors and whether early screening is right for you.
In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month on occasion.
State departments of education also began to encourage celebrations of Women’s History Month as a way to promote equality among the sexes in the classroom. Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alaska, New York, Oregon, and other states developed and distributed curriculum materials in all of their public schools, which prompted educational events such as essay contests. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities began to celebrate of Women’s History Month. They planned engaging and stimulating programs about women’s roles in history and society, with support and encouragement from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.
In March 2011, the Obama administration released a report, Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, showing women’s status in the U.S. in 2011 and how it had changed over time. This report was the first comprehensive federal report on women since the report produced by the Commission on the Status of Women in 1963.
A President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in History in America recently sponsored hearings in many parts of the country. The Women’s Progress Commission will soon conduct hearings to promote interest in preserving areas that are relevant in American women’s history. Some of the groups promoting this interest are state historical societies, women’s organizations, and groups such as the Girl Scouts of the USA.