Saturday, April 25, 2020

Adult vaccinations

Just because you’re grown doesn’t mean you’re immune from certain illnesses. Vaccinations are important in staying healthy as an adult. Adults aren’t good about getting vaccinated. Many adults don’t know they need adult vaccines.

Path to improved well being

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines for adults:

Flu: All adults should receive a flu shot once a year. It can reduce the risk of flu by up to 50%. How well it works depends on the type of flu that is spreading. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to protect against flu. The best time to get vaccinated is early fall. This is before flu season begins. The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. While getting the vaccine earlier is better, getting it later is still effective. Getting the vaccine even in January or February can still provide some protection.

Tdap: This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. These bacterial infections can be prevented with a vaccine. It’s typically given at age 11 or 12. If you did not receive it as a child, you need it as an adult.

Td: This vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria. These are bacterial infections. If you got the vaccination as a child, you need a booster dose every 10 years. If you haven’t had one for a while, get one if you’ve experienced a severe or dirty wound or burn. Everyone needs a Td booster dose every 10 years.

Zoster: This vaccination protects against the shingles virus. The shingles virus causes a painful rash. It appears as blisters that develop on one side of the body. It often appears on the face or torso. It can result in long-term pain even after the rash goes away. Older people are most at risk for the virus. The CDC recommends adults 50 years and older get two doses of the vaccine. The doses should be 2 to 6 months apart.

Pneumococcal Conjugate: This vaccine protects against pneumonia. Pneumonia is a serious bacterial infection. It spreads from close, person-to-person contact. The infection is common in adults. Beyond children, adults 65 and older are urged to get the vaccine. It also may be recommended by your doctor that you get this vaccine if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or COPD.

HPV: This vaccine protects against human papillomavirus (HPV). People who are sexually active are at risk of HPV. The vaccine is given to pre-teens. However, adults can benefit from getting it later in life. The vaccine requires three doses. If you only got one or two doses as a child, you need still need the final dose.

Meningococcal: This vaccine protects against meningococcal disease. This bacterial infection affects the lining of the brain, spinal cord, and bloodstream. It is spread through coughs, kissing, and living in close quarters. Your doctor will tell you if you should receive this vaccine.

MMR: This vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Adults born after 1957 who never got the vaccine should get it.

Varicella: This vaccine protects against chickenpox. Adults who have not had chickenpox or the vaccine should get it.

Hepatitis A: This is a highly contagious liver infection. It is spread through contact with feces (poop). Adults who are at risk for the infection should get the vaccine. Risk factors include living or traveling to areas of the world where the infection is common, exposure to childcare centers, and living with someone who has Hep A.

Hepatitis B: This is an infection of the liver. It is spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids. Adults exposed to certain risk factors should get the vaccine. Risk factors include jobs that expose you to others with the infection, a diagnosis of diabetes, end-stage kidney disease, chronic liver disease, or drug/sexual behavior that increases risk.

Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacterial infection. It infects the lining of the brain and causes meningitis. Adults with certain risk factors should get the vaccine. This includes people with a diagnosis of sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, removal of the spleen, bone marrow transplant, or cancer treatment.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Diet & Weight Loss

A healthy weight is an important element of good health. How much you eat—and what you eat—play central roles in maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight. Exercise is the other key actor.

For years, low-fat diets were thought to be the best way to lose weight. A growing body of evidence shows that low-fat diets often don't work, in part because these diets often replace fat with easily digested carbohydrates.

Hundreds of diets have been created, many promising fast and permanent weight loss. Remember the cabbage soup diet? The grapefruit diet? How about the Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle diet, the caveman diet, the Subway diet, the apple cider vinegar diet, and a host of forgettable celebrity diets?

The truth is, almost any diet will work if it helps you take in fewer calories. Diets do this in two main ways:
getting you to eat certain "good" foods and/or avoid "bad" ones
changing how you behave and the ways you think or feel about food

The best diet for losing weight is one that is good for all parts of your body, from your brain to your toes, and not just for your waistline. It is also one you can live with for a long time. In other words, a diet that offers plenty of good tasting and healthy choices, banishes few foods, and doesn't require an extensive and expensive list of groceries or supplements.

One diet that fills the bill is a Mediterranean-type diet. Such a diet—and there are many variations—usually includes:
several servings of fruits and vegetables a day
whole-grain breads and cereals
healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and olive oil
lean protein from poultry, fish, and beans
limited amounts of red meat
moderate wine consumption with meals (no more than two glasses a day for men; no more than one a day for women

A Mediterranean-style diet is a flexible eating pattern. People who follow such diets tend to have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and other chronic conditions.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure has gotten a bad rap. Some pressure is essential for circulation. Without it, blood couldn't move from the heart to the brain and the toes and back again. The heart provides the driving force — each contraction of the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, creates a wave of pressure that passes through all the arteries in the body. Relaxed and flexible arteries offer a healthy amount of resistance to each pulse of blood.

But too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Arteries that are tensed, constricted, or rigid offer more resistance. This shows up as higher blood pressure, and it makes the heart work harder. This extra work can weaken the heart muscle over time. It can damage other organs, like the kidneys and the eyes. And the relentless pounding of blood against the walls of arteries causes them to become hard and narrow, potentially setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke.

Most people with high blood pressure (known medically as hypertension) don't know they have it. Hypertension has no symptoms or warning signs. Yet it can be so dangerous to your health and well-being that it has earned the nickname "the silent killer." When high blood pressure is accompanied by high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to the arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially.

High blood pressure is preventable. Daily exercise, following a healthy diet, limiting your intake of alcohol and salt, reducing stress, and not smoking are keys to keeping blood pressure under control. When it creeps into the unhealthy range, lifestyle changes and medications can bring it down.

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