FOR YOUR HEALTH: Suspect Stroke? Call 911

(NAPSI)—A stroke can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time, so it’s important for everyone to learn and understand the signs and symptoms of stroke. The condition, also known as a “brain attack,” is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and affects more than 795,000 people each year.

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain is blocked by plaque (acute ischemic stroke) or ruptures and bleeds (hemorrhagic stroke). When it comes to treating stroke, every 10 minutes can save up to 20 million brain cells. That’s why it is crucial to recognize the signs of stroke and act with urgency. If you suspect stroke, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

Learn the signs to help make a difference

In more than 60 percent of stroke cases, someone other than the patient made the decision to seek immediate treatment. The signs of stroke can be subtle and hard to recognize, so educating yourself and others is key to noticing and responding quickly to the sudden onset of one or more of them. You might know the BE FAST signs of stroke but would you or your loved ones be able to identify all 10 signs and symptoms?

  1. Confusion
  2. Difficulty Understanding
  3. Dizziness
  4. Loss of Balance
  5. Numbness
  6. Severe Headache
  7. Trouble Speaking
  8. Trouble Walking
  9. Vision Changes
  10. Weakness

More than 6.5 million people in the United States are stroke survivors. If you experience a sudden onset of any of these symptoms or recognize the signs in someone else, don’t wait to seek help. It’s okay to overreact because when it comes to stroke, the right care—right away—has the potential to save lives.

Who’s at risk?

While certain risk factors of stroke, including age, race, gender or family history, are out of your control, there are many factors that you can manage to help reduce the chances of having a stroke.

Manageable risk factors of stroke include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (AFib), high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, poor circulation, lack of physical activity, and obesity. Choosing healthy lifestyle choices, not smoking or using tobacco products, limiting alcohol consumption and exercising regularly can help greatly reduce your stroke risk.

Educating yourself on the signs, symptoms and risk factors of stroke, and empowering others to do the same, can make all the difference for someone experiencing a stroke. Trust your instincts and take action. Your quick action can help improve treatment and recovery from stroke.

To learn more about stroke and how to recognize all 10 signs and symptoms, visit

BE FAST was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. © 2011 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Fighting the opioid epidemic

(NAPSI)—According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care professionals could save more than 130 lives lost to the opioid epidemic each day.

How? With a deeper understanding of pain, pain medication and addiction, especially related to opioids. Communities rural and urban are witnessing a growing and deadly phenomenon, while health care providers feel caught between prescribing guidelines and patients’ needs.

To address this issue, doctors, nurses, dentists, physician assistants, pharmacists and other clinicians can take courses from CME

Outfitters and USF Health, supported by an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson, that provide strategies for how and when to prescribe opioids, better understand the biologic underpinnings of pain and addiction, and look at targeted, effective and safe treatment alternatives.

Fighting the opioid epidemic in our communities goes beyond educating the health care professionals who prescribe opioids to educating patients as well. If you are prescribed an opioid:

  • Make sure you understand your treatment and what to expect
  • Learn how to safely dispose of unused medication
  • Understand how to help loved ones struggling with addiction
  • Know what lifesaving measures you can take in case of an overdose.

Learn more at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Support For People With Disabilities On The Journey To Work

(NAPSI)—About 40.7 million Americans have some kind of disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you or someone you care about has a disability, you may wonder what it means for employment. You may be encouraged to know that there are supports and services available that can help you or your loved ones pursue work and reach your goals through Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) program.

Ticket To Work Program

The Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and want to work. This program is free and voluntary. Program participants select a service provider to help them prepare for, and find, a job. The provider may be a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency or an Employment Network (EN)—a public or private organization that has an agreement with Social Security—to offer:

  • Career planning
  • Job placement assistance
  • Ongoing employment support.

These career development services and supports are unique to each individual. Participants work with their service providers to develop a customized plan and identify the supports they need to reach their work goals.

Finding A Path To Financial Independence

The road to financial independence looks different for everyone. Whether joining the workforce for the first time or returning after a difficult diagnosis, there are challenges that each person must navigate. Working with a Benefits Counselor and Ticket to Work service provider can help you remove some of the obstacles and learn more about the resources available to you.

This could include Social Security Work Incentives, which are designed to help you transition to the workplace. A Benefits Counselor can help you learn more about Work Incentives, including which ones you qualify for, and discuss how working will affect your benefits.

If you connect with an EN, the EN can help you find answers to questions, whether they’re about reporting your wages to Social Security, requesting job accommodations, or even how you can advance your career to earn even more money.

With the knowledge, support and services of a Ticket to Work service provider, you may find yourself on the path to success and financial independence through work.

Learn More

For more information about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Benefits Of CBD Products

(NAPSI)—One of the best and most effective ways to benefit from nonpsychoactive, THC-free CBD is to use it on the largest organ of your body: your skin. CBD oil is the nonpsychotropic component of marijuana and hemp, well-known for relieving aches and pains when applied topically. Now, it’s found in skin care products such as the luxury line from Mermaid Wizdom—and with good reasons.

Here are three:

  1. Acne: CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory with the ability to help calm skin. Because acne is an inflammatory condition, research indicates CBD’s soothing properties can help diminish breakouts and reduce redness. Recent studies show that CBD may also decrease excessive oil production.
  2. Aging and Wrinkles: CBD oil’s antioxidant properties can help lessen the visible signs of aging. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A stimulates the cells responsible for producing tissue that keeps skin firm. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production. Vitamin E blocks free radicals from the body, to help slow down the aging process.
  3. Sensitive Skin: CBD oil has been found to sooth sensitive skin and studies indicate that it helps inhibit triggers of disorders such as psoriasis and eczema.

For more information, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Pressure ulcers costs healthcare billions each year

Pressure ulcers cost U.S. healthcare $10.2 billion and contribute to nearly 29,000 hospital deaths each year. But new technology can dramatically curb the pressure ulcer pandemic.

by Margaret Doucette, D.O.

(NAPSI)—American healthcare, renowned for pioneering new technology to save lives, has all but ignored one of the most costly and deadly Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs), which the federal government defines as preventable patient injuries.

While the number of other HACs has decreased by 8 percent, pressure ulcers have been resistant to improvement efforts. They continue to grow by 10 percent annually.

Pressure ulcers are both costly and deadly.

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that pressure ulcers add $10.2 billion to U.S. healthcare costs. As the chart above shows, pressure ulcers are associated with more than 45 percent of the nation’s 63,619 HAC-related deaths and are the leading contributor to HAC-related deaths.

Costly, deadly problem

Averaging the impact among the nation’s 5,534 hospitals means that each will treat more than 127 pressure ulcers, write off more than $1.8 million in unreimbursed treatment costs and see more than five pressure ulcer patients die every year.

Medicine has wrestled with the problem of pressure ulcers for generations. Their prevention relies on physically moving or turning a patient at frequent intervals to relieve pressure on different parts of the body. Unfortunately, turning a patient can slip on the priority list of busy hospital staff.

Technology that monitors patient movement and notifies nurses when a patient needs to be turned exists and is available throughout the United States. Dozens of studies presented in public medical forums demonstrate that a wearable patient-monitoring technology helps hospitals prevent pressure ulcers, reduce their medical costs and save lives. These studies all monitored patients at risk for pressure ulcers using the Leaf Patient Monitoring System, the only system on the market designed exclusively to help providers prevent pressure ulcers.

One randomized trial of more than 1,200 patients at a large California academic medical center concluded that the pressure ulcer incidence rate was 74 percent lower among patients monitored by the wearable monitoring system.

Tech can save lives, money

Applying the same rate of reduction to the national problem, the deployment of wearable technology could save more than 21,000 lives and nearly $7.5 billion in unreimbursed healthcare costs each year. For the average hospital, that would mean $1.36 million in annual savings.

Technology can help our understaffed clinical teams reduce the risk of very preventable pressure ulcers. For the sake of our patients’ well-being—and our healthcare institutions’ financial stability—we need to seriously consider the benefits new technology can provide.

  • Margaret Doucette, D.O. is chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Boise VA Medical Center, where she oversees wound prevention and care efforts. The founder and former medical director of the Elks/St. Luke’s Wound Care Center and a co-founder of the Idaho Pressure Ulcer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Doucette has been instrumental in developing wound care programs across the continuum of care in Idaho. She is published and presents nationally and internationally. She is adjunct faculty at several universities and a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Floods Can Affect Your Well Water’s Well-Being

(NAPSI)—For over a million families, farmers and business owners, seeing floodwaters receding may just be the beginning of their troubles—but it doesn’t have to be.

The Problem

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA)—a not-for-profit professional society and trade association—says people who have inground wells in areas affected by flooding need to watch for contaminated water.

This is particularly likely to be a problem in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and any place with broad, sand and gravel valleys and glaciated rolling countryside. These places could be standing in water for several days, risking contamination if the wells aren’t properly maintained. Exposure to E. coli, coliform and other pathogenic microbes from human and animal fecal matter in floodwaters is a common health concern following a major flooding event. Floodwater can also carry other contaminants.

“Even slight flooding around a well can potentially carry contaminated water to the wellhead,” explained Chuck Job, NGWA regulatory affairs manager, “and if the wellhead is cracked or faulty in any way, the well and water system could be compromised.”

Adds Bill Alley, NGWA science director, as temperatures rise, well owners should continue to monitor and test their systems. “While frozen ground may not be saturated from storm water, warmer weather may allow floodwaters to infiltrate and contaminate subsurface water during a thaw,” he said.

Similarly, hundreds of thousands of wells were potentially affected during the Atlantic hurricane season in places including North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Alabama.

What To Do

Following a flood, disinfection and wellhead repair may be common needs among well owners. Well relocation and elevation may also be useful and protective. As always, NGWA recommends water well system professionals be used to assess and service wells.

NGWA has a flooding resource center on its website. Included is information on how to protect well systems before and after a flooding event.

Learn More

The association also has other resources that may help when dealing with flooded water wells. These include the best-suggested-practice “Residential Water Well Disinfection Following a Flood Event: Procedures for Water Well System Professionals” and a Water Well Journal article titled “Responding to Flooded Wells.”

You can find these and more at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Health Services And Screenings Every Woman Should Know About

(NAPSI)—Eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting a regular Pap smear and mammogram—these are just a few of the many steps women can take to help ensure they live longer, healthier lives. However, it can be tough to figure out what to do, given the mountains of information that are available. So, how can women determine which services and screenings are right for them—and when? You can start by being aware of what the science says about preventing certain health conditions and by having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your values and preferences.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death for women. Fortunately, you can help prevent CVD by addressing important risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. For example, if you are age 40 to 75, talk to your doctor about your CVD risk and whether a low- or moderate-dose statin may be right for you. Statins are medications that lower your cholesterol, prevent buildup of cholesterol and fats in your arteries, and reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Depending on your age and risk factors, taking a low-dose aspirin daily can also potentially help prevent CVD. When blood clots form in narrow blood vessels, such as the ones in your heart and brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin can help keep these blood clots from happening, lowering your risk. There are some risks associated with taking low-dose aspirin every day, so make sure you talk to your doctor about whether aspirin is right for you.

Taking statins and aspirin to prevent CVD are effective but they are just one part of CVD prevention. You can reduce your risk of CVD by quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and becoming more physically active. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit. If you are overweight and have other CVD risk factors or even if you are healthy and simply want to stay that way, ask your doctor about how you can develop heart-healthy habits.

Cervical Cancer

Screening for cervical cancer finds the disease when it is most treatable. Unfortunately, 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Most cases of cervical cancer happen in women who have not been regularly screened or appropriately treated. That is why it is critical for women to get screened regularly starting at age 21. There are several effective options for screening, depending on your age and preferences. The Pap test and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test are the most effective ways to screen for cervical cancer and are done during a visit to your doctor’s office. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you and how often you should be tested.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women; roughly 237,000 cases are reported in the United States each year. Breast cancer screening aims to find the disease early, when it is easier to treat. Mammograms, which are X-ray pictures of the breasts used by doctors to look for early signs of the disease, are the most effective method of screening for breast cancer. Evidence shows that the benefits of mammograms increase with age, with women aged 60 to 69 most likely to benefit from screening. Still, about one in three women who should get a mammogram regularly do not. If you are between the ages of 50 and 74, talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram regularly. Some women decide to start screening as early as age 40. Talk with your doctor about your individual situation and circumstances, when you should start screening, and how often you should be screened.

Screening for Osteoporosis

As people age, their bones begin to thin. For some people, their bones become very weak and can break or fracture more easily, a condition known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects one in every four women age 65 or older in the United States. Bone measurement tests can be used to screen for osteoporosis and identify the likelihood of future fractures. For people who have osteoporosis, treatments are available to reduce the risk of a fracture. If you are a woman age 65 or older (or younger than 65 with certain risk factors), ask your doctor about being screened for osteoporosis and other ways to improve bone health.

Recommendations for Keeping Yourself Healthy

These recommendations were developed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—an independent group of national experts in prevention. The Task Force makes recommendations, based on the latest science, about what works and what doesn’t work for preventing disease and promoting good health.

Learn More

For more information on these and other Task Force recommendations, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Health Benefits Of Plant-Based Nutrition

(NAPSI)—As people continue to look for ways to live healthier lifestyles, the plant-based diet continues to gain momentum. A plant-based diet describes a way of eating in which there is an emphasis on plant foods in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

Supporting Your Health with Plant-Based Foods

Benefits of eating more plant foods are numerous. Plant foods are nutrient dense, which means that they provide an abundance of nutrients relative to their calorie cost. Fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains are terrific sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they’re naturally cholesterol-free. Most contribute a fair amount of fiber, too, so they help to fill you up and keep your digestive tract running smoothly. When you include plenty of these nutritious, filling foods in your diet, it leaves less room in your stomach for less healthy fare.

That said, as the proportion of U.S. consumers who adhere to a vegan diet grows, so does the desire for these people to get more protein. In fact, a Nielsen HomeScan survey recently found that 39 percent of Americans are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods and 60 percent want to get more protein in their diets.

Identifying Sources of Plant-Based Proteins

The major sources of plant-based protein include beans, peas and lentils but whole grains are also important. You may think of whole grains as more of a carb than a protein and that’s true–most grains have more carbohydrate calories than protein calories. But whole grains contribute important essential amino acids to the diet. Most vegans know that in order to get the full complement of essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins in the body), it’s important to consume both legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and whole grains. Soy is one of the few complete plant-based proteins, meaning it contains the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.

How Much Protein Is Right For You?

Protein is important for maintaining lean body mass. Susan Bowerman, Registered Dietitian and Senior Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition says the Institute of Medicine recommends you eat 10 to 35 percent of your total daily calories from protein.

You can estimate your protein needs based on your current body weight. Simply, multiply your body weight by 0.7. The number you get is a reasonable target for the amount of protein, in grams, that you should eat each day. For instance, a woman who weighs 140 pounds should aim for about 100g of protein a day. A 220-pound man should shoot for at least 150g of protein.

Introducing Other Plant-Based Proteins

While most plant-based diets place an emphasis on whole foods, other plant-based foods that are derived from these whole foods can be included. So, in addition to legumes and whole grains (brown or wild rice, oats, quinoa, millet and the like), other sources of plant-based protein include soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, tofu, tempeh, and protein powders made from plant sources such as soy, pea, rice, hemp, oats or quinoa.

To help, Herbalife Nutrition’s Formula 1 Select and Protein Drink Mix Select are two new plant-based nutrition mixes specially formulated with a high-quality blend of pea, quinoa and rice proteins. Formula 1 Select is specially formulated to provide an excellent balance of protein and other key nutrients for optimal nutrition, is an easily digestible source of high-quality plant protein and fiber, and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Learn More

For more facts, go to

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Talking With Your Health Care Provider About Kidney Health

(NAPSI)—Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious health problem, affecting an estimated 30 million adults in the United States. Yet more than nine out of 10 people who have kidney disease don’t know they have it. The sooner you find out you have kidney disease, the sooner you can take steps to prevent or delay serious health problems.

CKD means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. Kidney damage can cause wastes to build up in your body and can lead to other health problems such as anemia, bone disease and heart disease. You can have CKD without any symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease, and over time it may lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health. You can’t reverse progressive kidney damage but you may be able to avoid or delay dialysis or a kidney transplant with medications and lifestyle changes.

Understand Your Risk for Kidney Disease

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure, you are at risk for kidney disease. An estimated one in three people with diabetes, and one in five adults with high blood pressure, have CKD. Therefore, it’s important for people who are at risk for the disease to get tested.

Get Tested Early

Testing for kidney disease is simple—it involves a blood test and a urine test. Your health care provider uses a blood test to check how well your kidneys are filtering your blood and a urine test to check for protein in your urine.

Talk with Your Health Care Provider

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure, talk with your health care provider about kidney disease. Stay informed and ask for the results of your kidney tests. You can start the conversation with your health care provider by asking these three questions:

  1. Have I been tested for kidney disease and how healthy are my kidneys?
  2. How often should I get my kidneys checked?
  3. What should I do to keep my kidneys healthy?

Take Steps to Protect Your Kidney Health

If you don’t have kidney disease but are at risk for it, your health care provider may suggest ways you can keep your kidneys healthy. Here are some steps you can take to protect your kidney health:

  • Manage your diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Make physical activity part of your routine
  • Get enough sleep—aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night
  • Stop smoking
  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress.

Learn More

For more information about kidney disease, kidney failure, diabetes and more, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) website at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Major Changes Headed To A Product Label Near You

(NAPSI)—If you’re like 90 percent of shoppers, you consult the Nutrition Facts panel on food packages before you buy. To make it easier to make informed food choices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a new Nutrition Facts label. Here are the seven major new features:

1. Increased print size for “Calories.”

Calorie counts will be easier to see.

2. Inclusion of “Added Sugars.”

The FDA currently defines added sugars as “sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.” Sugar alcohols, or polyols, provide sweetness but aren’t counted as “added sugars” because they’re not sugar. These low-digestible carbohydrates can replace sugar as a lower-calorie alternative. Common polyols include erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.

3. Changing “Sugars” to “Total Sugars.”

Sugar can be present in healthy foods. This change can help consumers understand the amount of sugar the product contains from any source.

4. Removal of “Calories from Total Fat.”

Research shows the type of fat (for example, polyunsaturated) is more important than the total calories from fat. Labels still include “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat.”

5. Increased print size for “Serving Size” and “Servings per Package/Container.”

Portion control remains a problem for many. Increased visibility of recommended serving sizes can help people make better, more accurate decisions.

6. The amounts of vitamin D and potassium are now required, instead of vitamins A and C.

Based on research from the Institute of Medicine, the new labels will include this information to increase visibility of vitamin D and potassium requirements. Though voluntary, similar information for vitamins A and C may still be included.

7. Revision of “Percent Daily Value” Footnote.

The new language will specifically state: “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.” Experts at the Calorie Control Council, a nonprofit association that seeks to provide objective, science-based communications about low-calorie foods and beverages, suggest that this revision may help clarify the meaning of “Daily Value.”