Take Care: All About Your Health

Advance directives: Something to think about

If you’re a taxpayer, you know what day April 15 is.

But did you also know the next day, April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day?

If you are among the many people who haven’t established advance directives about your end-of-life care, this day is intended to encourage you to express your  wishes by establishing a living will and for doctors and hospitals to respect  your wishes.


H1N1 still around, especially in southeast

The H1N1 flu virus is still around and making people sick, especially in the southeastern U.S., public health experts say.

Three states — Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina — are reporting regional flu activity, and the Georgia Department of Community Health is seeing an upswing in flu-related hospitalizations, mostly involving people with chronic health conditions that leave them vulnerable to flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


State’s “Text 2 Survive” goes bilingual

Text 2 Survive, a service of the Illinois Department of Public Health that provides information via text message about the nearest location to get a confidential  HIV/AIDS test, is now available in both English and Spanish.


The link between job stress and weight gain

Are your jeans getting harder to zip since you survived the lay-offs at work?

A new study by the University of Rochester Medical Center found chronic job stress and not getting enough physical activity are strongly associated with being overweight or obese.

And, an unexpected finding in this study, the URMC says: Eating lots of fruits and vegetables did little to offset the effect of chronic job stress on weight gain among workers who are mostly sedentary. Exercise appears to be the key to managing stress and maintaining a healthy weight.


Health care reform: some of what's in it for you

What’s in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for you?


Every 70 seconds: Another new case of Alzheimer's disease

Every 70 seconds, somebody in the U.S. is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.

That number will  grow to one new case every 33 seconds by 2050 if nothing is done to reverse current trends, according to a new report by the Alzheimer's Association.

Advancing age remains the primary risk factor, but here are some other factors noted in the report: 

* Women are more likely than men to wind up with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.


Dining out under health care reform

 Just how many calories are in that restaurant meal you're ordering?

Under the massive health care reform legislation signed into law Tuesday, restaurant chains will have to post that information right on the menu.

Chain restaurants with 20 or more locations will be required to provide customers with nutrition information similar to what they find on packaged foods. Caloric information will have to go on menus, menu boards and drive-through boards, according to the National Restaurant Association.


The dark side of the medicines we take

It’s not always the illegal drugs that can kill us.

Some of the legal ones that come out of prescription and over-the-counter containers have been a major factor in a growing drug overdose death rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of the risks identified by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration:

1. Along with a more aggressive treatment of pain has come a huge increase in the use of opioid pain medicines.


Some help for uncovered medical costs

United Healthcare Children’s Foundation has grants available for Illinois families needing help paying for children’s health care treatments, services or equipment that isn’t covered (or only partly-covered) by commercial insurance.

Families who qualify can receive up to $5,000 for such things as wheelchairs, eye glasses, hearing aids, physical and occupational therapy and orthotics.

To qualify, children must be 16 or younger and families must meet income guidelines and have a commercial health plan.


Kids, asthma and dinner

Want to help your child with asthma breathe easier? Eat dinner together as a family on a regular basis, a new study published in the February issue of The Journal of Child Psychology has found.

Researchers studied 63 children, ages 9-12, with persistent asthma for six weeks, looking at their physical and mental health, monitoring their medication use and recording a family meal on video camera.

What they found: Asthma severity is linked to the development of separation anxiety symptoms, but family interaction can help.


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