ADULT WELLNESS Smoking Alcohol/Drugs

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1 ADULT WELLNESS Thank you for choosing the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics for your health care needs. In addition to treating your health problem, we are interested in giving you some general information to help keep you at your healthiest. You can improve your chances of staying well by having annual health checks, doing regular self-exams, and following a basically healthy lifestyle. Please take a few minutes to look over this Adult Wellness Booklet. Some of the information may not apply to you. Perhaps you can share it with a friend or family member. This booklet is not intended to replace your doctor s advice. If you have any questions or need more information about specific health concerns, please talk to your doctor. Smoking Smoking is the most serious risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and lung and other cancers, yet it is totally controllable. Smoking is addictive, both physically and psychologically, and when you quit, you will go through withdrawal. Here are some things you can do to quit or avoid smoking. Make an agreement with yourself to cut back or quit. Ask your health care professional for information and programs that may help. Keep busy doing things that make it hard to smoke, like gardening and exercising. Ask your family and friends to support your effort to quit smoking. Reward yourself when you quit. For more information on how to stop smoking call the American Heart Association at or your local American Cancer Society at ACS-2345 Alcohol/Drugs Our bodies and emotions sometimes need help in recovering from stressors such as illness, divorce, a new baby or change in job status. Unfortunately, many people turn to alcohol and other drugs to help relieve tension and pressure, failing to realize that these substances actually make stress worse. Addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on a substance or behavior. It begins by using something to feel good. The addiction seems to help the person to avoid painful feelings. However, this good feeling doesn t last and when the drug has worn off, the problem is still there. If you have an addiction that you ve been unable to stop, try reaching out to one of the many selfhelp groups available for treating addiction. Other places to call for help include your local Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), local hospitals, or community health programs. The Alcohol Hotline is ALCOHOL ( ). The National Hotline Drug Information Treatment and Referral Hotline is

2 The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Hope Line is Exercise Physical activity reduces your risk of heart attack and other illness. It also helps control your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and helps you relax. Here are some ideas to help you get started. Check with your doctor before you begin any new exercise program. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes on most days of the week. Look for chances to be more active. If you use the elevator, take the stairs. If you like to dance, sign up for dance lessons. If you drive short distances, walk or use a bicycle. Nutrition/Diet The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) agree that a healthy diet plays an important part of your overall wellness. Some suggestions for a healthier diet are to: Include complex carbohydrates (the bread group), fruits, vegetables, fiber, and low fat dairy and protein. Include more whole grains, vegetables and fruits in your meals and snacks. Choose lean meats, fish and poultry, and low-fat dairy products most of the time. Choose a diet moderate in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar. Keep lean choices lean by using low-fat cooking methods like baking, broiling, roasting and pan broiling. Avoid fried foods. For more information contact your local American Heart Association at or American Cancer Society at ACS Immunizations Immunizations are a shot of prevention against many serious illnesses. You may want to talk with your doctor about the benefits of some of the more frequently recommended immunizations: Influenza vaccine is recommended for all adults once a year. The vaccine is available mid September through November. Pneumococcal vaccine for pneumonia is recommended for adults aged 65 and older, and for younger adults whose health status is compromised. Re-vaccination is recommended every 5 years. Tetanus-diptheria vaccine is recommended for all adults every 10 years. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for adults with multiple sexual partners. Diabetes Diabetes, or elevated blood sugar levels, affects about 16 million Americans, yet about half of them don t know that they have it. Untreated diabetes can lead to serious problems such as increased risk of stroke, blindness, kidney trouble and nerve damage. Recommended screening

3 tests should be considered beginning at age 45 and, if normal, repeated every three years. Testing should begin at an earlier age for those who are at higher risk of diabetes, such as individuals who are overweight, have elevated triglyceride levels, have hypertension, or have a close relative with diabetes. For more information, contact the American Diabetes Association at Domestic Violence Domestic violence is often kept a secret and is the most under reported crime in America. It is the leading cause of injury to women, and the single leading cause of homicide of women. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence hot-line at They are available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This organization can tell you the locations of shelters and organizations in your area. Your local law enforcement agency can also refer you to a local shelter or organization. Accidents Accidents are the leading cause of death to those under the age of 45. Car and bike accidents, violence involving firearms, and accidents in the home, such as fires and falls, are among the leading causes of death. Some things you can do to reduce your risk of accidents:! Always wear a seat belt in the car. Always wear a helmet when riding your bike. Do not drink or use street drugs and drive. Have smoke detectors installed in your home. Keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen. Practice fire drills. Make your home fire safe. Keep firearms safely secured. Safe Sex/STD Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that are spread through sexual contact. The risk of STDs increases with the number of sex partners you have. Most STDs can be avoided through safe sex practices. The only truly safe sex is abstinence. If you do engage in sexual relations, be sure to use a condom along with a spermicide containing nonoxynol 9. Condoms can significantly lower your risk of getting STDs and the HIV virus. AIDS The most deadly of all STDs is AIDS. This virus (HIV) attacks and destroys the body s immune system, so a person is easily infected with other life-threatening diseases. At special risk are individuals who have multiple sex partners and IV drug users. The virus is present in semen and vaginal secretions and enters the body during sexual activity. The HIV virus can be detected by a blood test. For more information, contact The National AIDS Hotline at AIDS ( ). Skin Cancer The most common sites for skin cancer are on the head, neck and torso. You are at a greater risk if you are fair skinned. At least once a month examine your skin. Have someone else examine your scalp and back. You should look out for any skin changes such as unusual

4 scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or changes in a mole or freckle. A cancerous growth is often irregular in shape. You should be suspicious if the border is jagged, not clearly defined, or if it is larger than a pencil eraser. If you have a sore or mole that has one or more of these features, contact your doctor. When possible, avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Wear protective clothing, such as a long sleeve shirt and a hat when working outside. Use sun screen with SPF 15 or higher and reapply often. Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds. For more information on cancer screening, call the American Cancer Society at ACS Remember CAUTION - Cancer s Seven Warning Signs: Change in bowel or bladder A sore that does not heal Unusual bleeding or discharge. Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere Indigestion or difficulty swallowing Obvious changes in wart or mole Nagging cough or hoarseness Colon Cancer Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States and affects both men and women. It is most common among people over the age of 40. Beginning at age 40, everyone should have an annual rectal exam. People over the age of 50 should have a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 3 to 5 years. With early detection, chances are good for a full recovery. Testicular Cancer Testicular cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer when detected in its early stages. It is also a very rare cancer, but the most common cancer found in young men ages 15 to 40. Monthly self exams can help detect any changes in the testicles. The testicular self exam is easy to do and can be life saving. It should be done at least once a month. Your doctor can show you the correct way to examine your testicles. If you find any major differences in your testicles, this does not necessarily mean you have cancer. You should contact your doctor and have a medical examination. Prostate Cancer Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in American men. Men over the age of 40 should have a digital rectal exam each year. Men over age 50 should ask their doctor about a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test in addition to the rectal exam. Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of being cured. Breast Health The best method for early detection of breast cancer is your own monthly self-exam. The selfexams should be done monthly by women age 20 and older. Your doctor can show you the correct way to examine your breasts. These exams should be done approximately one week after you complete your period. If you no longer have periods, pick the same day of each month to perform your examination. Not all lumps are cancer, but you should report any breast changes to your doctor for evaluation and further advice. After age 20, the American Cancer Society recommends a yearly breast exam by a physician.

5 Mammography Mammography uses low doses of x-rays to make an image of the inside of the breast. It is used to detect masses deep within the breast tissue. These masses can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A mammogram can detect lumps before they are large enough to be felt during a breast exam. The American Cancer Society suggests that a mammogram be done every year after age 40. Prostate Cancer Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in American men. Men over the age of 40 should have a digital rectal exam each year. Men over age 50 should ask their doctor about a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test in addition to the rectal exam. Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of being cured. Pap Smear A pap smear is a simple test that can detect abnormalities in the cervix before they become cancerous. This test detects 95 percent of cervical cancer. A pap smear is performed during a pelvic exam. A pap smear should generally be performed yearly on all women who are, or have been, sexually active or are 18 years of age or older. If you have had a hysterectomy you should talk to your doctor about your need for a pap smear.

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