We’re half way through October. The air is getting chilly in most places, the leaves are beginning to change and drop, and soon pumpkins and skeletons will be replaced with Christmas trees and twinkling lights. But before department stores and online retailers hurry us from holiday to holiday, let’s not forget about a few important health topics that are highlighted in the month of October.
Healthy Lung Month
We rarely think about breathing, but for someone with an ailment affecting their lungs, every breath becomes apparent. October raises awareness about things like general neglect, disease, mold, air pollution and smoking. If there was something we could do to protect this critical organ, shouldn’t we be doing it? The American Lung Association provides resources to help Americans manage lung diseases, as well as overcome addictions to tobacco products and lead healthier lives. You can improve your lung health by getting regular exercise, protecting yourself from diseases that attack the lungs (such as the coronavirus), giving up unhealthy habits and practicing diaphragmatic breathing.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
According to the American Cancer Society, more than half a million breast cancer deaths have been prevented in the United States since 1989 because of preventive screenings and improvements in treatment. Since 2010, the Affordable Care Act has required all new health insurance plans to cover the cost of screening mammograms for those 40 and older. With all of that being said, cancer.net estimates that 42,170 women and 520 men will die from breast cancer this year, alone. Aside from getting a regular screening, it is important to limit hormone therapy, understand family history, quit smoking and conduct regular, at-home exams to recognize any changes.
Dental Hygiene Month
Did you know that your oral health can affect your overall physical health? Bacteria that causes gum disease can enter the bloodstream, creating a build-up of plaque in the arteries, possibly leading to heart disease. Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to cancer and diabetes. It can be scary to visit a dentist during a pandemic, but all dentists are trained on how to properly administer cleanings and treatment in a safe way. Regularly taking care of your teeth by brushing twice per day and flossing daily can prevent decay and infection and can lead to confidence and success.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month
Did you know that Sudden Cardiac Arrest claims the lives of more than 356,000 people each year, including more than 7,000 youth under age 18, according to suddencardiacarrest.org? This life-threatening emergency can lead to death in just a few minutes and, although it is not a heart attack, it is caused by a structural or electrical problem with the heart. SCA happens fast, so it’s important to seek immediate medical care should a person collapse because of this condition. And although the heart condition, infection or injury often goes undetected, the Institute of Medicine suggests simply knowing about the possibility of SCA could help save a life. Do your research with organizations like the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation and more to understand the risk factors and potential warning signs, and learn about the Cardiac Chain of Survival, how to administer CPR and the importance of preventative heart screenings.