Additional/Supplemental Resources

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Treatments for conditions

Treatments for health conditions vary from condition to condition. They can range from simply taking a pill daily to receiving intensive care in a hospital setting. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to lower your risk of developing problems with your health.

Healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is very important in having more energy in your daily life and in staying healthy to reduce your risks of developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, among other illnesses. Try to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet, while reducing the amount of salt- and sugar-filled junk food consumed. Try to replace red meat with leaner meats such as fish, chicken, and turkey. Eating breakfast daily will also give you more energy throughout the day while boosting your immune system to help you stay healthy. It is also beneficial to take a multivitamin daily in order to ensure that your body always gets the proper amount of vitamins and minerals to remain healthy.

Local environmental risks

Your local environment plays a significant role in raising or lowering your risk for dangerous conditions. For example, triggers such as dust mites, animal dander, mold, pollen, cold air, tobacco smoke, and air pollutants often increase a person's risk of having an asthma episode. Second-hand smoke will also increase your risk in developing conditions like cancer. Dangerous toxins found in pesticides and other chemicals can also have a harmful effect on your health.

Primary care and clinics

The primary care sector of the health industry refers to the type of care primary care physicians offer their patients. These are the doctors who establish first contact with the patients and care for those with undiagnosed signs, symptoms, and health concerns. Primary care also includes health promotion, disease prevention, counseling, patient education, and treatment of acute chronic illnesses. Treatment settings can range from within the clinic, in a hospital, at home or in long-term care. To be treated for an undiagnosed health concern, see your primary care physician who will usually diagnose the concern and/or refer you to a specialist. Your primary care physician may also handle annual check-ups and follow-ups.

Warning signs/symptoms

Warning signs and symptoms of illnesses vary from condition to condition. But generally, yearly blood tests for cholesterol levels can show your risk of developing coronary artery disease and other heart-health problems. If you have health concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor so he or she can diagnose a potential condition early enough for effective treatment.

Health support networks/groups

Thousands and thousands of health support networks and groups exist to advocate for patients as well as provide the means to talk through issues and emotions. There are support groups for addictions, disabilities, mental health, surgery, suicide, weight loss, genetic diseases, and more.

Introductory genetics

Genes are the instructions inside each cell. They influence how a person looks how his or her body works. Everyone's genes are slightly different, therefore everyone has a different set of instructions to tell the cells how to work and grow. A person has two copies of each gene, one from their mother and one from their father. Genes are arranged in structures called chromosomes. Humans have twenty-three pairs of chromosomes in each cell. Chromosomes are made of DNA, which is the special code that the instructions in a person's genes are written in. Genes match up in many different ways to make different combination, which gives every person unique appearances and habits. Genes can also lead to a risk in the family for developing certain health conditions. Diseases are caused when there are mutations: changes in the instructions in a gene. Sometimes mutations have no effect or are even slightly helpful, but in other cases, they can cause disease. Thousands of diseases are caused by a specific change in the DNA of a single gene, such as Sickle Cell Anemia. Many of these diseases are rare. However, if a rare disease runs in your family, it is important to collect your family health history in order to manage the condition, diagnosis and making reproductive choices.

Prevention

To prevent developing dangerous health conditions, a number of steps can be taken. In terms of diet, maintaining a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and healthy protein found in lean meats, nuts, and beans is important in giving your body the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function properly. Decrease the amount of salt and sugar in your diet to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and obesity. Managing stress effectively leads to a strong immune system and daily exercise will strengthen all the systems of your body. By getting regular screening and testing for conditions such as breast cancer, colon cancer, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure, doctors have a better chance in diagnosing illness at a stage when treatment has the highest success rate.

Screening

Health screening is very important in preventive care. Screening is a method of finding diseases in people who may not display visible symptoms yet. Common health tests can be performed at your doctor's office during routine check-ups, such as eye exams, physicals, and blood tests. At certain ages it is more important to be screened for specific diseases, such as getting routine pap smears and mammograms for women over forty. It is very important for your doctor to know your family health history to help him or her determine what specific conditions he or she should screen for. Yearly cholesterol and blood pressure checks can help to influence you to make healthier choices in your lifestyle to prevent heart disease and diabetes before taking medicine to combat the condition.

Diagnosis

Diagnoses vary among conditions. However, if you get regular health screenings and maintain healthy habits, your chances for receiving effective treatment for all potential health conditions greatly increases.

Obtaining health insurance and low cost care

In today's society, it is very important for everyone to have health insurance. The easiest way you can be guaranteed coverage is to sign on with the health insurance provided by your employer. If your company does not offer health insurance, you should find a health insurance broker help you compare plans and costs for you. The website nahu.org can help you find a broker. If you would rather find an insurance plan on your own, look into the plans and costs carefully. A fee-for-service plan will give you the control to choose your doctor and to determine when you need to see a specialist, however the premiums are typically higher. A managed care plan gives your insurance provider the power to determine which physicians you can see. Make sure you look into which plans will cover pre-existing conditions as well as the regulations on prescription drug coverage. If you cannot afford private insurance, look to see if you are eligible for medicare and medicaid whose aims are to cover individuals who cannot afford health care.

For more information on health insurance, watch Genetic Alliance's webinar - Health Insurance: Insight and Resources to Understand Your Coverage

Local health related events