Written by Natalie Gustafson, Marketing & Communications Manager
NorthLakes Community Clinic (Published 12/2017)
Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, kidney disease and arthritis; these are examples of chronic diseases. Chronic diseases continue over a long period of time and affect millions of Americans every year. Although they usually cannot be cured completely, they are often preventable.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), chronic diseases and conditions are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2014 were chronic diseases. As of 2012, one in four adults had two or more chronic health conditions.(*) We continue to see the number of people with chronic conditions rapidly increasing.
The CDC estimates that eliminating three risk factors: poor diet, inactivity and smoking, could prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke, 80% of type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancers.
Today we are all at risk of being affected, even children. According to the American Heart Association, today the prevalence of obesity in children has more than tripled since 1971. Obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously were not seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated cholesterol. If you already have diabetes, heart disease, or another chronic condition; eating healthier food and getting more exercise–whether it’s a brisk walk, a bike ride, a jog or a swim–can help you better manage your illness, avoid complications and prolong your life.
Do you know your family health history? Another risk factor is your family’s health history. A family history of health issues like diabetes or even seemingly unrelated issues such as a history of mental illness or early experiences of neglect or abuse can impact your health significantly. An important way to protect yourself is to ask your family questions and then share this information with your doctor who can help you take steps to prevent a disease and catch it early if it develops. And, if you have a medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, let your family know.
How do we make that change?
Eat like a champion. Ask yourself, did you have a fruit or vegetable today; what size was your meal portion; or do you remember when you last had a glass of water? Get moving. Park your car a little further from the door, if a commercial is on the television- stand up and march in place until your show comes back on. I know we have all heard it but QUIT tobacco use, not only smoking but chewing tobacco. Tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals, along with highly addictive nicotine. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million US adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette.*
Lastly, get that health screening. Health screenings can save your life. They are designed to catch cancers and serious problems early. Talk to your doctor and find out if you should have a screening.
NorthLakes provides care to those with Medicaid and Medicare, those with private insurance (such as Anthem/Blue Cross, Security Health, and many others) and those without insurance. We also provide a Sliding Fee Scale available to all patients who qualify based on income level, regardless of insurance status.
NorthLakes Community Clinic has 11 clinic locations in Ashland, Balsam Lake, Hayward, Iron River, Minong, Turtle Lake, and Washburn. NorthLakes locations offer: medical, dental, behavioral health counseling including substance use disorder counseling, recovery services, chiropractic, pediatric speech therapy, pediatric occupational therapy, and prescriptions for patients. Clinics are open Monday through Friday. For more information visit http://northlakesclinic.org. NLCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov