Ready to take the plunge into parenthood? You can start by preparing your body for baby.
First, talk to your doctor and share any health conditions, lifestyle behaviors (such as smoking or alcohol use), and medication or vaccination history that might get in the way
of either getting pregnant or having a healthy pregnancy. To help prevent birth defects of the spine and brain, women should ask about taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day for a month before trying to get pregnant. Also, getting pregnant at a healthy weight lowers a woman’s risk for developing gestational diabetes and other pregnancy-related problems. A little planning can make a big difference for your baby’s future.
Sometimes, taking risks in life is smart – but not when it comes to your health. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in the United States. It can also be very treatable when caught early. In fact, because of higher rates of screening, more people survive breast cancer today than ever before.
Screenings can check for disease – often before someone even has symptoms. A mammogram, or X-ray picture of the breast, is still the best way to find breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. If you are age 40 or older (or think you are at high risk for breast cancer), ask your doctor when and how you should get tested. Some major risk factors include age, hormone replacement therapy use, carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, family history and being overweight – especially after menopause. Don’t wait; a mammogram is an important weapon in your battle against breast cancer.
You get your calories or energy from what you eat and drink. To maintain a healthy weight, you have to balance your daily calories with how you use them. If you need to lose some pounds, the best approach is a combination of healthy diet and physical activity. And studies show the only way to keep that weight off is to be active on a regular basis.
Different types of activities use up different amounts of energy. How much you weigh and how much muscle you have also makes a difference in how many calories you burn. To see which activities help you get rid of the most calories, go to ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Body mass index or BMI is an estimate of body fat based on your weight and height.
A BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9 for adults is considered normal. People who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) have too much body weight for their height. People who are obese (BMI of 30 or above) almost always have a large amount of body fat for their height.
The higher the BMI, the greater your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure,
Type 2 diabetes, breathing problems and some cancers.
Although BMI can be used as a health measure for most men and women, it does have limits. It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a lot of muscle. It may also underestimate body fat in older people and others who have lost muscle. To find out your BMI and see how you compare to your peers, go to ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Buying healthy food doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. You can make smart choices for
- Going with beans instead of meat: Replace meat with canned or dried beans, which are much cheaper. Many recipes made with meat, such as chili, soups and salads, are delicious with beans.
- Trying canned or frozen fruits and veggies: Compare the price and the serving size of fresh, canned and frozen forms of the same fruits or veggies. Canned and frozen items may be less costly than fresh ones. For canned items, choose fruit
that’s packed in 100% fruit juice and veggies with “low sodium” or “no salt added”
on the label.
- Buying store brands: When possible, skip the fancy labels. You’ll get the same or similar product for less money. If your grocery store has a membership card for discounts, sign up.
- Planning for leftovers: Prepare and freeze veggie soups, stews or other dishes in advance. Add leftover veggies to casseroles or blend them to make soups. This saves time and money.
Sticking to your list: Think ahead, make a grocery list and stick to it! Plus, don’t shop when you’re hungry and more likely to choose less healthy options.
Don’t lose sight of your eyes. Along with your annual checkup, be sure to get a professional eye exam every year. Your eyes also need daily protection, just like
your skin. Wear sunglasses to shield them from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays.
And rest your eyes throughout the day. If you spend a lot of time looking at a computer,
you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes get tired. So try to take frequent breaks
from the screen.
You can also help your eyes stay healthy with the right lifestyle choices:
- Eat lots of fruits and veggies, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, and
fish like salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This lowers your risk for getting diabetes or other conditions that can lead to vision loss.
- Avoid eye injuries by using protective goggles or other gear when playing
sports or working around chemicals and dust.
Quit smoking. Research has linked smoking to a higher risk of eye disease
- Helping others? It’s the healthy thing to do
- Holiday dinner tips
- Get-fit gift ideas
- Office workers, off your seats
- Stop smoking and avoid weight gain
In each issue you will find information and inspiration to help you with your health and wellness goals.
In the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity has increased. Now, about 17% of American children ages 2 to 19 – or one in six kids – are obese.
Because children are heavier today, they are getting health problems that used to be found only in adults. Research suggests that obese children are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health issues. Once rare in children, Type 2 diabetes now accounts for a high percentage of all new diabetes cases in kids. Plus, obese children are more likely to become obese adults.
The best way to help your kids avoid obesity or lose weight is to be a good role model. If they see you and other family members eating well and moving more, they may just follow your example. To help your child(ren) get and stay healthy:
- Limit how much time they spend in front of a TV or other screen to less
than two hours a day.
- Plan an hour of physical activity into your child’s day. You can break it up
into smaller amounts of time that add up to 60 minutes.
- Shop, cook and plan for healthy meals. Buy healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread. Replace sugary drinks with water or
- Start with a healthy breakfast every day. Instead of sugary cereals or pastry, serve whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, oatmeal or whole grain toast with a piece of fruit.
Accepting your children at any weight will help them feel better about themselves. With your support and encouragement, you can help them learn healthy habits that will last
We want our members and emergency personnel dealing with the damage caused by the California wildfires to know Anthem Blue Cross is here to help. If you need direct assistance with finding available care providers, prescription refills or replacements, and/or any other health insurance related matters, please call 1-888-831-2238, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and weekends, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
If you live in Butte, Los Angeles or Ventura counties, we’d like you to know we’ve made temporary changes to you benefits to help you get the care you need:
Relaxing time limits for prior authorization, pre-certification and referral requirements.
Suspending early refill limits for prescriptions.
Allowing replacement of medical equipment or supplies.
Extending filing deadlines for claims.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood. When there is too much, it builds up on the walls of your arteries and can slow down or stop blood from getting to your heart. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
There are different kinds of cholesterol in your blood. A simple blood test can tell you and your doctor how much of each kind you have.
What do your cholesterol numbers mean?
- Total cholesterol – Less than 200 mg/dL is good.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol – This is the kind that can build up and block the arteries. LDL levels lower than 100 mg/dL are best.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol – This kind can keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL or more help lower your risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides – This is another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk for heart disease if you have too much. Levels that are borderline high (150-199 mg/dL) or high (200 mg/dL or more) may need treatment.
Ask your doctor what your cholesterol levels should be and how often to get tested.
To lower your risk for high blood cholesterol:
- Eat healthy. Reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.
- Watch your weight. Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to.
- Be active. Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days.