Colon Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States. If caught early, colon cancer can be curable. Regular screening can save lives by detecting both precancerous polyps and cancer at an early, treatable stage. It is believed that 90% of colon cancer deaths could be prevented by timely removal of polyps.
Screening should begin at age 50 for those with no personal or family risk factors. You may need testing before age 50 if colorectal cancer runs in your family. African Americans should begin screening at age 45, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. Most people can stop getting screened after age 75.
How often you get screened will depend on your risks and which screening test is used. Some tests can be done at home, such as a fecal occult blood test. Other tests, such as a colonoscopy, must be done in a clinic or hospital. Each colon cancer screening test has its own strengths and weaknesses. Your provider can help you decide which test is right for you and how often to get screened.
Health Benefits of Sleep
We all know poor sleep can impact our energy level and mood. But inadequate or poor quality sleep can also affect your immune system, weight, and risk for serious illness. Quality sleep allows your body time to rest and recover, and makes it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you are feeling the effects of poor sleep, consider trying some of the sleep tips listed below.
- Follow a routine: Develop a routine that your body can come to recognize, and stick to it. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time each day. Avoid napping in the afternoon.
- Avoid stimulants: Drinking caffeinated beverages, exercising, smoking, doing housework, or working too close to bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- No alcohol before bed: Alcohol might help you fall asleep, but will interfere with your ability to stay asleep if you drink it too close to bedtime.
- Turn off the light: Light from computer and TV screens can disrupt sleep rhythms. Turn off all your devices about an hour before you go to bed and keep your bedroom free of light.
- Get comfortable: Your bedroom should be cool (60—67 degrees) and free from noise that could disturb your sleep. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive.
For additional information, visit the National Sleep Foundation.
If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow and are tired when you wake up in the morning, even after a full night’s sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. People with the most common sleep disorder, sleep apnea, often do not know it. Sometimes the only clue is others complaining about their loud snoring. You may have a sleep disorder if you:
- Snore loudly
- Stop breathing or choke or gas for breath while sleeping
- Fall asleep while driving or as a passenger in a car
- Frequently fall asleep while reading or watching TV
- Have difficulties sleeping three or more nights per week, such as trouble falling asleep, waking up frequently or waking up early and being unable to fall back asleep
- Have headaches in the morning
- Feel an unpleasant jumpy or crawling feeling in your legs while trying to sleep
If you (or your partner) suspect you might have a sleep disorder, ask your provider about doing a sleep study.
Did you know diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in American adults? Diabetic retinopathy is an eye problem that can lead to vision loss and may eventually progress to blindness. It is most common in people who do not control their blood sugar well. If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chances of diabetic retinopathy by keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure levels as close to normal as possible.
Most people with diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms until the disease is very advanced. By then, it is usually too late to reverse the damage. Early detection, timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss. People with diabetes should get an annual dilated eye exam. If you haven’t had an eye exam in the past year, ask your doctor for a referral to an eye care professional. For more information on diabetic retinopathy, visit the National Eye Institute.