Category: Awareness

Improve Bedtime Habits for Sleep Awareness Week

The National Sleep Foundation is celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week to raise awareness for the health benefits of sleep and tips for a better night’s rest.  In the US, Sleep Awareness Week ends with Daylight Savings Time—the night many associate with losing an hour of sleep.

Sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are telling signs of poor sleep hygiene.  If you are experiencing a problem sleeping, it is a good idea to evaluate your bedtime routine.  It may take time to notice any positive effects from changing your sleep habits.  If sleep has been a long-term problem, consulting your doctor or a sleep specialist may lead to a diagnosis of a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea.  Any evaluation would likely improve the treatment suggested toward healthy sleep.

Up to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder; however, more than 40 million don’t get properly diagnosed or treated.  People may be unaware of sleep interruptions, or may not think

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Improve Your Health for American Heart Month

February marks American Heart Month in the US.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, affecting Americans of all backgrounds. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 43 seconds and someone dies from heart-disease related causes every minute.  During American Heart Month, everyone is encouraged to examine their heart health and take charge with heart-healthy behavior.

There are a number of risk factors for heart disease.  High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for one’s heart health. Almost half of Americans (49%) are affected by at least one of these risks.  A diagnosis of diabetes also comes with increased risk of heart disease, as well as excessive alcohol use.

There are different types of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the most common diagnosis, resulting from plaque buildup inside of arteries.  Others are affected by arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat; congenital heart defects; cardiomyopathy, or weak heart muscles; heart valve problems; heart infections; or cardiovascular disease.

The first step in being aware of your

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Tobacco-Free Awareness Week

For Tobacco-Free Awareness Week, NeedyMeds is taking a look at the costs of a smoking habit.  Smoking certainly has a cost on public health, with nearly half a million deaths attributed to tobacco use every year.  Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as increases risk for tuberculosis, eye disease, and problems with your immune system.  Since the Surgeon General started reporting on smoking and its health impacts in 1964, 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses, including 2.5 million nonsmokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke.  There are also substantial financial costs. On top of the cost of cigarettes, Americans spend nearly $170 billion in health-care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to smoking-related illnesses or premature death each year.

For someone who smokes a pack a day, one could feasibly spend between $1,600 and $3,600 on cigarettes each year (depending on the state in which one lives/buys cigarettes).  

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Cervical Cancer Awareness for the New Year

January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month. With all women being at risk for cervical cancer, it’s important to be mindful of the health risks, symptoms, and resources available to those in need. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 4,000 women die from it annually.

The main cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed between people during sex. HPV is so common that most people will have it at some point during their lives without ever developing symptoms. About 90% of cases are cleared naturally by the immune system within two years; however, there is no way of knowing which individuals will go on to develop health problems.

Some strains of HPV can cause warts around genitals or in one’s throat, while others can cause normal cells in the body to turn abnormal—possibly leading to cancer over time. Other factors that can increase your risk for cervical cancer are smoking, having HIV, using birth control pills for an extended time (five or more years), or giving birth to three or more children.

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Get Your Flu Shot for National Influenza Vaccination Week

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week in the US.  Established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005, this week highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holidays and beyond. Vaccines against the flu are the best defense against the virus and developing flu-related complications.

The CDC holds National Influenza Vaccination Week in December as vaccinations tend to drop quickly after the end of November, leaving some vulnerable during the holiday season. Going on vacation or having relatives visiting from afar can expose people to different strains of the flu than what they have built a immune response to, which can spread illness for those unprotected. The flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of the flu viruses. Yearly vaccinations are recommended because flu viruses are always changing, and each year the vaccine is updated to better match circulating influenza strains.

In a previous blog post we gave tips on how to avoid

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.