For an entire week just before Tax Day, the nation will focus on public health awareness from April 6th through 12th. National Public Health Week has been happening consistently for 25 years, and no one is slowing down. In fact, partners are moving forward—a billion steps forward!

Daily Themes for National Public Health Week

This celebration of health and awareness is also a celebration of progress. A lot has happened in the quarter-century since the first National Public Health Week, and we can celebrate the progress while drawing attention to the changes that still need to be made by focusing on a different theme of public health each day of the week.

Monday: Mental Health

Just 25 years ago, mental health was viewed very differently than today. Even five years ago, there was less acceptance of people diagnosed and struggling with mental disorders and mental health. On April 6th, make sure to share a victory for mental health from the last 25 years. Draw on your own experiences and make your own observations about work that still needs to be done.

Tuesday: Maternal and Child Health

Maternal health does not end with the six-week post-partum appointment and child health does not end at eighteen. The health of mothers and children affects the rest of a child’s life. It affects mortality rates and mental health. It doesn’t just include pregnancy, childbirth, and child well-visits. It includes maternity leave and more. On April 7th, compare the needs of women and children today with those of 25 years ago. Have the needs changed? Has the care? Make sure to include victories to celebrate.

Wednesday: Violence Prevention

How violent is your city, your state, your neighborhood? How violent is the school your children attend? Violence has become a part of life that we’d rather not look at but we accept. On April 8th, make those around you aware of the violence around them. Whether it’s on the news or on the streets, focus today at what’s improved and what needs to.

Thursday: Environmental Health

Many wouldn’t consider the health of the planet a public health concern, but it is. Environmental health plays a key factor in air quality and water quality—not just in “third-world” countries, but in developed nations. To find information about environmental factors that affect your health, look at news from the Environmental Protection Association (EPA). On April 9th, share information about your current environment compared to 25 years ago. Are there more homes, more roads, less trees, more people?

Friday: Education

During a week dedicated to educating others about public health, it is only fitting that a key factor that contributes to health is included. Quality education and equal opportunities for quality education play a huge part in a better quality of life, better jobs, more money, more benefits (including medical insurance), etc. On April 10th, reflect on the changes made in the education system—changes for the better and more that can be done.

Saturday: Healthy Housing

Access to affordable and safe housing is essential to public health. Homelessness is often both the cause of and result of chronic medical conditions. Inadequate housing the even mere shelter can affect mental health as well as physical health, and every other factor that contributes to a healthy outlook. On April 11th, focus on the difference between extravagant housing versus safe, affordable, and sufficient housing.

Sunday: Economics

Economic empowerment is not the same as economic advancement. It’s not taking previously unsuccessful folks and thrusting them into the place of other qualified applicants. Rather, it’s allowing them to enter the race. Economic empowerment is most often referring to women and people of color, but the goal of economic empowerment is to advocate for all people to have the same opportunities for economic success and health. On April 12th, take the opportunity to highlight some groups in your region who are marginalized due to race, religion, political or cultural group, age, gender, financial status, or something else altogether.

 

According to 1200 randomly selected adults who contributed to a national poll, around 26 percent of adults don’t have a “doctor”—that is to say, a primary care provider. [1] This number varies by age and generation, but this and other surveys find one thing most startling: more and more consumers are seeking medical treatment at urgent care clinics and emergency rooms in lieu of establishing care with a primary care provider at a private or public practice. What does this trend mean for doctors and what does it mean for you as a consumer? On March 30 physicians across the nation will celebrate National Doctor’s Day and this is the perfect time to learn just what being a doctor means.

Primary Care Providers Explained

Your primary care provider (PCP) is a physician who provides ongoing and preventative care, generally treating common medical problems. This physician you visit on a routine basis is traditionally a doctor, but may be a physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP). Both PAs and NPs are skilled professionals who complete education and training standards unique to their title, and depending on the circumstance, you may end up choosing one of these professionals over a doctor.

Choosing a PCP

When it comes to choosing a Primary Care Provider, there are many factors that may take you looking at all your options. For instance, it’s not just the physician that you’ll be dealing with, but the whole office!

  • Is the office staff friendly and helpful? Are the office hours convenient?
  • Are the office hours convenient or impossible for your schedule?
  • How easy is it to communicate with your provider?
  • Doe the communication style match yours?
  • Does the provider focus on wellness and prevention or only treatment?
  • Is the provider conservative or aggressive?
  • Does the provider order a lot of expensive tests?
  • Does the provider refer to other specialists frequently?
  • What do other professionals or patients say about the provider?
  • Does the provider involve you in your own care and treatment?[2]

National Doctor’s Day

Whether your Primary Care Provider is a doctor, a Nurse Practitioner, or a Physician’s Assistant, you can honor your PCP and yourself by celebrating National Doctor’s Day. Thank the provider in your life by showing your appreciation and by scheduling a new appointment. It’s important to your PCP that you are taking your health seriously and it makes the job more rewarding. If your PCP is a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant, you can still honor your whole medical team by sending a b

[1] https://khn.org/news/spurred-by-convenience-millennials-often-spurn-the-family-doctor-model/

 

[2] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001939.htm

 

Now more than ever, it’s important to raise awareness of kidney disease and associated health problems. Every human body has two kidneys and they’re always working to filter your blood, removing waste, acids, minerals, and excess water. This waste is moved from the kidney to the bladder and then passes out of the body. These bean-shaped organs situated on each side of the lower back also help produce hormones that control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep your bones strong and healthy.[1]

Kidney Disease

Individuals who have diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, acute kidney injury, kidney cancer, or a family history of kidney disease, are over 60 years old, or part of a race or ethnicity with a higher risk for diabetes or high blood pressure are all at greater risk for kidney disease. Are you at risk? There are various tests that your doctor can run annually in order to make sure your kidneys are functioning correctly. Because chronic kidney disease (CKD) is often overlooked until damage has already occurred, it’s important to be tested for early diagnosis. You can ask your doctor about these tests for kidney health: eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) which tests how well your kidneys are cleaning blood; urine test which tests for blood or protein in the urine; and blood pressure which tests for hypertension that can cause kidney disease.[2]

Preventing Kidney Disease

Your kidneys are important for your overall health, but largely overlooked. Many people who live with chronic kidney disease do so undiagnosed and untreated. If you are at risk for kidney disease, or if you are a person who cares about health and quality of life there are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease as well as other chronic or debilitating conditions.[3]

  1. Live an Active Life

    Maintaining an ideal body weight and lowering blood pressure are just a few benefits of an active lifestyle. Regular exercise also reduces cancer risk, improves heart health, regulates blood sugar and insulin levels, and improves sexual and sleep health.[4]

  2. Eat a Healthy Diet

    A healthy, balanced diet will help maintain an ideal body weight ad prevent many conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. Use MyPlate.gov to help make a meal plan that works for you and help your kidneys to not work as hard by decreasing sodium in the diet.

  3. Check Your Blood Sugar

    Managing your blood sugar and insulin levels will help protect your kidneys. About half the people who have diabetes actually don’t know they have it. About half of the people with diabetes will develop kidney damage—unless the diabetes is managed properly. In addition to testing your sugar daily you should have your doctor complete regular blood and urine tests.

  4. Check Your Blood Pressure

    Whether or not you take blood pressure medications, you should check your pressures regularly. Like diabetes, about half of people with high blood pressure (hypertension) don’t know they have it. The likelihood of kidney damage is greatly decreased when the Hypertension is treated and blood pressure is controlled.

  5. Drink Your Water

    Every adult and child needs a specific amount of water each day for a healthy body and mind. Four to six cups of water is necessary for generally healthy people, but for the best possible benefits of water, adults should drink 8 cups per day minimum.

  6. Stop Tobacco Use

    Smoking cigarettes slows blood flow, meaning the kidneys get less blood than necessary. Smoking and using tobacco products also increased the risk of kidney cancer by 50 percent.

  7. Limit NSAIDs and Painkillers

    Common NSAIDs like Naproxen and Ibuprofen can harm the kidneys if used too frequently. Limit these medications and talk to your doctor if your pain persists for more than 10 days.

  8. See Your Doctor

    The only way to insure your kidney damage is properly diagnosed and treated is to see a primary care physician (PCP) regularly. Have your doctor check for proper kidney function if you have diabetes, hypertension, a family history of kidney disease, or if you are obese.

[1] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work

[2] https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/#how_do_i_know_if_i_have_ckd

[3] https://www.worldkidneyday.org/facts/take-care-of-your-kidneys/8-golden-rules/

[4] https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html


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