There are a number of important health observances this month, but, as has been true for most of this year, COVID will be a part of the conversation. In past years, I’ve encouraged conversations around the Thanksgiving table, as with other holidays this year, this one will need to be different. I would encourage you and your family to start having the conversation now about what the holiday will look like this year. COVID cases and hospitalizations have been rising recently. Families should be careful about their behaviors this year. If you’ve developed a bubble through these last many months, those inside it could be invited to Thanksgiving dinner. If not, please be cautious. We have seen many times this year that large family gatherings can have devastating consequences.
As I’ve discussed in past years, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. My Pop passed away in 2014 after suffering with Alzheimers for several years. While there is not yet a cure, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Things like staying mentally and physically active can make a difference. Avoiding activities that potentially damage the brain, like drinking alcohol, may also help. Personally, I’ve started taking a turmeric supplement to help reduce my risk. Look for curcumin supplements online or at the grocery store—that is the active ingredient in turmeric. HealthTexas carries a supplement, Memorall by Xymogen, that contains turmeric and other supplements shown to help with memory. A little prevention may make a huge difference when you are older.
American Diabetes Month is also going on in November. As my patients know, I’m passionate about helping them manage their diabetes. The goal of managing diabetes well, in my opinion, is to reduce the risk of complications. Unfortunately, many of us know people on dialysis, who are blind or who have lost extremities due to diabetes. The biggest, most concerning risk, to me, is a heart attack or a stroke. The key here is to identify the condition as soon as possible. Or, even better, prevent the condition before it begins. Things like maintaining a healthy weight and making good diet choices go a long way to prevent diabetes. Avoiding the temptation to deny there is a problem can also save your life. We’ve seen many patients who have given up control of their diabetes over these last several months. Working from home and the stress of COVID have resulted in poor diet choices and less activity. We’re encouraging everyone to do the best they can to get back on track.
As I began this article about changes due to COVID, National Family Health History Day on Thanksgiving Day, may need to look a little different. This is usually a great time to talk with your family about health issues that run in, or are affecting, family members. Try not forget these health observances. Consider having these conversations over the phone or via a FaceTime or Google Duo call. Not all conditions are hereditary, but it is great to share this information with your HealthTexas physician.