National Health Observances/November
This month has a number of national health observances worth discussing with your family around the table at Thanksgiving.
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
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
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.
Hospice and Palliative Care Month
This important to me because of the benefit my family received from hospice when my mom was dying. Hospice provided a needed service when she decided that she had suffered enough. Often, patients and their family fear the concept of hospice and avoid the discussion of end of life issues. The truth is that most of us would not want to suffer at the end of life. And, most would not want to see their loved ones suffer in a hospital connected to more wires and tubes than anyone could imagine. Sometimes we need to look past our own personal fears and grief to do what is best for our loved one. Being prepared is always a better option than waiting until the need arises.
Family Health History Day
Also timely is National Family Health History Day on Thanksgiving Day. November is filled with national health observances so this is a great time to talk with your family about health issues that run in or are affecting family members. The more we know about our family health issues, the more we can do about them. Not all conditions are hereditary, but it is great to share this information with your HealthTexas physician.
Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.