In my busy-ness I have failed to inform you of some key awareness months this month. For one, March is National Nutrition Month - so eat your fruits and veggies (at least 5 a day)!! March is also National Colorectal Cancer Month. This is basically to bring awareness to colorectal cancer PREVENTION methods (ie, colonoscopies starting at the age of 50)...so PLEASE GO GET YOUR COLONOSCOPY if you are 50 years old and haven't done so already!!! It could save your life!
Colonoscopies are a PROVEN method of finding colorectal cancers early, and therefore dramatically decrease your risk of dying from this type of cancer. The actual procedure is generally safe and comes with minimal discomfort (although you will be given sedatives so you won't even be aware of what's going on). The preparation for the test is actually the worst part, so you will be tied to your bathroom overnight. But, that's it! And...now colonoscopies are 100% covered by all national health insurance companies and Medicare! So...NO DEDUCTIBLE IS NECESSARY! Amazing!
March is also Brain Injury (BI) Awareness Month, a super important event! In the U.S. it is calculated that a brain injury occurs every 15 seconds. Brian injuries are not really on the radar for most people in the world, however, these frequent events are often extremely devastating and debilitating (physically, emotionally and financially) . In the best of forms (a concussion), brain injuries take minutes to hours to recover. But in the worst of forms, brain injuries can be fatal. Most often, a BI takes months of rehab to recover from and often leaves residual effects, like difficulty walking, talking, driving, reading, etc. They also are extremely expensive to treat!!
So, be safe on the roads, always wear a helmet when riding bicycles and motorcycles and truly be aware that we are all susceptible to these types of injuries. Our brains are one of our most precious resources! Protect it!!
March also happens to be Poison Prevention Month; another key awareness event. Posionings occur every day, whether it be from drinking too much alcohol (alcohol posioning), overdosing on acetaminophen, ie, Tylenol (VERY COMMON AND CAN BE FATAL!) or an accidental posioning by a child (the worst kind). These types of injuries can be prevented quite easily by limiting alcohol and drug ingestion (including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs -Tylenol, cough mediciation, etc) and by storing household cleaning & maintenance supplies as well asmedicines out of the reach of children.
And finally, March is Save Your Vision Month and Workplace Eye Wellness Month, something we tend to take for granted. Make sure your work place is ergonimically designed for optimal eye health. Wear glasses (if needed) to prevent eye strain and take frequent breaks from staring at the computer/TV screen. Also, pay a visit to your local optometrist/opthalmologist (if needed) about once a year (or more frequently if you have certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy) to update your prescriptions.
I hope this short summary gives you an update on the awareness events going on this month. April is sure to be filled with even more events/activities. As is often said, "an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure".
Till next time, stay safe!!!
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.