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How does Testosterone Affect Your Health?

How does Testosterone Affect Your Health?

How Testosterone Affect Your Health

Testosterone is a hormone found in both males and females. The production of testosterone speeds up during puberty and slows down around age thirty. Most people understand that men have more testosterone than women, but have little understanding of how testosterone affects their health. We’re going to shed a little light on this important hormone and how testosterone affects your health.

How Testosterone is Produced in Men and Women

Testosterone develops in the testicles in men and in the ovaries in women. However, women produce a much smaller level of testosterone than men. This is why it’s often referred to as the male hormone. Testosterone is typically associated with sex drive and sperm production in men. It can also affect bone and muscle mass and red blood cell production. 

How Testosterone Affects Men’s Health

We just mentioned a few ways testosterone affects men’s health, such as red blood cell production and bone and muscle mass. It also affects the way fat is stored in a man’s body and his mood. Low testosterone levels in men may result in:

  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Less body hair
  • Low self-esteem
  • Thinner bones
  • Less energy
  • Lower mood and feelings of depression
  • Lower energy levels

Although testosterone levels naturally taper off as men age, other factors can lower it more. Injury to the testicles as well as testicular cancer can result in lower testosterone. Chronic health conditions such as AIDS, liver disease, kidney disease, and alcoholism also decrease testosterone. Stress can also be a factor.

How Testosterone Affects Women’s Health

Like men, women see testosterone levels decrease as they age. Lower testosterone levels in women may result in low libido, reduced bone strength, poor concentration, and depression. Low testosterone in women can be caused by the removal of the ovaries and diseases of the pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands. Therapy is available, but its effects on sexual and cognitive function is unclear in post-menopausal women. 

Testosterone Facts

Testosterone in men is often a sign of a problem with the pituitary gland. However, in teenage boys, low testosterone is a sign of delayed puberty. On the other hand, boys with high testosterone levels will develop puberty early. Women with high testosterone may develop masculine features. Abnormally high levels of testosterone could be a sign of an adrenal gland problem or cancer of the testes. 

The takeaway: Your testosterone levels are a tell-tale sign of your health. If you are experiencing testosterone-related issues, it’s time for a visit with your primary care provider. Schedule a visit with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider at 662-282-4226.

Diabetes Mythbuster: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

Diabetes Mythbuster: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

Can type 2 diabetes be cured? Type 2 diabetes is a common illness, but it’s also commonly misunderstood. One of the most popular myths about diabetes is that type 2 diabetes can be cured. Is this a myth or fact? Let’s find out.

Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

The short answer is no, doctors have yet to discover a cure for type 2 diabetes. You can, however, manage type 2 diabetes, and many patients lead a relatively normal life with the right diet, exercise plan, and medicinal treatment. 

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is an impairment in the way the body produces sugar for energy. It is a metabolic disorder that leads to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can lead to problems in the nervous, circulatory, and immune systems. 

People can have type 2 diabetes for years before a diagnosis, because symptoms such as fatigue, unexplained weight loss, increased urination, and increased thirst and hunger may not be apparent at first. This is why yearly checkups with your healthcare provider are essential. Your provider performs screenings at these important visits that help them detect signs of diabetes. An earlier diagnosis and treatment lead to better outcomes.

How Can I Have a Healthy Life with Diabetes?

In a ray of positive news, most patients who follow their treatment plan and lifestyle guidelines manage type 2 diabetes without many problems. This includes eating a diabetes-friendly diet and getting at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity or exercise a day, as well as taking medication as prescribed and checking sugar levels regularly. 

Some patients falsely believe that they have cured their type 2 diabetes when their treatment plan works, and their sugar levels return to normal for a while. They may even stop their medication and visits with their diabetes care provider. This is dangerous to anyone with type 2 diabetes because, again, there is no cure, even when your treatment plan is working well. Deviating from your treatment plan will lead to higher sugar levels and a return of symptoms. 

Is it time for a yearly visit with your healthcare provider? Schedule a checkup with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider today here.

Women’s Health Through All the Stages of Life

We often think about women’s health in terms of reproductive health and mammograms, but women’s health encompasses so much more. Your health journey begins as a teen and extends through your senior years. Think about the impact we can make on our daughters and granddaughters if we teach them to care for their health before they are responsible for the health of other people like children, parents, and spouses.

Women often prioritize caring for the health of others over themselves. During Women’s Health Month it’s time to focus on your wellbeing. Afterall, if your health fails you won’t be able to care for the ones you love as you wish.

A woman’s body and health concerns change with every stage of life. So, where do you start with maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You begin way back in the teen years, but don’t worry if you’re long past that stage in life. Starting now is always the best time to start.

The Office on Women’s Health provides a handy checklist for various stages of women’s health from ages 18-100. We’re including a shortened version of that list here.

Ages 13-18

Healthy lifestyles start early. By taking your teen for a women’s health visit early, you’re teaching her to care for her body. You’re also providing her with access to a trusted medical provider to whom she can ask all those questions she may be too embarrassed to ask you. At this age, your daughter’s visit will mimic a wellness visit. You can expect the doctor or nurse practitioner to check:

  • Blood pressure
  • A1C for Type1 Diabetes
  • Body Mass Index

They will likely also screen for

  • Depression
  • Alcohol use
  • Tobacco use

These visits are the perfect time to take care of immunizations such as flu and meningococcal. For sexually active teens, providers can discuss birth control and test for STDs.

Ages 19-39

Women of childbearing age add a few screenings and tests to their usual well-women checkups. If you fall into this category, be prepared for these screenings:

  • PAP test every 3 years from age 21-30 and every 5 years after age 30
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea for women who are sexually active
  • Syphilis if you’re at increased risk
  • Clinical breast exam starting at age 21
  • HIV screening with follow up as needed

Sounds like a lot, but your doctor or nurse practitioner can cover all these screenings in one short exam. Plus insurance generally covers your yearly women’s health exam which makes checking off your health exam an easy fix.

Ages 40-49

It’s time to schedule your yearly mammogram! Once you hit age 40, you’ll add this screening to your yearly appointment. Luckily, the list of additional screenings isn’t very long after 40. Your doctor will continue to monitor your blood pressure and blood glucose if you’re at risk for high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Ages 50-64

Although it doesn’t sound like a “women’s health” issue, you’ll add a colorectal screening to your list at age 50. Most women only have a colonoscopy every 10 years so it’s not a routine part of your yearly wellness check. You’re also eligible for the Shingles vaccine at age 50. If you do not have a cervix at this age, you will no longer need a PAP test. Your doctor will likely recommend a lung cancer screening if you smoke. And you’ll want to talk to your doctor about a bone mineral density test.

Ages 65+

Depending on your risk factors your doctor may check your blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol every two years, every year, or more regularly. You may also be able to stop PAP tests for cancer now. 

Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about whether or not you still need these tests after age 75:

  • Colorectal screening tests
  • Mammogram

All these tests and screenings help you and your doctor stay ahead of any problems that may crop up in your health, but your health depends on your daily activities to stay strong. Regardless of your age it’s important to talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner or licensed therapist about any mental health struggles you have. Depression, anxiety, and addiction don’t strike based on your age. It’s important to learn how to manage stress in healthy ways through every stage of your life.

Other important factors for women’s health include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising 2-3 times per week
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers nurse practitioners and licensed therapists to help with all your healthcare needs. Contact our office at (662) 282-4226 for an appointment.

Healthy Ways to Lose Weight and Reduce BMI

Losing weight sounds easier than it really is. Diet plans often include expensive supplements. Nutrition labels contain confusing information. Daily schedules prevent us from cooking healthy meals. Yet our doctor (and our scales) keep reminding us how important it is to maintain a healthy weight. In today’s blog, we’re breaking down weight loss truths to help you stay healthy.

Truth: It’s not about your weight

Instead of focusing on the number on the scales take a look at your Body Mass Index. Your BMI offers a rough look at how much fat mass you’re likely to have. You can find an online calculator, but it’s best to let your doctor work out that number for you. Left to our own devices, most of us will knock a few pounds off our weight or add an inch or two to our height which can skew results. If you’re super athletic you’re likely to have a higher BMI due to muscle weight. At a glance, it might make you think you need to lose weight when you really don’t. Your doctor can help you figure out what your BMI means to you.

Truth: Your BMI determines your health risks

A BMI of 30+ indicates obesity which increases your risks of getting sick and dying from a whole host of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol. Lowering your BMI improves your overall health and can lead to a longer life with higher quality.

Truth: Small starts count

Maybe you’re not ready to change your entire lifestyle and lose a hundred pounds. We understand that. Big changes are scary and uncomfortable. So let’s start small. Instead of aiming at a big weight loss goal, perhaps your goal is not to gain any more weight. Or maybe you want to start by losing 5% of your body weight. A small percentage of weight loss can add up to big benefits in the health department. It’s not about wearing certain size clothes but choosing a healthier lifestyle.

Truth: Recording your meals works

Whether you prefer pen and paper or an online app, studies show when we record our meals we lose more weight. Why? Because most of us don’t really know how much we eat. For one week write down everything you eat. You’ll likely be surprised by when and how much you eat. You’re not alone. Once you know where and when you’re consuming empty calories you can create a plan to reduce those triggers. 

Truth: Exercise + Healthy Eating = Weight Loss

Let’s define exercise here. You don’t have to spend an hour on a spin bike every other day or run a 5K three times a week. Start small. Create a schedule. Make it easy. Choose an activity you enjoy and commit to doing that activity 2-3 times a week. Maybe it’s taking a 20-minute walk after dinner on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Track your movement. If you’re moving more this week than you moved last week, you’re headed in the right direction.

Truth: Nutrition and meal planning matters

Not all foods are created equal. Some foods contain more nutrients than others. We reduce our calorie intake when we swap out empty calories for foods with a higher nutritional value. We also stay full longer. At the beginning of this article, we mentioned the confusing information on nutritional labels. We have a secret weapon for figuring out how to create a nutrient-rich eating plan. Her name is Erica Witcher. She’s a registered dietitian who works with our patients to create meal plans that support their goals.

If your BMI is keeping you from living a healthy lifestyle and you’re adding more medication to manage more chronic illnesses, we can help. Call our clinic at (662) 282-4226 to make an appointment with Erica or ask for a consultation with her during your next appointment at our clinic.

Signs You May Have a Drinking Problem

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2019, more than 25 percent of adults aged 18 and older admitted to binge drinking in the last month before being surveyed. That’s a frightening statistic, and what’s equally alarming is the 6.3 percent of adults over 18 who admitted to heavy alcohol use in the past month. Today, we’re looking at signs you may have a drinking problem.

What is “alcohol culture”?

Although these numbers are high, they’re not exactly surprising. Today, “alcohol culture” is a buzz term that most adults don’t take seriously. Alcohol culture refers to the set of traditions and social behaviors that surround the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol use is more accepted now than ever before. 

Social drinking–casual drinking in a social setting without the intention of getting drunk–has contributed to the rise of alcohol culture in America. With contributing factors like happy hours at popular bars, many people are socially drinking every day. This daily use of alcohol can quickly spiral out of control and soon a social drink turns into stopping by the liquor or beer store after work for drinks to take home. Next thing you know, you’re skipping happy hour altogether to go home and drink alone, or your happy hour turns into a full night at the bar with the bartender taking your last drink away so you’ll go home. 

Signs You May Have a Drinking Problem

The following questions are used by medical providers to determine if you have alcohol use disorder. You could have a problem even if you only identify with one or two symptoms. Alcohol use disorder ranges from mild (two to three drinks per day) to severe (more than six drinks daily). Dysphoria, malaise, and feeling low are all possible symptoms of alcohol use disorder. In addition to these symptoms, you may have alcohol use disorder if you say yes to one or more of these questions. Have you:

  • Experienced times when you drank more or longer than you intended?
  • Tried to cut down on drinking more than once but were unsuccessful?
  • Spent a lot of time being sick or hungover from drinking?
  • Wanted a drink so badly that you couldn’t think of anything else?
  • Found that drinking often interferes with your home or family life, or even work or school obligations?
  • Continued drinking even though it is affecting your mental and/or physical health?
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms after the alcohol have worn off, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, nausea, a racing heart, or hallucinations? 

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to talk with your healthcare provider about getting help. You should know that people who have been drinking alcohol heavily for a long period of time are at risk of experiencing severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. This is why you should seek medical help to aid in a safe recovery. Your provider can prescribe medication that will ease severe withdrawal symptoms, and they can monitor your recovery. 

The takeaway: Alcohol culture encourages people to drink. But if you have trouble staying within the limits of social drinking or can’t say no to a drink, you could be at risk for alcohol use disorder. Mantachie Rural Health Care has professionals that can help you recover from alcohol use disorder. Contact us for help today at 662-282-4226 or visit www.mantachieclinic.org/contact-us.

Childhood Nutrition Needs at Every Stage

According to healthychildren.org, one in three children in the United States are obese. In addition to a preference for screen time over physical activity, children’s diets are playing a major role in childhood obesity. Today, we’re taking a look at childhood nutrition needs at every stage. 

Filling your child’s tummy and preventing hunger isn’t the goal for your child’s diet. Their diet should also provide proper nutrition and healthy ingredients to help your child reach their milestones.

Infants and Toddlers

Got milk? Breastmilk or formula provides just about every nutrient an infant needs during their first year of life. However, breastmilk may not provide enough iron and zinc in infants ages six to nine months. At six months, infants are ready to start adding solid foods to their diet. Fortified cereals and meat can provide the iron and zine infants are missing from breastmilk. 

A key thing to know about toddlers and eating is that their appetites come and go in spurts, just as toddlers are growing in spurts at this age. It’s completely normal for a toddler to want to eat everything in sight one day and to eat like a bird the next day. It’s important to make each meal and snack count nutritionally at this stage. Two nutrients to provide are calcium and fiber. 

Preschool and Lower Elementary 

Calcium and fiber are two key nutrients your child needs at the preschool stage. At this age, kids become more defiant about what they will and won’t eat. They turn to foods like chicken nuggets and mac n cheese as their favorites while fruits and vegetables become less preferred. Despite this, feeding your preschoolers enough fruits and vegetables is vital to their health and developmental growth. Add a serving of fruits or veggies to each of your child’s meals and choose at least one healthy snack a day. Go for easy to eat, colorful veggies like carrots and fibrous, nutrient-dense fruits like apples and berries. 

Your healthy eating efforts with your children may stall when they become elementary school students. Cakes, candy and other less nutritious options are often available with school lunches and you won’t be there to swap their chocolate cake with a serving of mixed berries. One way to combat the school lunch is to pack your child’s lunch from home. This way, you still have control over what they are eating and can ensure they are getting a nutritious, healthy, well-rounded meal. If its necessary for your child to eat school lunches, be sure they are getting the nutrients they need in the meals you serve at home. 

As children interact with others, they’ll develop their own ideas of what a healthy diet looks like. Some of these ideas may last a day, others may last a lifetime. For instance, your child may go through a vegetarian phase when they learn the sad side of how we get meat. Protein is a key nutrient at all stages of life, and you may have concerns that a vegetarian diet won’t give your child everything they need. However, foods like lentils and peanut butter are full of protein! If your child wants to try a new diet, learn everything you can about it so you can help your child make good choices about their food. 

Preteens and Teens

Ah, the puberty stages. Also known as the stages every parent secretly fears. Our children’s bodies undergo major changes, and they need more calories during puberty to keep up. However, many preteens and teens, particularly girls, will start worrying about their weight and take steps to restrict their caloric intake. Boys often have the opposite thoughts and want to take in more calories to gain weight. Unfortunately, both boys and girls make unhealthy eating choices at these stages. 

One way to encourage your teens and preteens to eat healthily is to teach them facts about diets such as why their caloric intake is so important and how they can get those calories in a healthy way. Your teens and preteens may be tempted to fill up empty stomachs with junk food but you can discourage this by limiting the amount of junk food in your kitchen and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables and other healthier options like nuts.

Caloric intake isn’t the only important thing to consider with your preteen or teen’s diet. Other nutrients like calcium become even more vital at this stage because their bodies and bones are growing so quickly. Replacing certain nutrients also depends on your child’s gender. Girls, for instance, will need to replace the iron they lose during menstrual cycles to avoid becoming anemic. Boys need a bit more protein than girls to help them stay at a healthy weight and increase muscle mass. Keep these things in mind as you teach your kids about healthy eating. 

Are you concerned about your child’s diet? If they are struggling to meet physical milestones and always seem to be a bit underweight, it’s time to get help from a nutrition specialist. Our dietitian, Erica Witcher, RDN, CDCES can assess your child and help you develop a plan to get them on the right nutritional track. Click here to request an appointment.

Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but they become especially important when you are in recovery from addiction or other mental health conditions. Today, we’re taking a look at the importance of healthy boundaries in recovery and how to set and enforce them. 

What are Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits set to protect yourself and others in a relationship. They help us define who we are while allowing others to be who they are. Boundaries also keep you from being taken advantage of or manipulated. 

Boundaries, like anything else, can be unhealthy. Unhealthy boundaries may include abandoning your personal beliefs or values for acceptance, establishing new relationships without considering how they will affect your recovery, and trusting no one or everyone. Knowing the difference between healthy boundaries and unhealthy boundaries is essential to maintaining your recovery. 

Healthy boundaries basically look like the opposite of unhealthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries include:

  • Carefully evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of each relationship
  • Maintaining your personal beliefs and values regardless of other’s opinions
  • Saying no to gifts, favors, and actions that do not support your recovery
  • Clearly and respectfully expressing what you need or want
  • Developing appropriate trust with others
  • Treating yourself with respect and kindness

Now that you know what healthy boundaries look like it’s time to set the boundaries you need and implement them. Key emphasis on the implementation of these boundaries. Boundaries do no good if you don’t enforce them. Setting and enforcing boundaries looks like this:

  • Establishing a self “bill of rights” such as a right to your own thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs and right to express how you want to be treated
  • Identifying sobriety risk factors including obvious ones like avoiding a bar if you are an alcoholic and less obvious triggers like watching a football game with friends
  • Setting the boundaries based of your bill of rights and recovery risk factors
  • Enforcing the boundaries and remaining accountable
  • Respecting other people’s boundaries

Need more support in  your addiction recovery? We can help. Call 662-282-4226 to schedule a visit. 

American Diabetes Association Celebrate Removal of Medicare Requirement that Delayed Access to CGMs

The American Diabetes Association and diabetes patients across the country are celebrating a recent change to a Medicare requirement that delayed access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for many patients with diabetes. Before July 18, 2021, Medicare patients with diabetes had to stick their fingers at least four times a day to qualify for coverage for a CGM. This requirement prevented many patients who could benefit from a CGM from access to the technology. 

Advocate teams for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) worked closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove the finger-stick requirement. The ADA has championed the removal of this requirement for many years. Considering one in five Medicare beneficiaries also have diabetes, the removal of this barrier makes a considerable difference for the community of patients with diabetes.

What is a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

A continuous glucose monitor delivers real-time, “dynamic” information about blood sugar levels to patients with diabetes. This technology has led to better management of diabetes and overall improved health outcomes. 

How Newly Qualified Patients Get Coverage

Newly qualified individuals with diabetes now only need to undergo a simple, no-finger-stick approval process to get coverage for a CGM. Out-of-pocket costs depend on a variety of factors including the type of Medicare plan you have and where you choose to purchase your CGM. Talk with your healthcare provider and Medicare representative to find out what if any out-of-pocket costs you may incur. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care is thrilled about new access to coverage for this groundbreaking and life-changing technology. If you are a patient with diabetes and would like to learn more about getting coverage for a CGM, contact us today to schedule a time to talk with your provider. 

How Vacations Help You Stay Healthy…Plus Ideas for Relaxing Staycations!

Ah,  vacations. Seems like we’re all constantly dreaming of our next getaway. Turns out there’s a good reason for wanting more time off or away. Science says vacations help you stay healthy, even staycations have their benefits! Here’s how:

Vacations relieve stress.

The pressures of everyday life can set off stress hormones including cortisol and epinephrine. Over time, these same hormones can lead to depression, weight gain, poor sleep habits, and other serious health problems. 

Getting away makes you feel happier.

You know how you instantly get in a better mood the minute you hit the road to begin a vacation? That feel-good mood often carries on for weeks after as a post-vacation buzz. The key to staying happy is about how often you get away rather than how long. 

Time off improves your heart health.

Taking time off from work can reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, better known as heart disease. According to WebMD, one study shows that time off for a staycation is linked to lowered blood sugar levels and higher levels of good cholesterol. 

Vacations bring better sleep.

Plan your trip in advance for better sleep before, during, and after your vacation. Take advantage of the break from everyday chores and responsibilities and get in as many naps and late sleep as possible. 

Getaways help you recharge your energy and focus.

Having trouble concentrating at work? It’s time for a vacation. Even a staycation can leave you re-energized and ready to tackle any task coming your way.

Time off strengthens your immune system.

Remember those stress hormones we mentioned earlier? Those hormones can also weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. Taking a break helps keep those hormones in check.

Vacations help you live longer.

From reducing your risk of infections and conditions like heart disease to lowering your stress level, time off or away from the everyday routine can lengthen your lifespan. 

Trips strengthen relationships.

Studies have shown that couples who travel together are happier than those who don’t and are both individually more physically and mentally fit than others. If your relationship with your spouse or another loved one could use room for improvement, try traveling together for the ultimate bonding experience. 

Relaxing Staycations

We get it. There isn’t always room in the budget to save up for a vacation. Good thing there are plenty of staycation ideas that are fun, relaxing, and still offer a break from everyday life. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Visit your local and state parks. We promise there is a state park within a short driving distance of your hometown. And if it’s still too far, pack a picnic and head to your favorite local park to spend the day basking in the sunlight and feeding ducks. In North Mississippi, try your hand at disc golf at Tombigbee State Park just south of Tupelo or canoe Bear Creek or hike a trail at Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo County. Camp out at Trace State Park in Belden or hit the highway to Holly Springs for a fun day at Wall Doxey State Park. Wall Doxey and JP Coleman, located at the northeasternmost tip of Mississippi are especially fun for boaters. 
  • Host a backyard campout. Invite a few friends or keep it just the family. Leave the household responsibilities inside, gather your camping gear, and head out back to set up camp. This is possibly the easiest camping trip you’ll ever take because everything you need is already there! You may think your backyard isn’t far away enough but just getting outside improves your mood and your health. 
  • Plan a no-connection day or weekend. Tell your friends and loved ones that you’re cutting ties with all things digital for a day or a weekend if you can swing it. Spend the day reading a book, practicing a hobby, or channeling your creative side. We know you may need to check your phone occasionally for missed calls or texts, but keep those phone checks to a minimum. Simply unplugging for a while can help you recharge and refocus.
  • “Tour” a nearby town. Mississippi and all of the great states that make America have a slew of amazing little towns that are full of surprises. Pick a nearby town on the map and start researching things to do, places to eat and shop, and other fun adventures. New Albany is a great place right here in North Mississippi that offers unique shopping and eating opportunities along with fun outdoor activities like the Tanglefoot Trail. Or you can travel a little closer to Tupelo, North Mississippi’s cultural hub and home of the King of Rock n Roll. Dine on some of the best food in the state, visit the Elvis Presley Museum and Birthplace, and spend some time at Veterans or Ballard Park. 

How to Prevent Lung Disease

Lung disease refers to any disorder affecting the lungs. These illnesses include but are not limited to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), infections including pneumonia and influenza, and lung cancer. Lung disease is a common cause of death in both men and women. Thankfully, you can prevent or reduce your risk of developing lung disease with these steps.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Disease

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of a disease is to get educated on its causes and symptoms, as well as ways to prevent it. Signs and symptoms of lung disease include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling like you aren’t getting enough air
  • Persistent, chronic cough
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Pain or discomfort when breathing 

Causes and Prevention

Although it is possible for lung disease to develop with no known cause, most cases can be traced back to a certain cause. Smoking any type of tobacco or marijuana product and exposure to asbestos, radon, and air pollution are the most common causes of lung disease. Preventing these exposures are part of the many steps you can take to reduce your risk of lung disease. Prevention steps include:

  • Quitting or never starting smoking.
  • Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke. Ask smokers to take it outside both at home and in the workplace. Avoid public places that allow smoking.
  • Test for radon. Exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung disease. Test kits are available in most hardware stores and you can visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website to learn more about dealing with radon
  • Avoid exposure to asbestos. Workers who are exposed to insulation and other materials containing asbestos as well as mechanics who work on car brakes and clutches are at risk for exposure. Wear a mask and protective clothing and ask your employer about other ways to reduce exposure to asbestos.
  • Protect yourself from dust or fumes. Those many masks you bought during the pandemic can also reduce your risk of lung disease by reducing your exposure to dust and fumes during certain household chores or work duties.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps prevent lung disease.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you should get a spirometry test. This test measures how much air you can breathe in and out as well as how fast you can blow air out. 
  • Ask your provider about vaccinations for the flu, pneumonia, and other infections that can lead to lung disease. 

Are you concerned about your risk of lung disease? Your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider can help. Schedule a visit to discuss your concerns and get tested for certain lung conditions. 


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