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HealthPerks Newsletter for October 2013

Can Stroke Happen to You?

Nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. will suffer from stroke this year, and over 130,000 will die. Many more will be seriously or permanently disabled. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., yet common misperceptions prevent those at risk from taking steps to help prevent stroke, or get prompt treatment if they experience symptoms of stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, the most common myths about stroke include:

Myth: Stroke is unpreventable
Fact: Stroke is largely preventable

Myth: Stroke cannot be treated
Fact: Stroke requires emergency treatment

Myth: Stroke only strikes the elderly
Fact: Stroke can happen to anyone at any age

Myth: Stroke happens to the heart
Fact: Stroke is a “brain attack”

Myth: Stroke recovery takes only a few months
Fact: Stroke recovery continues for the rest of your life

Immediate treatment for stroke is critical for saving lives and limiting disability. In fact, patients who receive treatment within three hours of their first symptoms have a far better outcome than those who delay treatment by only a few hours more.

If you or someone else shows any the following sudden signs of stroke, call 911 immediately:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg – particularly on one side of the body
  • Confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking

 


To learn more about stroke, watch this short video

 


Important Breast Cancer Reminders

If you’re seeing pink everywhere you look, there’s good reason: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. For more than 20 years, pink ribbons have been worn to show support and help increase awareness of breast cancer and the need for early detection and treatment. The good news is that early intervention is saving lives, because when caught early, breast cancer has a very high survival rate.

But the battle is nowhere near finished. Today, one out of every eight women can expect to be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, making it the second most common cancer for American women, after skin cancer. This year, more than 232,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease.

If you are a woman age 40 or older, an annual mammogram is your best bet for detecting breast cancer at the earliest stage, when it’s the most treatable. Make a Pinky Promise now to get your annual mammogram, and you’ll be entered into a special HealthPerks member drawing to win a beautiful, pink leather Coach handbag. It only takes a minute to make a pledge, and it could save your life.

Take the Pinky Promise

El Camino Hospital offers free mammograms to uninsured and under-insured women in our community. Learn more.

Did you know that only 10% of women correctly estimate their risk for breast cancer? The Breast Health Center at El Camino Hospital has an assessment tool to help determine if you are at an increased risk for breast cancer. Based on your risk profile, a customized plan can be developed to help you take full advantage of the advanced technology and techniques that are now available in the fight against breast cancer. Learn more.


Men: Is Low Testosterone to Blame?

If you are a man over the age of 40, you probably know that low testosterone can result in erectile dysfunction or decreased libido. And advertising and media coverage has focused on myriad other symptoms of low testosterone, including depression, fatigue, increased body fat and reduced muscle tone. But did you know that low testosterone can also cause sleep disturbances and sleep apnea, decreased bone density, and may even increase your risk of developing and/or dying of heart disease?

Since testosterone levels gradually decline after age 30, your chances of having low testosterone increase with age. And with so many symptoms being linked with low testosterone, more men than ever are asking their physicians about tests and treatment options.

So could low testosterone be impacting your health and quality of life? If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, maybe it’s time to check in with your doctor. He’ll rule out other explanations, and then order a blood test to determine your testosterone level. If low testosterone is the culprit, treatment options can often improve symptoms in just a few weeks. But treatment can have risks, so you’ll want to review the pros and cons carefully with your doctor before deciding on the best course for your health.

If you have symptoms of low testosterone, talk to your doctor about getting screened, or call 800-216-5556 for a referral to one of our physicians today.


Organic Food: Health or Hype?

If you’re worried about the amount of pesticides in your food, you may be considering buying more organic produce. Organic produce generally costs significantly more than the conventionally grown counterparts, so understanding the latest information can help you save money while keeping your diet healthy.

According to a 2013 study by the USDA, these items – known as the “Dirty Dozen” have the highest concentrations of pesticides, even after thoroughly washing. Purchasing organic versions of these items is more important, especially if you consume them frequently:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach and other leafy greens
  • Sweet bell peppers and hot peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Summer squash and zucchini

But take heart, there are also many options that the USDA has deemed “clean”. These items have the lowest levels of pesticides, and conventionally grown varieties are generally considered safe:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet peas

Note that the levels of pesticides vary from year to year, so always check the current USDA listing for updated information.

And for a “clean” and healthy autumn meal that can be made with conventionally grown produce, try the delicious recipe in the right column.


Warning: It’s Flu Season!

The seasonal flu season begins as early as October, and can continue as late as May. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself and your family now. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. But it’s particularly important for seniors to get their immunizations early, since 90% of all flu-related deaths occur in those age 65+. Make an appointment with your doctor, or visit the nearest clinic or drugstore offering vaccines today.

As part of the El Camino Hospital Immunization Program, flu shots are now available for uninsured community residents at the RotaCare Free Clinic on the Mountain View campus.

Shots are available weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 -11:30 a.m.

No appointment necessary. Please call the flu shot hotline for regular updates on availability of the vaccine at 650-988-8255.

Download this delicious sweet potato recipe.

Download Recipe

Experiencing Joint Pain?

Learn more about the latest treatment options by attending a free lecture. Space is limited. Call 800-216-5556 to register.

Working Towards a Pain Free Total Joint Replacement
Monday, November 11th
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Matthew Miller, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon
Location: El Camino Hospital, Los Gatos Campus, Conference Room 1 & 2

Farmer's Market

Pick up some of the best seasonal produce at the El Camino Hospital Farmer’s Market, held every Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at our Mountain View campus.