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10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has increased to nearly 5.4 million, including over 200,000 under the age of 65. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 16 million people will have the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds. The Association also reports that the reported cost of the disease in 2015 is $226 billion and that nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Scientists have characterized risk factors that increase the onset of Alzheimer’s.  They are age, family history, and heredity – none of these things can be changed, however, there is emerging evidence that other factors may be the cause as well, that we can change. Research is starting to show that general lifestyle and wellness choices, and effective management of other health conditions, also have influence on developing the disease. The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age, as nearly one in three people age 85 or older has the disease.  Someone who has a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s is more likely to develop the disease as well.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are two types of genes (heredity) that play a role in affecting a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s – risk genes and deterministic genes.  Risk genes increase likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Scientists state that 20 to 25 percent of Alzheimer’s cases are due to this gene.  Deterministic genes directly cause the disease, guaranteeing that if you have the gene, you will develop the disease. Scientists claim that less than 5 percent of cases are caused by this gene.

There is a strong link between head injuries and future risk of Alzheimer’s as well, particularly when head trauma occurs repeatedly or involves a loss of consciousness. Research also supports the link between brain health and heart health in proving the brain is nourished by the heart. Science tells us that every heartbeat pumps 20-25 percent of your blood to your head, and brain cells use at least 20 percent of the food and oxygen the blood carries.  Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia increase when a person develops conditions that damage the heart and blood vessels such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

The Alzheimer’s Association encourages everyone to know the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s, as early detection is important.  The 10 warning signs are:
  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgement.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.  Currently, there is no cure, but treatments are available. Current treatment does not stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, but it can temporarily slow down the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those suffering and their caregivers. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, consider using the 24/7 Alzheimer’s hotline at 1-800-272-3900 or for additional resources, visiting their website at www.alz.org.

Smoking and Your Health: Quit Today!

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk. “Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age,” says Christie Smiskey, Nurse Practitioner with Aurora Health Care Oshkosh. “Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help such as counseling or medications. Receiving professional help can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully long-term.”

Smoking harms nearly every organ of your body and some of those effects are immediate.  Your brain becomes addicted; nicotine from cigarettes is as addictive as heroin and is hard to outdo because it changes your brain. When your brain stops getting the nicotine it has become addicted to, you develop withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiousness, and strong cravings.  Hearing loss may also occur when you smoke. Smoking reduces the oxygen supply to the inner ear which can result in permanent damage and mild to moderate hearing loss. Smoking causes changes to the eyes that can harm your eyesight, particularly for night vision.  It also increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Smokers develop many oral health problems like mouth sores, ulcers and gum disease. Smokers also have an increased risk of cancers of the mouth and throat. Smoking causes your skin to be dry and lose elasticity, a smoker’s skin tone may also become dull and grayish. Smoking raises your blood pressure, puts additional stress on your heart, and increases the risk of heart disease.  Smoking makes your blood become thick and sticky which causes damage to the lining of the blood vessels that increases risk for strokes and heart attacks.  Smoking can have many negative effects on a person’s lungs including inflammation in the small airways and tissues, chronic cough with mucus, emphysema, and increased risk of colds and respiratory infections.

The first couple of days without cigarettes can be difficult. Be sure to tell your friends and family that you have decided to quit and ask them for support. Get the support your need by finding a quit program to help you such as the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) which offers free, confidential coaching and information about how to quit. Avoid smoking triggers such as people, places and things that trigger your urge to smoke. Throw away cigarettes, lighters and ash trays, drink water, hang out with non-smokers, go to places where smoking is not allowed, get plenty of sleep, and eat healthy. Reward yourself for every hour you are smoke-free!

Within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.  In 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood stream drops to normal. Within three months, your circulation and lung function improves, and after nine months, you will cough less and breather easier.  After one year, your risk of coronary artery disease is cut in half. In five years, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half.  After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker’s.

Not only will you have more time to spend with your family, catch up on work and find a hobby, you won’t have to worry about when and where you can smoke, food will taste better, and you will have more money to spend! The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in Wisconsin is $8.11. Tobacco use costs the United States approximately $193 billion annually. This figure includes about $97 billion from loss of productivity due to premature death and $96 billion in smoking related health care costs.

It takes determination and commitment to stay smoke-free.  Quitting is a process and happens one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. 

Embracing Change and New Beginnings

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life.”  Sometimes change brings sadness and happiness all mixed together, as what is happening with my emotions right now as I leave the Y and begin a new career with Aurora Health Care as their Foundation Development Coordinator in Oshkosh and Green Bay.

In 2012, I began my role as Community Health and Wellness Director at the Oshkosh YMCA. It was my job to inform the Oshkosh community on all the many ways we can live a happy and healthy life in our community.  I called it “Bringing the YMCA to you”.  I hope every week you felt inspired by my column and felt that I brought the pillars of healthy learning to your home and family.  Many topics were discussed in the last five years such as exercise, nutrition, active aging, children and exercise, and employee wellness to name a few.  I hope I offered you information that was new and exciting and I always loved to hear how these topics made a difference in people’s lives.

The wonderful thing about working in a community like Oshkosh is being able to collaborate with other organizations.  I am going to be able to keep brining Healthy Oshkosh to our community through a continuing partnership with Aurora Health Care and Oshkosh YMCA.  The definition of collaboration is “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” The Oshkosh YMCA and Aurora Health Care work hard to continuously collaborate with other businesses and agencies in the community to constantly create and produce unique and helpful programs.  Both organizations are true leaders in the community when it comes to sharing their resources to promote healthy living.

So, I am happy to say that Healthy Oshkosh will continue to be in your Sunday morning newspaper! It just may have a slightly different look though.  I plan to continue to promote all the wonderful things happening at the Y, and around the community which improve health and well-being, but will also be able to connect with health care professionals at Aurora to add some depth and local research that directly apply to our medical community.  I hope this will add to the excitement of services that are offered through the work of Aurora Health Care in Oshkosh.

So, for now, I sign off as Molly from the Y, and sign on as Molly from Aurora. I ask that you take this journey with me and I encourage you to not be afraid of change, as we might lose something good, but find something better.  I hope you continue to find Healthy Oshkosh a valuable part of your week.

Turkey Trot Time!

The 10th Annual Festival Foods Turkey Trot will take place on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017. The Turkey Trot offers two events – a five mile run and a two mile walk – to accommodate participants of all ages and abilities. Attendees enjoy upbeat music, high quality long-sleeved t-shirts and free Festival Foods pumpkin pies at the finish line that they can take home and enjoy with their family.

The event also features a Dog Jog, in which four-legged family members are allowed to participate. The Dog Jog will start at the back of the 2-mile event and will follow the 2-mile route. No dogs are allowed on the 5-mile route. Please only bring dogs that are well-behaved and used to being around other dogs and people. The dog should be kept on a leash that is shorter than six feet, and no retractable leashes, which may be hazardous in a crowd. New this year, dogs must be registered with an accompanying adult or child. The cost to register a dog is $5, however your furry family member will receive a Turkey Trot bandana and dog treat coupon.

Registration is now open and available by visiting www.festivalfoodsturkeytrot.com. Early bird registration is going on now through October 31 for $20 per adult participant and $15 per child under the age of 18.  Regular registration begins on November 1 through November 20 for $25 per adult and $20 per child.  Race day registration on November 22 and 23 is $30 per adult and $25 per child. T-shirt sizes can only be guaranteed for those registered on or before November 19.

Shirts and bibs can be picked up at the Oshkosh Arena, 1212 S. Main Street, between 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22 and beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The Trot starts promptly at 8:00 a.m. and there are two different start lines. Be sure you are in the correct area to ensure you are on the right course. The 2-mile walk begins at the corner of Main Street and 14th Ave and the 5-mile run begins at the corner of Main Street and 11th Ave. Please note: these are new routes for the Oshkosh Turkey Trot. Detailed maps can be found on the Turkey Trot website. 

The Turkey Trot benefits the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA in communities Festival Foods serves. Both organizations provide volunteers in return for monetary proceeds. Volunteer positions are available at the Oshkosh Arena on Wednesday before the race from 2-6 p.m. and on Thursday morning before the race from 6:00-8:30 a.m. Volunteers are also needed during the race along the route and also at the water station across in Menomonee Park. To register for a volunteer position, people can log on to www.festivalfoodsturkeytrot.com and click on “Volunteer” under the Oshkosh location. In the past seven years, the Turkey Trot has donated more than $1,930,000 to participating communities.

Here are the top 10 reasons everyone should participate in the 2017 Festival Foods Turkey Trot:
  1. It’s Fun!
  2. You get to support two amazing charities in Oshkosh – the Oshkosh Boys & Girls Club and the Oshkosh Community YMCA!
  3. You receive a free Turkey Trot t-shirt for volunteering or participating!
  4. You receive a free Pumpkin Pie for participating in the 2-mile or 5-mile event!
  5. Even your dog can get some exercise in the “Dog Jog”!
  6. Start your day off right – with exercise! A 150 pound person will burn approximately 562 calories by running the 5-mile run and a 150 pound person will burn approximately 159 calories walking 3.0 miles per hour during the 2-mile walk.
  7. Relieve holiday stress!
  8. Celebrate your racing accomplishments with the most delicious post-race meal ever!
  9. Start a new, healthy family tradition!
  10. Give back to your community!
If you have questions specific to how you can get involved in Oshkosh, contact local race director, Molly Yatso-Butz at mmyatso@yahoo.com or Boys & Girls Club Charity Representative, Katie Huebner at katieh@bgcosh.org.

National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The campaign was founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and unites communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.

According to PACER, In the past, bullying had been viewed as “a childhood rite of passage” that “made kids tougher”, but bullying can have long term effects on children including low self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression.

There are warning signs parents should be aware of if their child is being bullied, however, not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs. Stopbullying.gov suggests parents look for these signs that may point to bullying:
  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behavior such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
It’s also important to recognize if your child is the bully. Warning signs that your child may be bulling others are:
  • Getting into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation and popularity
A study done in 2012 from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reported that an adult was notified in less than half (40 percent) of bullying incidents. There are many reasons kids don’t tell adults such as:
  • Bullying can make a child feel helpless and kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again
  • Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied him
  • Bullying can be a humiliating experience and kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them
  • Kids who are bullied already feel socially isolated and feel like no one cares or could understand
  • Kids may fear being rejected by their peers
Bullying is a significant problem nationwide. Schools, teachers, and parents can play a critical role in creating an environment where bullying is not tolerated. 

What Is Health Literacy?

October is Health Literacy month, a great time for organizations to promote the importance of understandable health information. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V, defines health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. David Ruby, Medical Librarian with Aurora Health Care says, “Part of health literacy is being able to understand the meaning of the advice given and understanding what the doctor, nurse, medical website or text is telling you.” Research by the National Patient Safety Foundation shows that most people need help understanding health care information, regardless of reading level, and prefer information that is easy to read and understand.

The National Center for Education Statistics reveals the health of 90 million people in the U.S. may be at risk because of the difficulty some patients experience in understanding and acting upon health information. The American Medical Association says that literacy skills are a stronger predictor of health status than age, income, employment status, education level, or racial/ethnic group. It is estimated that one in five Americans reads at the fifth grade level or below, and the average American reads at an eighth or ninth grade level. Most health care literature is written at a tenth grade level. “It is very important for consumers to understand what they are hearing or reading,” states Ruby. “Making sure our patients have the proper information is a valuable resource. The right amount of information is critical; we don’t want them to have too much or too little, and we want them to have the right amount of technical details. Librarians can connect them with that information.” Research does suggest that people with low literacy levels are more likely to make medication and treatment errors, are less likely to comply with treatments, are less likely to be able to negotiate with the health care system, and are at higher risk for hospitalization. 

“Health literacy helps patients ask the right questions, so they are prepared and know what to expect from their appointments,” explains Ruby. “When people understand their medical condition, they can ask appropriate questions regarding medications and treatments. They can utilize quality resources to research conditions or medications, and go to the physician informed about relevant symptoms they may be experiencing and treatment options available.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that persons with limited health literacy skills are more likely to have chronic conditions and are less able to manage them effectively.  It is estimated that the communication disconnect of health information between health care providers and consumers costs between $106-$238 billion per year.

Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh offers community members an opportunity to become more health literate. “Finding Reliable Health Information” is a class offered to anyone who is interested in learning more about surfing the Internet for health information. “Using the Internet to find reliable health information can be overwhelming,” states Ruby. “Knowing which sites are reliable and credible is very important. Patients need to be aware of sites that are biased, trying to sell them something, are outdated, or that make claims that are not supported by an authority or simply wrong.” Ruby states that a person can call 920-456-7039 to schedule this free class any time.

Medical libraries, such as the one at Aurora Health Care, can be great resources for patients to improve their health literacy. “The library is a usable patient resource,” states Ruby. “It can demystify questions about medical diagnosis, tests, and pharmaceuticals. It can assist in basic health terminology and can make a diagnosis less scary for the patient or their family.”

Physical Therapy: What It's All About

October is National Physical Therapy Month. The month long celebration is used to increase awareness of the valuable role physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can play in assisting people with decreased pain, improved mobility, and improved lifestyles. Ben Benesh, Physical Therapist at Aurora Health Care states, “Physical therapy is a conservative approach to treat patient ailments. It’s an alternative approach to surgery or pharmaceuticals. Physical therapy can improve musculoskeletal and neurological functions.” A physical therapist can help with arthritis, back pain, fitness, knee pain, obesity, osteoporosis, overuse injuries, shoulder pain, stroke rehabilitation, sprains, strains, fractures, and much more. 

A physical therapist is someone who applies research and proven techniques to help restore motion to a patient. All physical therapists have a graduate degree – either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate – from an accredited physical therapy program. They are then required to complete a national and state licensure examination. Physical therapists can provide care for people in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, schools, outpatient clinics, sports and fitness facilities, nursing homes and work settings. “The role of a physical therapist is to reduce pain and restore functional mobility. Physical therapists are experts in movement that specialize in musculoskeletal injuries,” explains Benesh. “Physical therapy assistants are the only other licensed health care providers that render physical therapy services under the supervision of a physical therapist.” Physical therapy assistants also complete clinical education through an associate degree program and also have to pass a state and national licensure examination. Physical therapy assistants often provide services such as therapeutic exercise, functional training, deep soft tissue massage, and physical modalities such as electrotherapy and ultrasound.
Everyone can benefit from physical therapy. Aging adults can use physical therapy programs for fall risk management, improved balance and increased strength. “Osteoarthritis, specific to the knee and shoulder, a physical therapist can have a great impact without surgical intervention,” states Benesh.  The American Physical Therapy Association states that people are often referred to a physical therapist for rehabilitation from a major medical trauma or surgery, however research suggests that treatment by a physical therapist is often equally effective, and cheaper, than surgery and prescription drugs.  Most states allow a patient to make an appointment with a physical therapist without a direct referral from their physician. “If the patient is not a good candidate for physical therapy, the physical therapist would refer the patient on to the appropriate health care professional,” explains Benesh.

Aurora Health Care in Oshkosh Physical Therapy department offers the following services:
  • Running analysis
  • Concussion management
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • TMJ therapy
  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Cancer program
  • Osteoporosis program
  • Spine rehabilitation
“Physical therapy is an individualized evaluation of a multitude of ailments,” adds Benesh. “It is our hope to establish a comprehensive program the patient can carry on for the duration of their life for preventive health and general health maintenance.”

Benesh concludes, “People should consider having a physical therapist like they have any other health care provider such as a dentist, primary care physician or chiropractor.” To learn more about how physical therapy can benefit you, contact Aurora Health Care at 303-8700.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities and health systems to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a disease in which cells become abnormal and form more cells in an uncontrolled way. The cancer begins in the tissue that makes up the breast and the cancer cells may form a mass called a tumor; however, not all tumors are cancerous. The most common types of cancer are ductal and lobular. Ductal carcinoma is cancer that begins in the ducts and grows into surrounding tissues.  About 80 percent of all breast cancers are this type. Lobular carcinoma is cancer that begins in lobules and grows into surrounding tissues.

Men and women should know what their breasts normally look and feel like so they can report any unusual changes to their doctor. Breast cancer symptoms include: a lump in or near your breast or under your arm; thick or firm tissue in or near your breast or under your arm; a change in the size or shape or your breast; nipple discharge (not breast milk); nipple changes, such as nipple inversion; and/or changes to your breast skin.

Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, as exercise boosts the immune system and helps keep people at a healthy weight.  Thirty minutes of exercise per day can begin to lower risk of breast cancer. A nutritious, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can also help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. High-fat diets increase risk because fat triggers estrogen production which can fuel tumor growth. Recent research has also confirmed that smoking is a contributor for developing breast cancer, as is secondhand smoke.  Stress can also play a role in developing some cancers.  In 2012, research studies showed that factors such as traumatic events and losses can alter a person’s immune system functions, and when immune systems are altered, cancer cells may have a greater opportunity to get establish themselves in the body. The research also showed that how a person handles the stress can also play a role.

The American College of Radiology recommends women receive a baseline mammogram at the age of 40 and continue to do so every year as long as they are in good health. Breast cancer screening looks for signs of cancer before the symptoms begin. Screening can help with early detection, when the change for successful treatment is best. A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. A clinical breast exam is when the doctor looks at and feels the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. These are typically done when a women receives her annual exam.

Current treatment options for breast cancer vary depending on the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor, type of breast cancer you have, whether or not you have reached menopause, and a person’s general health.  Surgery is the most common treatment, as the goal of surgery is to remove all cancer from the breast. Some women will need to undergo a lumpectomy, in which only the cancer is removed, not the breast. Others will have to undergo a mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed. Other forms of treatments typically combined with surgery include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. 

Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh now offers Breast tomosynthesis or 3D mammography which is a computerized imaging technology that can be added to traditional digital mammography. It creates image slices of the breast. The use of tomosynthesis helps the radiologist resolve the difficulty of detecting small, early malignancies in the more dense, more complex breast, particularly in younger patients. In addition, the use of tomosynthesis has shown to decrease the call-back of patients for questionable findings in such breasts seen on screening exams.

If you or someone you know has just finished treatments for breast cancer, the LIVESTRONG™ program at the YMCA is an excellent resource. LIVESTRONG™ at the YMCA is a twelve-week, small group program designed specifically for adult cancer survivors. The program fulfills the need of supporting cancer survivors who find themselves in the transition between cancer treatment and feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to return to their normal life or their “new normal”. The program is conducted at the YMCA to emphasize that LIVESTRONG™ is about health, not disease. For more information about the LIVESTRONG™ at the YMCA program, call the Oshkosh YMCA or visit the Livestrong website at www.livestrong.org.

Fruits and Veggies Month

The Produce for Better Health Foundation recognizes September as Fruits and Veggies month. The PBHF recommends every person make fruits and veggies about half of what you eat, every time you eat.  Combined with physical activity, eating the right amount of fruits and veggies can keep your family healthy and going strong.

Fruits and vegetables offer a magnitude of health benefits including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Research also suggests that fruits and vegetables contain compounds that play a role in preventing certain cancers as well as heart disease and stroke. By eating fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, a person will receive the most all-around health benefits. 

Red fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin.  These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol levels and support joint tissue. Common red fruits and vegetables include beets, cherries, cranberries, radishes, raspberries, red grapes, red potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.    

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C.  These nutrients lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce age-related macular generation and the risk of prostate cancer, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones. Yellow and orange favorites include butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, grapefruit, organs, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkin, and sweet corn. 

Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene.  These nutrients reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, and boost the immune system. Green fruits and vegetables include asparagus, avocados, broccoli, green grapes, lettuce, peas, spinach, kiwifruit, peas, and zucchini.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid and quercetin.  These nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost the immune system, support healthy digestion, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, and improve calcium and other mineral absorption. Familiar blue and purple fruits and vegetables are blackberries, eggplant, grapes, plums, pomegranates, purple cabbage and blueberries.   

White fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as beta-glucans and liganans that provide immune boosting activity. These nutrients activate natural killer B and T cells, reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and balance hormone levels. White fruits and vegetables include bananas, cauliflower, dates, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, and onions.

A cheaper method of eating fresh fruits and vegetables is to grow your own.  Home-grown produce has all the nutritional benefits and it costs a lot less.  For your own garden, choose the most flavorful and color variety of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are good for your budget and good for your body. 

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day

Each year on the first day of fall, national organizations from the Falls Free Coalition and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) join together for National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, a day of action to help raise awareness and prevention of falls in Oshkosh. On Friday, September 22, the Oshkosh Community YMCA is asking older adults, caregivers, family members and health care professionals in Oshkosh to unite to raise awareness to prevent falls among older adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an older adult in the U.S. is treated in the ER for a fall-related injury every 14 seconds and dies from a fall-related injury every 29 minutes. Additionally, falls put an immense strain on the health care system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. The good news is falls are preventable, and the first step to prevention is understanding risk. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and access programs that can help them reduce their risk for falls.
“Falling and fear of falling may can prevent older adults from staying active, which leads to reduced mobility, diminished quality of life and actually increases their risk of falling,” said Rich Roehrick, 20th Ave YMCA Health and Wellness Director. “The good news is that falls are highly preventable and help is available for older adults and their families who want to get active but don’t know how.”
As a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health for all families, the Oshkosh YMCA encourages older adults to learn their risk for falls by taking a fall risk test at http://www.ymca.net/health-wb-fitness/.
Once risk is assessed, the Oshkosh YMCA is helping older adults feel strong, steady and safe by reducing fall risk through programs like Senior Cycling, Senior CORE, Senior Pilates, Chair Yoga, Water Fitness, stretching and balance classes and much more!
The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:
  • Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength & balance.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.
  • Get annual eye check-ups & update your eyeglasses.
  • Make your home safer by:
    • Removing clutter & tripping hazards.
    • Putting railings on all stairs & adding grab bars in the bathroom.
    • Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.
To learn more about the Oshkosh YMCA’s Active Older Adult programs and classes visit www.oshkoshymca.org or call 920-236-3380.
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