Monthly Archives: May 2018

What to Look for on a Sunscreen Bottle

By Mindy Longhurst

Little things can be done daily to prevent skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen is a common way to prevent skin cancer. With so many options of different sunscreens at the store, it can be hard to sift through the bottles and find the perfect sunscreen. Below is a list of crucial labels to look for in a sunscreen bottle.

SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Dermatologists recommend wearing at least SPF 15 daily and SPF 30 and above if long exposure to the sun.

Brands

Throughout the research that was conducted for this article, no major health website suggested that one brand of sunscreen is better than the other.

Throw away last year’s bottle of sunscreen

It is recommended to get a new bottle of sunscreen annually. Older sunscreen can be less effective causing the SPF power of the sunscreen to be deceptive.

Apply frequently

30 minutes before going outdoors make sure to apply about 2 tablespoons of sunscreen. Then once outdoors reapply every two hours to prevent sun damage.

Broad spectrum

UVA and UVB rays are both dangerous to the skin. The broad spectrum label on a bottle of sunscreen can protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Lotion vs. sprays

There is a constant debate between lotion and spray sunscreens. Lotions sometimes feel super greasy, while the spray sunscreens sometimes do not perform as well in conditions like wind or high ventilated areas as the lotion sunscreens. Spray sunscreen should not be sprayed directly onto the face. The spray sunscreen should be sprayed on the hands and then applied to the face.

Children

Babies under the age of six months should avoid long exposure to the sun and should not wear sunscreen because of the sunscreen chemicals on their delicate skin.

For more information about sunscreen, please visit https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained

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Facts about Skin Cancer

By Mindy Longhurst

Skin cancer affects millions of adults throughout the world. Most skin cancers are a result from extended exposure to UV rays.

Higher risk of skin cancer

Some people have a higher risk of getting cancer. People with fair skin, red or blond hair and blue or green eyes are more susceptible to skin cancer.

Types of skin cancer

There are three types of skin cancer. These include Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Mole types

A mole is a skin growth on the body. There are two different types of moles. If there is a new mole growth on the body be sure to let your doctor know.

Common Mole: The common mole is a skin growth that has a distinct border and is round in shape. Common moles for the most part are harmless.

Dysplastic nevus or Atypical Mole: When doctors are checking to see if a mole is atypical or not, they follow the phrase ABCDE.

Asymmetry- Most atypical moles are asymmetrical.

Border- In atypical moles there is less of a border than common moles. The mole border blends into the surrounding skin.

Color- The color is usually irregular, with different shades of color.

Diameter- Usually atypical moles are a little bit bigger than the common mole. The average atypical mole is about ¼ of an inch.

Evolution- If a current mole is increasing in size, the mole is most likely an atypical mole.

What to do if there is a sunburn

If a sunburn does occur, make sure to see how badly the skin is damaged. If the sunburn begins to have large blisters call your doctor to see what advice they have for what action needs to take place. But, for most normal sunburns aloe vera helps the skin to heal. Doctors also recommend rest, ibuprofen and drinking plenty of water. Doing all these things will help the skin to heal faster from the damage of the sun.

What skin cancer looks like

Skin cancer looks like red, patchy skin, a dome shaped growth, a mole that looks different from other moles, a dark colored streak under the nail, or a sore that is not healing or comes back after it is healed.

 

For more information about skin cancer, please visit https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/atypical-moles/warning-signs-and-images , https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/how-can-i-tell-if-i-have-skin-cancer  and https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/moles-fact-sheet

Preventing Skin Cancer

By Mindy Longhurst

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five adults will get some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is also one of the most preventable types of cancer. People can do little things each day to make sure that they are protecting their skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Some of these tips are listed below.

Shade
Staying in the shade helps to keep your skin less exposed to the harmful rays. Shade also helps to cool the body down after being in the sun for an extended amount of time.

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Sunscreen

Make sure to wear sunscreen! It protects your skin and helps to reduce chances of getting skin cancer. Watch for our story about sunscreen later this week.

Long-sleeve clothing

Long-sleeve clothing helps to prevent the sun from having direct contact with your skin.

Wide-brimmed hat

Wide-brimmed hats protect the face, head and neck from the dangerous rays of the sun.

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Avoid sun tanning and UV tanning booths

Any form of tanning is dangerous to the skin. Tanning from the sun and tanning from a booth both cause UV exposure, which increases the risk of getting skin cancer.

Examine your skin

Individuals should take the time to examine all of their skin for any moles or discoloring. This should be done at least once a month to make sure that the skin is being taken care of properly.

Limiting long exposure to the sun

Limiting long exposure to the sun reduces the risk of burning the skin and causing damage.

Visit with your doctor

If you have any questions or concerns about skin cancer please take the time to ask your doctor at your next check-up visit.

 

For more information about how to prevent skin cancer, please visit https://www.skincancer.org/ or https://www.aad.org

Tools to Monitor High Blood Pressure from Home

By Mindy Longhurst

May is blood pressure awareness month. High blood pressure is plaguing the nation and affects almost half of all American adults. Blood pressure levels should be measured more frequently than once a year at an annual check-up visit. There are many different tools to monitor blood pressure levels from home.

At home blood pressure monitor

Most major grocery stores sell some form of an at home blood pressure monitor. These monitors range in price and can detect blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. The monitors are placed on the wrist or arm and are very similar to a blood pressure cuff at a doctor’s office.

Blood pressure reading apps

Surprisingly there are dozens of blood pressure reading apps for smartphones. Our staff at the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University compared the free blood pressure app results with a nurse’s blood pressure assessment. The app was nine points below the nurse’s reading. The blood pressure app does say that there is a standard deviation of about three points, so this can account for some of the inaccuracy.

The app works with three easy steps.

  1. Press the screen with your finger
  2. Lightly place your index finger on the rear camera. Make sure the camera is fully covered
  3. Hold until the measurement is complete

image(3)Testing the blood pressure app.

image(2)

The blood pressure cuff placed on the arm.

Keep a blood pressure journal

It is highly recommended to keep a daily blood pressure reading journal, especially if someone has high blood pressure. This journal helps to monitor blood pressure between doctor visits. When keeping the journal, make sure to bring in the blood pressure reading tool you use to show the doctor. This will help the doctor to understand the accuracy of the journal.

 

Tips on how to Lower High Blood Pressure

By Mindy Longhurst

High blood pressure is a major concern for many Americans. It can lead to cardiovascular disease, strokes and even heart attacks. There are many proactive steps that can be taken to lower high blood pressure. Some of these proactive steps are listed below.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight

One of the best ways to reduce high blood pressure is to stay at a healthy weight. Living at a healthy weight helps to increase energy levels and helps to reduce the strain on the heart.

Decrease sodium intake

Sodium causes extra water to enter the blood vessels, making it harder on the heart for the blood to be pumped. This can cause the blood pressure to increase. A simple way to decrease sodium is to cook with less sodium. Aim to consume less than 1,500 mg/day of sodium.

Increase potassium intake

Potassium helps the body to decrease the effects of sodium. Increasing potassium also allows the body to get the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Foods like oranges, lima beans and mushrooms have high levels of potassium. Aim for 3,500-5,000 mg of potassium each day.

Be more physically active

Doctors recommend having 90-150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Examples of aerobic exercise include running, biking, swimming, hiking and dancing. Doctors also recommend isometric exercise three times a week. Exercise can be more enjoyable when done with a neighbor, friend or spouse. Start exercising today!

Reduce or limit stress level

Meditation is a great way to reduce stress levels because it is simple and quick. Meditation allows the brain and body to relax and to refocus. Sleeping and taking care of the body is another way to limit or reduce the current stress level.

Knowing the Numbers behind HBP

By Mindy Longhurst

Last fall, the American Heart Association guidelines for high blood pressure were altered. The guidelines changed from 140/90 mmHg to 130/80 mmHg. With these new standards, it is estimated that almost half of all adult Americans have high blood pressure.

A blood pressure reading has two different blood pressure numbers called systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure

The systolic blood pressure is the top number of a blood pressure reading. The systolic blood pressure measures how hard your blood is exerting force against your artery walls while the heart is beating. The normal systolic blood pressure reading is 120 mmHg or below.

Diastolic blood pressure

The diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading. The diastolic blood pressure measures how hard your blood is exerting force against your artery walls in between heartbeats. The normal level is 80 mmHg or below.

There are four different categories of blood pressure. These categories are normal, elevated, hypertension stage 1 and hypertension stage 2.

Normal

The normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg or below. At this phase, the patient is recommended to stay healthy to keep the blood pressure reading normal.

Elevated

The next level of blood pressure is called Elevated. This level is when the blood pressure is consistently 120-129/less than 80 mmHg. At this phase, the patient is at risk for getting high blood pressure. The patient is recommended to do things like exercise and eat right to help maintain and lower the increasing blood pressure.

Hypertension Stage 1

Hypertension Stage 1 is the first level of high blood pressure. Hypertension Stage 1 is when the blood pressure is consistently 130-139/80-89 mmHg. At this phase, the patient is recommended to make lifestyle changes and sometimes is prescribed high blood pressure medication to help regulate the blood pressure.

Hypertension Stage 2

Hypertension Stage 2 is the second level of high blood pressure. Hypertension Stage 2 is when the blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mmHg. At this phase, the patient is recommended to make lifestyle changes and prescribed high blood pressure medication to help regulate the high blood pressure.

For more information, visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.Wv7ihu4vyUk

Health throughout the Decades

By Mindy Longhurst

Adult women over the age of 20 should get a well-woman visit annually. This check-up visit is crucial for her health and is a preventive tool. The Office of Women’s Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has created a list of health concerns and questions a female should ask her doctor throughout the decades. The list below only highlights a few items from each decade to focus on. For more detailed information about the list, please visit https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw.

20s

  • Take 400-800 mg of folic acid daily (a B vitamin)
  • Talk to your doctor about protecting yourself from the sun and the hazards of tanning

30s

  • Talk to your doctor about birth control/having children
  • Talk to your doctor about your family’s health history (especially with cancers)

40s

  • Talk to your doctor about perimenopause symptoms
  • Ask if you need to be tested for diabetes
  • Ask to have a mammogram

50s

  • Talk to your doctor about menopause symptoms
  • If 55 or older ask about lung cancer

60s

  • If 65 or older ask if you need to be tested for osteoporosis
  • Ask if you need to be tested for colorectal cancer, pneumonia and shingles

70+

  • If 74 or younger ask to have a mammogram
  • Talk to your doctor about who to make health care decisions for me if I am unable to