Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Growing Benefits of Gardening

Now that Mother’s Day has passed, Colorado is considered “in the clear” for gardening. Of course, living in Colorado means we can never guarantee the weather, but that shouldn’t keep us from getting our hands in the dirt! Gardening has many great health benefits for dirt lovers of all ages.

One of the most obvious benefits is easy access to healthy food. Not only is the produce you grow the freshest possible, but when you grow it yourself, you can also rest assured knowing where it came from. Organic produce is extremely affordable when it comes from your own garden!

Gardening is also good for your mind, heart, and happiness. Whether it is growing food or tending to a flower garden, getting your hands in the dirt can decrease stress, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even improve symptoms of depression and lower the risk of dementia.  It puts you outside in the fresh air and sunshine, showering you with Vitamin D which helps improve mood. It increases hand strength and dexterity and can boost your immune system too.

Growing plants and food is also great for kids. It is always fun to get dirty, watch something grow from a seed and there is nothing quite like eating a strawberry or tomato right off your own plant! Kids get more from gardening than you may expect, however. It isn’t all fun and dirt. Gardening can help improve science skills, improve nutrition knowledge, promote healthy eating, and instill an appreciation and respect for nature. Gardening with friends or at school can help boost social skills and cooperation, even for the quietest of kids. The sense of accomplishment kids get from seeing something they planted grow gives them a great sense of confidence too.

For some, the idea of starting a garden can seem overwhelming. There are so many options for soil, fertilizers, and seeds. Then there is the idea of watering it regularly, weeding and caring for the plants. But gardening doesn’t have to be all work. You can start small with a garden box or kit that comes complete with everything you need for a few plants. Try putting some herbs in pots first or planting some simple wildflower seeds in an empty bed in your yard. Not everything will turn out perfectly but the point is to get out and try it. Once you’ve planted the seed of gardening, your love for it is sure to grow! Don’t forget to check out www.GetOutdoorsColorado.org for garden programs and activities.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life is Good Again Thanks to 9Health Fair!

Becky knew something wasn’t right. She had always been full of energy; she loved to walk her dog, go for a jog around her neighborhood and get together with friends for dinner or other fun activities.

However, about a year and a half ago Becky started noticing a change in her energy level and her overall health. She tried making some changes on her own including cutting out certain foods, getting more sleep, spending time relaxing and meditating. Nothing seemed to be working and the symptoms were getting worse. She was having the chills, coughing quite a bit, her head felt like it was spinning all the time and she was very lethargic.

Becky finally decided to visit her doctor.She explained her symptoms, expressing that she was having difficulty with daily tasks and often felt like she wasn’t going to make it through a day. After many tests, her doctor still couldn’t figure out what was going on with her.Spring was nearing and a close friend invited her to attend a 9Health Fair to see if she might be able to find some answers there. Becky was thrilled about the idea and decided to pay for the blood chemistry screening and see if that showed anything that hadn’t been diagnosed at her doctor’s office. When her results came back, she was astonished to see that a thyroid problem was found. She took her results to her doctor and he told her that he didn’t even think about testing for thyroid issues.

Becky is now on thyroid medication and has things under control. She feels much better and is back to her active, healthy, happy self. And she is more convinced now than ever that you have to be your own personal health advocate. 9Health Fair gave her the opportunity to own her health and made her feel like there is hope again.

There’s one more opportunity to attend 9Health Fair on June 6th at the Fillmore Auditorium. Visit our website for information on this and the Family 9Health Fairs in the fall. Also learn important facts on how you can own your health and be your very own advocate. 9Health Fair is here to help you live a healthy life!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Small but Mighty

What is small, shaped like a butterfly and controls many of your body functions?
Answer: Your Thyroid Gland.

Located above the Adam's apple, your thyroid produces thyroid hormone (TH), which regulates temperature, metabolism, heartbeat and a plethora of other things from brain to bowels. Many body functions can be affected when your thyroid is under- or over-active. If it's sluggish, it produces too little TH; overactive, and it produces too much.

More than 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder and about half of them do not know it, according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. If you are a woman, you are 10 times more likely than men to have a thyroid problem, says integrative medicine specialist Dr. Robin Miller, co-author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to MidLife & Beyond. A thyroid dysfunction is the most common out of range level found from 9Health Fair results, bringing the possibility of relief to hundreds of participants each year.

While there are many thyroid diseases and disorders, the two most common are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism, affecting about five percent of Americans, is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Symptoms vary from person to person, and if left untreated, they tend to worsen over time. Temperature changes may be noticed more for people with hypothyroidism. There may also be a number of physical effects that can occur including:
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Weight gain
  • Depression or memory problems

Hyperthyroidism is less common, affecting approximately one percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excess of hormones. Hyperthyroidism can lead to weight loss, excessive sweating, fast heartbeat, and a nervous mood. Other symptoms can include:
  • Brittle hair or skin thinning
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nervousness or excessive sweating
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • Trembling in your hands

What causes your thyroid to get out of sync? It could be genetics, an autoimmune attack, pregnancy, stress, nutritional deficiencies, or toxins in the environment, but experts aren't entirely sure. Treatments can be as simple as taking a medication depending on the condition. Finding out how your thyroid is functioning is the first step. 9Health Fair blood chemistry screening includes a TSH level which most health care providers will start with.

Are you more likely to get your thyroid checked? Share with us on Facebook.

Monday, May 11, 2015

What Your Body Is Telling You

Depending how old you are, you have been living in your body for many years. But how often do you stop to listen to what it is telling you?

Stop and think about it, your body is always communicating with you …
  • When you can’t breathe walking up a flight of stairs
  • When you feel sick with the flu
  • When your heart skips a beat when you see your beloved
  • When you get stomach flutters at the top of the roller coaster
These are all loud and clear communications most of us have experienced at one time or another. But what about the more subtle whispers or even the silent indicators that your body is sending you? That’s where your 9Health Fair results can help you receive communication from your body.

In the coming days and weeks thousands of people who attended 9Health Fair will receive their 9Health Fair results that provide a behind-the-scenes tour of their health and messages their body is sending.

The results shed light on how your body is functioning by providing information about the amount of certain key elements that are critical to the appropriate function of your body’s organ system. For example, 9Health Fair results show all of the levels in your cholesterol HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and cholesterol ratio which is important in understanding your risk for heart disease. This chart shows what the ranges are, but you need your actual results to see how you are doing.

Once you receive the message your body is sending through your 9Health Fair results, you have the power to change them if needed. Small changes can make a big difference, says Lori Mosca, MD, director of the Columbia Center for Heart Disease Prevention in New York City."For every point you raise your HDL -- that's the 'good' cholesterol -- you reduce your risk of coronary disease by 2%," she says. "So just raising HDL by five points cuts your heart disease risk by 10%!"

To learn more about your 9Health Fair results, our website will provide you with answers to many of your questions and help you know what your blood results mean. For important links and more in-depth information about our screenings and results, visit the 9Health Topic of the Month page. You can also contact your health care provider, a 9Health Fair nurse (303-698-4455), or a King Soopers or City Market pharmacist for additional questions you may have. Pharmacists do not diagnose or treat, but they can help you understand what the terms mean and what they are testing.

Non-Fasting results
The 9Health Fair Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), comprised of an array of top medical professionals, has been following the research on the trend towards non-fasting blood serum results for several years. For the first time, 9Health Fair has made fasting before the blood chemistry screening optional. Two levels may appear out of the normal range on non-fasting blood chemistry results. Glucose and triglyceride levels can be affected by eating prior to having your blood drawn. Both measures are easily interpreted as non-fasting levels by health care providers.
This change will help get rid of the fasting obstacle and make it easier for people to get the screenings.

Make sure to check us out on Facebook for the latest health news.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring into Active this May

The weather in Colorado is pretty nice all year round, but spring is one of the best times to be active. Now that we’re getting closer to summer it means several things: warm weather, more sunshine and more outdoor activities. Not only is May the month of flowers, but it’s also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. It was created to raise awareness about the importance of staying active, and there is no better time to be active than now! Getting out and moving doesn’t just have to be working out or going for a run, you can be active by walking around outside and exploring the wonderful city we live in.

Denver has some great activities to do with your friends and family this month. Check out these three festivities that will get you out and about:

Downtown Denver Arts Festival - May 22-24: If you are an art lover then this is perfect for you! Head on down to the Denver Performing Arts Complex to see more than 100 paintings, photographs, sculptures and more by some of Colorado’s best arti
sts. This event is free of charge.

Denver Day of Rock - May 23: Anyone is welcome to come jam out to some great music and eat great food. This day of rock is presented by Amp the Cause, raising awareness for the children of the community. Free music will be set up along the 16th Street Mall from 2:30 to 9:30. Spend the day with your friends and family in Denver listening to some great music.

ArtStir Denver - May 23-24: This free event features more than 225 local and regional artists representing every arts district in Colorado. It showcases a variety of works in painting, photography, illustrations, textiles, furnishings, mixed media and locally designed/handcrafted goods. Head on out to the Denver Pavilions for a great art experience!

Walk around, soak up some Vitamin D, with your sunscreen on of course, and spend quality time socializing in our spectacular city.

Take a more in-depth look at these and other fabulous Denver festivities in May and throughout the summer… heading out and about is a great way to celebrate the warm weather, meet new people and stay active!

And for important information on health related topics, check out 9Health Fair’s Topic of the Month page. It’s a great way to get educated on a variety of wellness subjects.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Health eCareers Helps 9Health Fair Recruit Volunteers

Remember the last time you attended 9Health Fair and all the medical professionals providing screenings and education? Believe it or not, every person you encountered was volunteering his or her time, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, registered dieticians, specialists and more.

Not only is Health eCareers thrilled to be an official partner of this year’s 9Health Fair, but the company has stepped up to help 9Health Fair find qualified medical professionals to volunteer at 9Health Fair.

With a network of more than 1.7 million job seekers, thousands of healthcare employers and more than 100 exclusive association partners, Health eCareers is designed to match qualified healthcare professionals – from physicians to non-clinical staff – with medical providers looking for top talent.

Based in Centennial, Colo., Health eCareers is the healthcare industry’s career hub for professionals, providers and associations. It is more than just a place to look for your next job — it’s a resource to help you advance your career at every stage. Health eCareers also provides industry news, career advice and salary information targeted to your healthcare specialty.

To learn more, visit healthecareers.com, check out our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Fast and Convenient Without Fasting!

Owning your health just got even easier. With over 130 locations from April 17-May 2 to choose from, it’s always been convenient to attend 9Health Fair. This year, you don’t have to fast before getting the blood chemistry screening.

The 9Health Fair Medical Advisory Committee has determined that fasting is not required (optional) for blood screenings. Recent studies suggest that when assessing risk for heart disease, a blood sample from someone who has not fasted is more accurate than a sample from someone who has fasted. This is good news for both healthcare providers and patients, as fasting for routine blood work sometimes presents an inconvenience and may discourage routine screening.

What happens if I don’t fast?
Your glucose and triglyceride levels can be affected by eating prior to having your blood drawn. The levels may be different than your fasting results, however, as long as you can report how many hours it has been since you’ve eaten, medical professionals will know how to interpret your results.

The range of acceptable values on the results reflect fasting values. Even though these are the ranges you will see on the Quest Diagnostics results, here are the ranges health care professionals use when interpreting non-fasting glucose levels:
Under 140 mg/dl    normal
140-199 mg/dl    pre-diabetic
200 and above    diabetes

9Health Fair offers another screening, the Hemoglobin A1c, that measures glucose metabolism over a two or three month period.  This test is a very good screening test, and is not impacted by fasting. The Hemoglobin A1c screening costs $30 and is available at all 9Health Fairs.

The normal range for fasting triglycerides is 150 mg/dl or lower.  It is estimated that non-fasting can raise your triglycerides by up to 20%. There is a mounting body of evidence in the medical literature that non fasting triglyceride results are both a more accurate representation your true levels and are more predictive of your risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) which can lead to heart attack and stroke as well as reduced blood flow to vital organs and ones extremities.

If your fasting triglyceride level is at the top of the normal range (150 mg/dl), your non fasting triglycerides could be up to 180 mg/dl which is a small differenc
e that would not be a major factor in your health care provider’s ability to decide your treatment options.

As always, people with diabetes should not fast; it is recommended that you check with your medical provider for specific recommendations. You are encouraged to drink plenty of water and continue to take prescription medications in preparation for your blood draw.

9Health Fair is proud to be on the front end of this important medical trend that helps break down obstacles from receiving health screenings that can provide accurate, valuable information to each participant and his/her health care provider.

For more information go to 9HealthFair.org/fasting or specific questions call 9Health Fair at 303-698-4455.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Painting His Way Back to Health

John has loved to draw and paint since he was a child, and now feels lucky to be able to make a living as an artist. Outdoor nature pictures are his favorite to paint; he gets his ideas from his most loved activity, hiking. If he isn’t busy doing artwork, he is in the mountains taking in the beauty while thinking about his next masterpiece.

However, within the last couple of years, John started to notice that sometimes he would be shaky and have a difficult time drawing a straight line or creating the shape he was trying to make.

He visited a number of doctors who had trouble diagnosing his ailment since it wasn’t something that happened all the time. But as his trembling became worse and his work began to suffer, he knew he needed to get some solid answers to find out if there was a cure.

At first, the neurologist thought it might be Parkinson’s disease, but after a number of CAT scans and MRI’s, they finally found a diagnosis – familial tremor. It is a neurologic disorder that tends to run in families. It causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. People with familial tremors often have trouble holding or using small objects, such as silverware or a pen. This explained why John was having trouble drawing and painting.

Luckily, John was able to start on a medication that reduced his tremors enough so that he could continue working as an artist on a part-time basis. However, reducing his hours meant he went to a limited health insurance plan. Because of this, he began to look for additional options to help him keep an eye on his overall health.

He found out about 9Health Fair and is grateful to be able to monitor his overall health at such a low-cost. He attends twice a year, stays active and makes sure his results continuously show numbers within a healthy range. He then takes his results to his doctor to discuss any next steps.

Now he tells all his friends to go get their blood checked at a 9Health Fair. He says it’s a great way to keep the cost down while finding out how healthy you are. “Go every year to a 9Health Fair and keep track of your blood work”, John says to his loved ones.

Now is a perfect time to visit a 9Health Fair to receive the low-cost Blood Chemistry Screening. Our fairs run from now until June 7th. Find a fair near you; the results will provide you with a wealth of information you need to live a healthy life!

Monday, April 13, 2015

5 Tips for Camping With Kids

This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado
Spring is in the air and it is time to start planning those summer trips with the family. Taking kids camping is a great way to spend uninterrupted time outdoors and get back to basics. Here are some top safety tips for camping with your little wanderers.

  1. Be Prepared – Be sure you know the weather report, have a map, and know the area if possible. The CDC recommends packing a supply kit with essentials and letting other family or friends know where you’re going. Be sure you know who to contact at the camp ground or camping area if you have an issue and know what to do if you don’ t have access to toilets.  
  2. Nervous about being in the wilderness? Start small and make a practice run. REI suggest setting up your tent in your yard or even in your house. Allow your kids to get in and get adjusted to it. Let them sleep in it and explain your expectations of what is allowed or not allowed in the tent such as shoes or food. And, there is no need to venture into the wild on your first trip. Pick a place that you know or that is close to home where you will feel comfortable too.
  3. Bring the Fun! While you may be content relaxing by the river or quietly sitting by the campfire, remember how active your kids are. Bring fun ideas or simple supplies that can make the most fun out of your trip. Make ice cream, bring glow sticks, plan some games. REI also has a list of fun things to bring.
  4. Set Expectations. Talk to you kids about what the trip will be like. Will they need to go to the bathroom like the bears? Can they run around and play in the campground? If needed, set boundaries when you arrive and show them how to orient themselves. What are the rules with the campfire? Helping your kids know what to expect keeps them from getting disappointed or frustrated when things do not go their way.
  5. Stay Comfortable. This goes along with being prepared but if you’re comfortable, you’re happy and if you’re happy, you have a good time. Be sure to pack the proper layers to stay warm or be cool. Pack appropriate footwear both for hiking and hanging out at the campsite.  Bring bug spray and sunscreen. If your child needs a specific toy or blanket to sleep well, consider packing it too.  If your children are small, there is no shame in utilizing camp grounds with real toilets and running water to make your experience a little easier.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hike Your Way to Health

It’s April! Which means the sun is out, it’s getting warmer and we are one step closer to summer. The warmer, longer days provide the opportunity to get ouside – It’s a perfect time of year to go for a walk, go on a run or take a hike.

There are many great places to hike in Colorado, but one of the most popular, local locations doesn’t require driving up into the mountains. Castlewood Canyon State Park, located in Franktown, Colorado, is a great place to take your family for the day and not only get exercise, but experience Colorado’s natural beauty.

Castlewood has several trails that you can pick from. They range from .5 to 4 miles and can be combined for longer journeys. The small waterfalls provide beautiful views and wonderful rest stops. The history of Castlewood Canyon is something you don’t want to miss out on either. The Castlewood Dam, once used to help store water for parts of Denver, burst in 1933, sending a 15-foot-high wave of water into Denver. Ruins of the historic dam still exist and remain visible for hikers to see.

So, bring your family and friends, pack a lunch and spend your day at Castlewood. It’s a great way to stay active, be outside, and explore the beauty Colorado brings this time of year.

The Benefits of Putting on Your Hiking Shoes
Hiking is a great way to get exercise and it is one of the best ways to keep your metabolism moving without putting strain on your joints. The reason is that hiking is a low impact exercise; however it burns many calories, builds muscles and keeps your heart rate up.

WebMD has a list of important benefits hiking provides. Check out some of the ways you can better yourself:

  • Strengthen your leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, lower legs) and build strength in your core.
  • Improve your balance.
  • Lower your risk of heart disease and other ailments.
  • Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Improve your mood by lowering stress levels.

Not only is hiking healthy, but it’s educational. Moving around outdoors can teach you about wildlife and different plants, plus the way nature has helped the area either blossom or survive destruction.

Luckily, living in Colorado, there are many perfect places to hike with views of the mountains and the Colorado skies. Sometimes traveling a couple hours to the mountains to hike can be a longer trip than you are looking for, but there are great places to hike locally, just outside of Denver. For a list of other great local hiking areas, check out LocalHikes.com for a list of great trails, and some of them may be located right outside your door.

And make sure to attend a 9Health Fair this spring to have your numbers checked and see if the exercise you may be incorporating into your life is paying off. Find a Fair near you and mark your calendar. Then share your hiking stories with us on Facebook!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

5 Goals That Can Make You Healthier

Setting goals is very important in achieving what you want in life, especially when it comes to your health. You can make yourself a healthier person by setting smart, healthy goals. And it’s important to not only be able to physically achieve what you want; you also have to be ready to mentally achieve it as well.

Here are 5 common health goals many people start out with. Using these as idea starters, they may spark goals that specifically fit your needs and lifestyle.

1. Running a race
Start by deciding when you will be training, then follow through with it and soon you will be finishing that 5K, half or full marathon you’ve always wanted to accomplish.
2. Reduce your waist size
Instead of focusing on the scale and losing body weight, try losing a couple inches around the waist. To accomplish this goal, try having a healthier diet and exercising at least 30 minutes a day.
3. Cut out the unhealthy foods
It is hard to suddenly cut all junk foods out of your diet, so try removing processed foods from your diet for just a week, then maybe two weeks, and so on. Soon you may notice the change becoming a habit.
4. Eat more fruits and veggies in a week
Everyone knows the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, well there’s a lot of truth in that saying. Adding a fruit or vegetable to your meals can make a big difference in your health.
5. Learn a new sport
Learning a new sport is a great way to stay in shape, get exercise, and be entertained. And you don’t have to learn how to play football for your new sport, it can be something like canoeing or mountain biking. Make it a goal to get into a new sport, you never know, it could become your new favorite hobby.

Now that you know how to set your own healthy goals, you have to follow through with them. It is very common for people to set goals for themselves, but they end up not sticking to them.

When putting a plan together, take a look at all the factors that could be contributing to your current state of wellbeing, including stress, diet, amount of exercise, to name a few. Then put a plan together and set a goal to conquer the negatives and work toward the positives.

The next step would be to ask, can I really see myself really achieving this goal? Your mind is the controller of your whole body and often what stops us from achieving our goals a lot of the times is our mind.

SMART goals
An easy way to set goals is to make sure they are SMART. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. So, when setting your goals, make sure to:

  • Specify what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it
  • Measure  how you’ll know you’ve reached your goal
  • Ask yourself, is this goal possible?
  • Recognize if your goal is realistic for you
  • Tell yourself when you plan on reaching that goal

As humans, we are capable of amazing things, but we have to believe we can do it. In order to achieve your goals, you have to not only physically work on it, but mentally too. Check out these 13 things mentally strong people avoid. The mind is the most powerful part of the body; use it to its full advantage!

And 9Health Fair can fit into your health goals by giving you a baseline to see how you are doing and where your numbers are compared to previous years. Make sure to attend a 9Health Fair this spring; your body will thank you. Find a fair near you and register today!

Share with us
what your health goals are and how you achieve them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Do You Know the Causes of High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a serious condition that can cause many health problems. It can also be called hypertension. Your blood pressure is the force of blood pushing on the walls of arteries while the heart pumps blood. When you have high blood pressure, the force of blood will rise and it can damage the body in many ways. Having high blood pressure, or hypertension, is dangerous because it makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body. A person with high blood pressure can easily get caught with several other serious conditions such as heart disease, heart failure and kidney failure.

What causes high blood pressure? There is not one known cause in the rising of blood pressure, but many things can contribute to it, including:

  • Ingesting too much salt or alcohol
  • Lack of physical activity/ being overweight/obese
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Genetics/ family history of hypertension
  • Smoking

High blood pressure is actually pretty common with adults as they get older because of their lack of physical activity and eating habits. According to WebMD, about one in every four American adults suffers from high blood pressure.

To prevent being one of the statistics, be sure to stay active for at least an hour a day and watch the amount of sodium you ingest. Also, maintaining a healthy weight is very important not just to prevent hypertension, but prevention of other serious conditions as well. Stress is a large factor in the rising of blood pressure so keeping your stress level down is always a good idea. There are also nutrients you can eat to prevent high blood pressure, including:

  • Fish oils
  • Magnesium
  • Garlic
  • Calcium
  • Potassium 
If you have high blood pressure, you want to also put the following into your daily routine:

  • Stay away from tobacco products
  • Monitor your numbers and check with your doctor regularly
  • Watch what you eat; make sure it’s healthy
    • Boost your potassium intake
    • Avoid junk foods
Get your blood pressure checked for free at a 9Health Fair this spring! There are over 130 locations throughout the state. Check out our Find A Fair page for a location near you. Getting your blood pressure checked is one of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your health and your numbers.

What fair do you plan on attending? Share with us on Facebook.

Monday, March 16, 2015

9Health Fair's Final Four Challenge

With this month being March Madness and the ultimate excitement of the Final Four, we’ve got a Final Four challenge for you! Get your game on and come to a 9Health Fair this spring to take on the challenge of owning your health. Get in on the action with these four important screenings – it’s a great start to keeping your numbers scoring high and taking ownership in your health.

Your body is like a team working together. When all the parts are operating together, that means your body functions properly. Check out our top four important screenings:
  1. The most popular screening at each fair is the Blood Chemistry panel for just $35. It gives you 28 different values to help you know and understand your liver, kidneys, bones, thyroid and more. Blood Chemistry will provide you with your HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose values. These are essential numbers to know.
  2. The next important and popular screening is Hemoglobin A1c. It takes a look for diabetes by measuring your average blood sugar control for the past two to three months. For people with diabetes, it indicates how well your diabetes treatment plan is working.
  3. Checking your blood pressure is vital to keeping an eye on your overall health. Blood pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart beats and when the heart is at rest. It can fluctuate with exercise, injury, illness and emotional reactions. You want to try not to have your blood pressure exceed 119/79.
  4. The Body Mass Index (BMI) screening provides you with your BMI, using your height, weight and waist measurement to identify your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. BMI is considered reliable for assessing obesity. 

There it is folks… take on 9Health Fair’s final four challenge! Challenge yourself to own your health this spring and head to a 9Health Fair to get in on these four important screenings. You will also find many more screenings that are vital to keeping up on your health.

So make sure to head to a 9Health Fair this spring; there are more than 130 locations around the state! Go to our Find a Fair page for a location near you. Stay in the game the healthy way, and let your health and wellness have winning numbers!

After you attend a 9Health Fair this spring, tell us about it on our Facebook page

Friday, March 13, 2015

Trekking Onward with 9Health Fair

For Scott, every day is about exercising and taking care of his health. He is an avid bicycle rider and pushes himself on some of Colorado’s steepest riding hills. He also loves hiking and traveling. He and his wife recently returned from trekking Nepal, an adventure they have dreamt of for years.

At the age of 72, Scott is proud of himself for eating a healthy diet and attending a 9Health Fair every year. He primarily attends the fair for the Blood Chemistry screening; he likes to keep tabs on his cholesterol numbers.

Each year when he receives his results, he sends them to his doctor, Susan, and then reviews them with her at his annual physical. In 2013, she became concerned about the direction Scott’s results were going. They had changed quite a bit from previous years. Scott wasn’t too surprised by this, as he had noticed his bike rides were becoming more strenuous, especially when he was climbing hills, so his doctor’s concerns validated the feeling that maybe there was something going on.

An ultrasound was ordered to look at his carotid artery, and to his surprise it showed unhealthy signs of plaque build-up. The next steps were an appointment with a cardiologist, a stress test and then a procedure at the catheter lab where a stent was put in the left anterior descending artery. It was 95 percent blocked and caught just in time.

This was a scary and shocking experience for Scott. He thought, because of eating so healthy and being so active, there was no way he would end up with a problem like this. He later found out the cholesterol issue is a hereditary one, not a dietary issue.

After this experience, Scott has been preaching to his friends, expressing the importance of regular 9Health Fair attendance and annual doctor visits. Scott believes the red flags shown on his 9Health Fair results saved his life. He is truly thankful for the opportunity to be able to monitor his health in such a fast, affordable and convenient way.

Follow Scott’s advice and head to a 9Health Fair this spring. There are over 130 locations around the state. Visit our Find A Fair page for a location near you! It’s important to know your numbers and keep track of your health!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

4 Ways Nature is Helping Us Live Longer

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

At Get Outdoors Colorado our goal is help people live healthy, active outdoor lifestyles. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: being close to nature makes you healthier! And we all know healthier lifestyles help you live longer. So, how exactly does nature help us get to those extra years?
  1. The Sun, Stress and Sleep: A key part of the outdoors is the sun. Our bodies need the natural Vitamin D the sun provides. Vitamin D helps us stay happy and calm and even helps reduce stress. Spending time in nature as a stress reliever can help keep your body in good working order. Additionally, natural light helps a sleep better, which allows our bodies to recharge and stay healthier longer.
  2. Strengthens Your Immunity: Research shows that time spent outdoors can increase white blood cells in your body that help fend off infections, viruses and even cancer. With a stronger immune system we can fight off illness quicker and easier and return to a healthier state.
  3. Keeps You Active: By going outside, you are more likely to stay physically active. Physical activity is key to a healthy, well functioning body. The good news is outdoor physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated. Doctors in Massachusetts are even starting to prescribe activity outdoors, like riding a bike or taking a walk, to help kids keep their weight under control.
  4. Biophilia Hypothesis: Bio-what, you say? The biophilia hypothesis and research suggests that our relationship with nature is fundamental to maintaining good health. The theory is that humans have an innate connection with other living things and nature. Exposure to plants and animals in a natural setting has a variety of health benefits, including those above, as well as fostering a critical connection to our environment.  This connection helps us stay mentally and physically healthier longer. 

Reconnect with nature by spending some time outside today and every day. Take a walk outdoors during lunch, ride a bike with your kids, start training to hike that 14er you’ve always wanted try. GetOutdoorsColorado.org has a wide variety of events and activities offered through partners across the state to help get you started. Find your next adventure and live a longer, healthier, outdoor lifestyle!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

From Couch to 5K!

(This guest post is authored by Richard Kalasky of the Colfax Marathon

We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most active states in the country.  Now that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is up longer, it is time to get out and get active again.  One way to get active, get healthy, and lose weight is to start a Couch-2-5K Training program.  The idea is to transform you from “couch potato” to runner, getting you running 3.1 miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months.   The program is designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability, so that you can run 5K without stopping.  Before you get started, we recommend that you get clearance to start a training program from your doctor, and taking part in a 9Health Fair will help you monitor your journey.

There is a vast array of training programs available for the Couch-2-5K Training Programs, all giving you the same outcome.  You can find apps for your smart phone that will speak to you, handwritten plans by a local coach, or training plans written by coaches all over the internet.  The Colfax Marathon offers training plans from coaches across Colorado and you can join our race ambassadors at training runs around the Denver Metro area, including Ft. Collins, Boulder, and Colorado Springs.  There are over 50 running groups in the Denver area as well, that welcome members of all abilities.  Having others to train with can definitely increase your motivation and make training fun!

Structure is important for motivation, so try to allocate specific days of the week for your runs, and stick to them.  The 9 Week program allows for days or weeks to be repeated as needed.  Rest days are critical. A rest day in-between each run will reduce your chance of injury and also make you a stronger, better runner.  Resting allows your joints to recover from what is a high-impact exercise and your running muscles to repair and strengthen.  We hope to see you May 16th with us at the Bellco Colfax 5K or Sunday May 17th for any of our 6 other events.  For more information please go to www.runcolfax.com

Monday, March 9, 2015

How Are You Affected by the Time Change?

We just sprung forward – well our clocks did anyway. Daylight-saving time forced us to advance our clocks ahead one hour, which doesn’t seem like much and it is nice to have more sunlight in the evenings. But waking up the entire first week after this time change makes it seem like more than just an hour loss.

How this time change actually affects you and your body can depend on your sleep habits, your health and your lifestyle. However, the big overall problems this time change can cause makes us question whether or not it’s really worth it.

It is known that losing an hour in the spring is more difficult for us to adjust to than gaining that hour in the fall. According to The American Journal of Cardiology, during the first week of daylight-saving time, there is a spike in heart attacks. They found the reason behind this is that losing an hour of sleep increases stress and provides less time to recover at night, especially for those who have health issues to begin with.

In addition, some studies actually show an overall increase in accident rates the Monday following daylight-saving time. Sleepiness is the main cause of this increase. The research shows that staying with daylight-saving time all year round could decrease pedestrian and vehicle related deaths.

What can you do to help your internal clock adapt better?

  1. Since our body naturally makes the sleep-inducing substance, melatonin, when there is a lack of light, it is important to expose yourself to light during the waking hours, but not when it’s dark outside. This way you produce melatonin during the hours you need sleep, hopefully allowing you to get a solid nights’ rest.
  2. Create a sleep-friendly environment for yourself by eliminating caffeine and alcohol, exercising several hours before bed and incorporating relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine.
  3. Start adjusting to the time change a few days before it actually happens. Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier and getting up 30 minutes earlier. Then when the change happens, it won’t seem so difficult to make the adjustment. 
And for an overall check on your health, make sure to head to a 9Health Fair this spring - there are 130+ various locations all around the state. Visit our Find a Fair page for a location near you! It’s important to know your numbers and keep your health in check so your body can handle situations like daylight-saving time.

Tell us how daylight-saving time affects you. Share with us on Facebook.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Walk This Way… to 4 of Denver’s Spectacular Spots!

Even though March is one of Colorado’s snowiest months, we have some beautiful, warm days too. And we often get a little cabin feverish when those nice days start popping up.

Well put on your walking shoes because The Brookings Institute, an independent research organization in Washington, DC, ranks Denver as the fourth most walk-able downtowns in the nation. With a plethora of places to visit, this ranking isn’t a surprise. Denver not only is a great place to get around on foot, but we have some of the most amazing buildings and educational stops you will find.

All within close proximity of one another, here are some favorites in Denver:

200 E. Colfax Avenue
Standing exactly 5,280 feet above sea level, exactly one mile high, the Colorado State Capitol welcomes around 250,000 visitors a year. Enjoy a free tour of this amazing structure; however, they are in high demand, so make sure to schedule your excursion at least four weeks in advance. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the building, the work of our General Assembly, and our exceptional Colorado legacy.

100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy
This amazing museum is made up of two architecturally striking buildings: one is a fortress-like structure from the Italian architect Gio Ponti, and the other building is one that resembles a titanium crystal with peaks by international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind. The findings inside will knock you off your feet; you will find the world’s greatest collection of Native American art, work from European masters, Old West classics and traveling exhibits. 

1250 Bannock Street
Clyfford Still is considered one of the most important painters of the 20th century and was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists. Enjoy the Still Museum collection which represents 95 percent of his artwork. The museum opened in 2011 and is the newest addition to Denver’s wonderful Cultural Arts District located adjacent to the Denver Art Museum.

4.  U.S. Mint
320 W. Colfax Avenue
This is a remarkable opportunity to learn how money is made. The U.S. Mint produces 50 million coins a day, each one uniquely stamped with the letter “D” so people know those coins are from Denver. They offer a free guided tour that takes about 45 minutes and you can find out how coins are produced. Make a reservation as space is limited and the tours fill up quickly.

It’s so easy to get your daily dose of exercise in while sharpening your mind in this great city of ours! This is a great way to Own Your Health! And speaking of Owning Your Health, make sure to join us at a 9Health Fair this April. Go to our Find a Fair to find a location near you. It’s important to know what your numbers are and to get that reminder of how vital it is to stay active! How do you take care of your physical wellbeing? Share with us on Facebook!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Paying it Forward with 9Health Fair

Photo by Ellen Jaskol
Sometimes in life, things get tough and it seems that all we can do is hope for a miracle. No matter how big or small, it’s that miracle that can make all the difference. Christina got the miracle she had desperately wished for – and then made a promise to pay it forward.

She had been fighting Lupus for a number of years and had it under control, for the most part. However, about five years ago, she began to feel more fatigued than normal, started to feel weak, and eventually wasn’t able to keep food down. This went on for about 8 months; she visited many doctors who thought it was her Lupus acting up, until one physician figured out what was making Christina so sick.

An Unexpected Diagnosis
On June 7, 2010, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She hadn’t been making any red or white blood cells, which is why she couldn’t hold food down when she ate. They began chemotherapy, but after three treatments, she went septic. It was so bad that even after five days of antibiotics; she couldn’t breathe or function on her own.

Her family and friends came to say their goodbyes; they believed she was not going to make it more than a day. But then, she took a breath on her own and her organs started to function by themselves. At this point, the doctors knew she couldn’t handle anymore chemotherapy. A bone marrow transplant was her only option.

Right before Christina went on a waiting list, they found out that genetically, she is Hispanic. To her surprise, there was less than a 10 percent chance of finding a match. She and her husband remained very optimistic, and it was then that she promised herself if a match was found and she made it through this, she would do her part to educate the ethnically diverse population about bone marrow donations, so others would have a better chance of finding a donor.

Without having to wait too long, her miracle came in the form of not just one donor, but two! On November 15, 2010, she received her transplant.

Once the blood stem cell transplant was complete, she began a 30 day waiting period to make sure everything was functioning properly. Those 30 days came and went without a problem!  Christina now lives a very active life. Although she doesn’t have as much energy as she would like, she is still able to walk her six dogs daily, chase after her three children and work two jobs. She seems to be doing just fine.

Help Arrived for Many
Five years later, she is now cancer-free and has stuck to her promise. Since she recovered, she started a non-profit organization called Make It Happen USA, a stem-cell/bone marrow registry. It is all volunteer-based and has helped coordinate over 4,800 matches so far.

While getting the word out about her organization and the need for donors, Christina realized that 9Health Fair would be a great way to share information and find potential donors. She contacted 9Health Fair and created a partnership that is proving to be very successful. By taking swabs at 48 spring 9Health Fairs in 2014, over 1,900 potential donors were added to the stem-cell/bone marrow registry. Of those 1,900 potential donors, six people have been matched with patients!

Christina fought her own battle and won, and now she is helping others combat theirs as well. Make it Happen USA will be at a number of 9Health Fairs again this spring. Find out if you are a bone marrow match through a simple cheek swab!

Check our website for a list of spring fair locations and dates.

9Health Trail Blazers

Busy lives, daunting family history, stressful work, confusing health insurance…no matter what it is, we all have a reason for not living as healthy as we’d like to. This spring, follow our 9Health Trail Blazers as they commit to overcoming the obstacles to pursue their health goals.  With the help of 9Health Fair and some local medical experts, can they reach their goals? 

Follow their journeys this spring and find out!

Margarita - Photos from Margarita’s younger days tell the story of an adventurous, thin woman who climbed mountains and salsa danced.  Now, life’s twists and turns have taken some of that adventure from her life and added a few unwanted pounds to her frame.  The loss of her father, an emotional move to a new house, and a stressful job have led to unhealthy habits becoming the norm. This vibrant woman is ready to make herself, and her health, a priority again.
Health goals: Lose 15 pounds by April and  improve her cholesterol.  
See her story on 9News here.

Kai - After being rushed to the ER for excruciating pain in her abdomen, Kai was put on many trial and error remedies before doctors determined she had a gastrointestinal issue.  She had recently gotten Medicaid through Connect for Health Colorado and felt ready to tackle this diagnosis head on.  As she started to seek the care she needed, she hit wall after wall - there were restrictions to her coverage that she did not expect. Giving up is simply not an option – Kai is a young woman with a life to live, and she knows she needs to be healthy to accomplish all the things she wants to.  She’s going to learn to navigate the health care system, no matter what it takes.
Health goals: Figure out how to navigate the health care system with her insurance plan, and then get to the root of her GI problems so she can attempt to live a pain-free life again.
See her story on 9News here.

Wendy - Described by her friends as “permanently happy”, Wendy has a can-do attitude that was the driving force behind a long career as a teacher. Upon retirement, Wendy decided it was to make some changes to her life, and over the course of a few years, she lost 180 pounds!  This gave her the energy and confidence she needed to be an active retiree, filling her days with biking, dog training, and volunteering. While she has come quite a long way, she still relies on a knee brace for her daily activities to manage her arthritis pain.  She knows that if she can make permanent changes to her eating habits, she can overcome her weight loss plateau and kick the knee brace to the curb – for good!
Health goals: Get to a point where she only has to wear the knee brace for strenuous activity, and lose 30 pounds.
See her story on 9News here.

James -Heart disease and cancer have plagued members of his family, so the odds are against James when it comes to family history. Unwilling to live a life ruled by medications, James thought that working out moderately would keep the diseases at bay. Then, an uncle gifted him a blood pressure cuff, and he realized there was a lot more going on inside than he realized.  A string of bad events led to him losing control of his health. Through the encouragement of his girlfriend, he decided it was time to turn it around and take control back.
Health goals: Improve blood pressure and BMI, and complete the Spartan Military Race in under 2 hours.
See his story on 9News here.

Robert - As an actor in New York City, Robert was living the life he dreamed of - until a devastating diagnosis of non-hodgkins lymphoma sent him back to live with family in Colorado for treatment. After a long road of treatment and a stem cell transplant, he beat the disease. With a wife and son to continue to be healthy for, he committed himself to a healthy lifestyle and began running marathons. He was in the best shape of his life, running 9 minute miles and feeling great. Life got busy and holidays were celebrated well; now he was no longer in the best shape of his life. Remembering the days of once being so health-conscious, Robert would like to get back to that place of feeling great and taking care of himself. 
Health goals: Get his best Colfax ½ marathon time (2 hours or under) and lose 10-15 pounds
See his story on 9News here.

Maria- Maria’s family is no stranger to diabetes. Her mother, sister, and brothers all deal with the disease.  So when Maria was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, she knew what was to come – and she had to do all she could to keep the disease from controlling her life.  By making some incredible lifestyle changes, she has come a long way in managing diabetes – but she still has some work to do, especially when it comes to changing the habits of her family.  With her young son watching her every move, Maria is ready to keep herself and her family healthy through eating right and exercising.
Health goals: Continue controlling diabetes, lose 15 more pounds.
See her story on 9News here.

Shana - As a speech therapist, Shana’s days are jam packed.  Her schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for her to make good health choices.  Wanting to avoid the diabetes and heart diseases that have hit her family members, Shana knows that better nutrition and regular exercise need to be incorporated into her daily routine. A thyroid condition leaves her with no energy to work out, but she knows that a little exercise would boost her energy level significantly – she is in a catch-22 and ready to break free!
Health goals: Make changes that become a lifestyle – eat better, be more active and ultimately run a 5k this spring!
See her story on 9News here.

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