Monday, November 17, 2014

There’s Something Magical (and Fragile) Going on in Denver

When it comes to the display of flowers and plants, why not add an exhibition of colorful glass artwork to the picture?

For a limited time, Denver Botanic Gardens has brought in the Rocky Mountain Region’s first major outdoor exhibition of artwork by famed glass-blowing artist, Dale Chihuly. If you haven’t seen his glass pieces before, this is an exhibit you don’t want to miss!

Seeing is Believing
The journey begins with the show stopping “Blue Icicle Towers,” a 2014 piece that shatters your mind as you first enter the garden. Just a few steps down the path you will find “Summer Sun,” from 2010, a sphere of fiery, orange tentacles propped on a singular column.

From there, the display changes, as the artwork becomes integrated with the plants and fountains. You will find that everywhere you look, everywhere you go - there is a touch of Chihuly waiting to blow you away. Don’t wait too long to visit - this traveling exhibit is here in Denver only until November 30th.

Chihuly’s Vision
Well known for his development of glass, Chihuly turned his vision into a fine art. He was introduced to glass blowing while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country at the University of Wisconsin. A few years later, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice where he observed the team approach to blowing glass, and that is what formed the way he designs his artwork today. 

He has given the world a reason to take glass blowing seriously as an art form with his elaborate chandeliers, fragile seashells, brilliant baskets, and the simple, yet exquisite balls, rods and cones.

Don’t Miss the Chihuly Experience

This traveling exhibit is making its way through the U.S., with Denver being the first stop on the list. It has been at the Denver Botanic Gardens since June, and heads to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida for its premiere on December 6th. Make sure to attend now before the glass blows away!


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The Results You’ve Been Waiting For

Congratulations on owning your health and attending a 9Health Fair this fall! Getting regular screenings for common health concerns, even if you have no symptoms, can help detect problems early, and help you benefit from easier and more effective treatment.

The goal of attending a fair and learning your numbers is to keep you healthier longer. Now that you have attended a 9Health Fair, you may ask yourself, "What do my results mean?" Your lab results measure and tell you the amount of certain key elements that are critical to appropriate function of your body's organ system. All labs have a normal reference range that tells you if the level of what you are measuring is within normal limits.

When the measurement is outside of the normal range, it may indicate a problem. You and your health care provider can work on discovering and correcting whatever is causing the abnormal value.
Some abnormal values can be extremely critical and others just a warning sign. 9Health Fair nurses will call you if your lab values are in the alert or critical range. They will help you understand the urgency of your results. You can also go to any King Soopers or City Market Pharmacy and ask the pharmacist to help you interpret your results. And, of course, you can speak with your health care provider.

Receiving Your 9Health Fair Results
There are two ways to receive your personal results, depending on whether you registered in advance using the online registration tool or if you registered in person at the fair by filling out the participant form.


If you took advantage of our online registration tool, you will receive your results electronically in your secure account one to two weeks of attending your 9Health Fair. Log into your secure account with the username and password you created during the registration process. If you forgot either your username or your password, use the “Login Help” link on the results page.

If you registered in person by filling out a participant registration form at the 9Health Fair itself, you will receive your results via mail to the address you provided on the registration form. Your results should arrive within four weeks of when you attended the 9Health Fair.


Need Help Reading Your Results?
Sometimes the numbers on your results can be hard to understand. The links below will take you to common places on our website where you will be able to get information to know what the values mean.




If you have questions or need help understanding your results, call 9Health Fair at 303-698-4455 and ask to speak to one of our nurses. Remember, 9Health Fair does not replace a visit to your health care provider. Please use 9Health Fair results as part of your overall effort to Own Your Health!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Show Mother Nature Some Love - Give Back to Nature!

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

This season is often focused on giving and being thankful for the ones we love. We encourage you to also remember to be thankful for the outdoor places and spaces you love. Coloradoans are extremely fortunate to have such a beautiful backyard to play and explore in. Here are 5 great ways to practice gratitude by giving back to nature:
  1. Buy a Colorado State Parks Pass. An Annual Parks Pass gets you 12 months of unlimited access to all of Colorado’s State Parks. With amazing access to family camping, hiking, fishing, and more exploring than your boots will know what to do with, this pass is also a great gift idea. By supporting Colorado Parks and Wildlife, you are helping keep the lands we love protected and public.
  2. Go cut down your own Christmas tree! For many families, this is a long-held tradition. The US Forest Service grants permits each year to cut down a tree on National Forest land. Now, cutting down a tree might sound counter-intuitive to protecting nature but this program actually helps manage the land and proceeds go to the USFS.
  3. Plant a tree in someone’s name. If you’d feel better planting a tree rather than cutting one down, the US Forest Service has a host of programs and partners that offer opportunities to plant a tree to honor someone to just contribute to forests that need help. Another great gift idea for nature lovers!
  4. Sponsor an outdoor activity. Many families opt to sponsor a child or another family for the holidays. Try focusing the gifts on items that will help families get their children outdoors more – proper cold weather gear, hiking boots or poles, a day pack, trail maps or even a bike helmet. Consider connecting with a family or elderly person in your neighborhood that does not get outdoors as much do something simple like go on a walk or visit your local open space together to share some time in nature.
  5. Volunteer. Our amazing outdoors need us now more than ever. Colorado’s population is growing and that can have a huge impact on our favorite outdoor places. Dedicate some time and give back to mother nature. Do you have family visiting this holiday season? What better way to show them a true Colorado experience than by helping build a trail, prep a community garden or work on developing open space. You can search for volunteer opportunities in your area at GetOutdoorsColorado.org or with our partner, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
Remember, time spent outdoors is time well spent on your health too. Practicing gratitude for you favorite park or trail can also come in the form of just remembering to get out and explore.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

The Volunteer Becomes the Participant

Julie is one of those people who loves to help others. She always reaches out; making sure everyone is comfortable and well taken care of. With a career in the medical field, she feels as if she is making a difference.

In her quest to help people gain access to health care, Julie has volunteered for 9Health Fair since 2010 as a phlebotomist. She typically volunteers during either the spring or the fall fair season, but the last two years, she has chosen to volunteer at both season’s fairs, helping out at somewhere between six to ten locations.

“The feeling of knowing that you are helping people improve themselves and make them feel better is very enlightening,” says Julie.

Visiting with the participants is one of her favorite aspects of being a 9Health Fair volunteer, and she looks forward to seeing the same faces each year. “You want to hear how they’ve been and what has changed over the last year. Did their cholesterol numbers improve; did their blood pressure go down? Knowing I have helped change someone’s life by just a poke of a needle is quite rewarding and that is why I return to volunteer each year.”

Julie is very healthy and has always taken pride in having a lot of energy. This past year, she was feeling quite lethargic and fatigued. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so she thought maybe it was just stress. Knowing that fatigue can be a side effect of low Vitamin D, she decided to get her Vitamin D level checked at one of the fairs she was volunteering at.  

A couple of weeks later, she received her results in the mail and it turned out that she did indeed have a Vitamin D deficiency. Her number was extremely low, which explained why she was feeling so fatigued. When she discussed her result with her doctor, they found out that the reason for the deficiency was because of a medication she was taking at the time.

The doctor immediately switched her medication and put her on a Vitamin D intake diet. By the next 9Health Fair season, she had her Vitamin D level checked again, and this time the results revealed a huge improvement in her levels.

9Health Fair first impacted Julie’s life through the opportunity to volunteer and give back, but now she has a gained a new perspective through her experience as a participant. “This is what 9Health Fair is all about!” says Julie.

Keep an eye out for your 9Health Fair results and if you are looking for information or you have questions about your results, check out our website for details and FAQ’s.


Has 9Health Fair has an impact on your life? Share your story with us!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Exercise Strengthens Your “White Matter”

We all know that exercise is good for your heart, your lungs, your muscles and your overall well-being. It can also improve memory and other brain functions, but those studies have mainly focused on the gray matter in your brain. The gray matter is involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

Now, new research says that fitness boosts another kind of brain matter - the white kind. White matter fills half the brain and helps transmit electrical signals that carry the important messages between neurons from one brain region to another. It plays a critical role in helping a person master a variety of mental skills.

This increase in white matter has been found in children, adults and the elderly. According to one study, children who are physically fit showed substantial differences in the characteristics of white matter, and all of them have been found to show an increase in attention span, cognitive efficiency and memory. In fit children, white matter appears more compact which means that nerve activity moves faster and more efficiently.

Like everything else in the body, as people age, the white matter fibers that allow communication between the brain regions also decline. However, if older people continue to exercise, they keep the white matter compact and often times retain memory that might otherwise begin to fail. If damage occurs to the brain's white matter or aging takes place without a person staying physically fit, it has been found to be an indicator of potential memory problems and dementia.

"Engaging in regular aerobic exercise has been found to improve learning, memory, and self-control," said Hollis C. Karoly, a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and also the corresponding author for this clinical and experimental research. "This seems to be particularly true among older adults who exercise regularly, which suggests that exercise, may prevent a natural loss in cognitive functions that occurs as people age. Additionally, exercise has been shown to protect white matter in the brain from damage associated with aging and various diseases."

So take the time to care of your brain by being more active! Mild to moderate exercise is the key to good health no “matter” how you look at it. Share your daily exercise routine with us! And review your 9Health Fair blood test results with your doctor to make sure you are headed down the right road.




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Don’t Worry, Be Happy… and Healthy


Are you an excessive worrier? Many people who spend a lot of time worrying believe their concern is justified. However, worrying can actually take a toll on your mental and physical health.

Take this 10 question test to help you determine if worrying is affecting your health. 

Constant worrying can affect your everyday life so much that you can lose your appetite, and your relationships, sleep and job can end up suffering. If worrying becomes so extreme, harmful lifestyles can develop and bad habits begin such as overeating, smoking or abusing alcohol and drugs. If too much worry is hurting your ability to enjoy life, please seek help from a medical professional

Here are six steps to stop the cycle of worry:
  1. Set aside a designated time to worry. Once your “worry time” is up, let it go and move on. Your mental and physical well-being will thank you.
  2. Accept the worry and then move on. Worrying about worrying is an unhealthy cycle to fall into. If you get caught up in worry, have positive conversations with yourself, accept the concern, solve the problem and move on.
  3. Write your worries down. Let your emotions out on paper and free them from your head. This is an excellent strategy for getting the worry off your mind.
  4. Make time to meditate. Taking some time to relax can help release anxiety and concern. Spend this meditation time thinking about relaxing memories and positive events in your life.
  5. Get moving. Exercising is one of the best ways to get the positive mojo going in your body. When you work out, endorphins kick in and that creates a positive energy flow, kicking out much of the worrisome thoughts.
  6. Give yourself a break. Dr. Susan M. Love, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, shared with The New York Times that those who feel the need to always be healthyactually felt worry and stress. You won’t become ill by not being healthy 100 percent of the time, so stop worrying; you will be healthier if you do.

Worrying Can Serve a Positive Purpose - if Used Right

If we learn to combat the negative reasons behind our burdens and use it in a more positive way, worrying can serve a good purpose, at times. It helps us to anticipate dangers, resolve problems and solve issues more effectively.

By turning these problems around in our minds, we examine the various issues from different angles. If we stick to sorting things out and making positive changes, we can actually unravel our issues.

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, psychiatrist at UCLA, studies Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and how the brain decides whether or not to learn. He says our minds can change our brains and literally rewire our thinking. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more positive perspective.

If you are worried about your health, let 9Health Fair help!  Visit a 9Health Fair this spring to get an overall check of your health.

What’s the best way you’ve found to deal with worry? Share your tricks with us!


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To Fast or Not to Fast - That is the Question!

Have you ever wondered why you have to fast before you get your blood drawn for certain tests? There’s a reason – and that reason is not to put your will power to the test to see how long you can go without eating. There is a much better explanation than that.

What is Fasting and Why Do We Need To?
Fasting includes no consumption of food or drinks, with the exception of water. Drinking water before a blood draw is encouraged because the more hydrated you are, the easier it is to draw blood.
9Health Fair asks you to fast because non-fasting results can inflate the values of your blood glucose level and your triglyceride levels. To get an accurate baseline reading, fasting is required so that the normal increase seen with consuming calories in either food or drink (which causes rising and then falling levels) does not give us inaccurate information. Also, triglyceride levels are used to compute your low density lipoprotein (LDL), a part of your cholesterol reading.  If your triglycerides are elevated, your LDL will be inaccurate.

If you’re anxious about not eating for 12 hours, be sure to consume a balanced meal the night before and then immediately after your blood draw. Take advantage of the free nourishment station that each 9Health Fair provides. These snack areas, made possible by our friends at King Soopers, are there to replenish participants and give them energy before continuing on to the free screenings and other offerings.

It is important to note that people with diabetes should not fast, because keeping a small amount of food in your system to keep your blood sugar levels normal is essential.

Is Fasting Required for All Tests?
The only test that requires you to withhold consumption for 12 hours is the Blood Chemistry screening.

The Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) shows if you could possibly have diabetes or, if you do have it, how well your diabetes is being controlled. It measures your glucose levels over the last two or three months and is used to check sugar build up in your blood. Whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes or not, you do not need to withhold consumption for this and other blood draws except the Blood Chemistry.


Time to Get Your Blood Drawn at a Family 9Health Fair
Now is the time to head to a Family 9Health Fair to receive the low-cost Blood Chemistry Screening. The fairs run every weekend until November 8th. Find a fair near you - the results will provide you with the information you need to live a healthy life. And don’t forget to fast for 12 hours before heading to a 9Health Fair if you are doing the Blood Chemistry Screening!



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Monday, October 13, 2014

Protein - Do we get it right?

(This guest post is authored by Julie Moore of Colorado Beef Council)

Are we consuming protein in the right way? Many Americans eat more than 60% of their daily protein in one single large dinner meal – that doesn’t leave much room for protein at other meals or snacks! A growing body of evidence indicates that eating a higher protein diet, about 25-30 grams per meal or snack, may help maximize optimal health, maintain muscle mass, provide energy to lead an active lifestyle and reduce mindless eating.

Research that was recently published in The Journal of Nutrition shows that including a moderate amount of protein at three meals and snacks throughout the day provides many health benefits, such as supporting healthy aging and weight management by minimizing muscle loss and aiding in satiety.

Here are a few tips to make small changes to your diet.

Easy 30 gram protein-rich breakfast ideas:
  • 2 eggs with peanut butter on a slice of whole grain toast, and a glass of 1% milk
  • Scrambled eggs with lean ground beef wrapped in a whole grain tortilla in this satisfying beef breakfast burrito
Lighten up your lunch:
  • Create a salad of greens, carrots, brown rice, garbanzo beans and top with hard-boiled eggs or 2 oz chicken. 
  • Enjoy an open-faced, lean roast beef or ham sandwich for a high-protein lunch such as the pictured Mediterranean Beef and Veggie Wrap
Sneak in a snack:
  • 1 oz. Beef jerky (80 kcals, 15g protein)
  • Pre-packed single servings of almonds or other nuts (1 serving = 169 kcals, 6 grams of protein)
  • 1 Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Cheese (70 kcals, 5g protein)
  • 1 (1.5-oz) to-go peanut butter pouch (250 kcal, 9g protein)
  • LUNA Protein Bar (170 kcals, 12g protein)
  • Balance Bar Gold (200 kcals, 14g protein)
  • 1-oz pumpkin seeds (163 kcals, 5g protein)
  • Kashi Trail Mix Granola bar (140 kcals, 6g protein)
  • Nature Valley Greek Yogurt Protein bar (180 kcals, 10g protein)
  • Sabra Hummus to Go with Pretzel Crisps (260 kcals, 6g protein) 

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Tis the Season of Fall Festivals

Fall is in the air and it’s a great time to get outside, breathe fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the autumn leaves. This is also the time of year when fall festivals abound! Pumpkin patches, corn mazes and tractor rides through fields of vegetation.

When it comes to outdoor activities this fall, there are many that top the charts. One favorite is the fall festival at Miller Farms. In its 19th season, this harvest event has become a tradition for so many families. Experience what it would be like to be a farmer. Take a tractor ride into the fields with stops along the way to pick your own vegetables. For kids, life doesn’t get much better than this. They get to dig in the dirt to pull vegetables out of the ground and then you can take home as much as you can carry to your car! It’s a great time to talk to your kids about the importance of vegetables are and what types of healthy meals you can make.  Check out some of these vegetable recipes that are good for the whole family.

In addition to being a farmer for a day, Miller Farms is packed full of fun fall festivities. Play in the petting zoo, find your way through a corn maze, bounce around on the jumping balloon, climb on the fire truck, run up a hay pyramid, and more. This autumn event goes through mid-November and is open daily from 9am to 6pm. You can get more information by calling 970-785-6133.

The Denver Post has a list of Colorado Halloween, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and fall events that will provide more activities than you will be able to fit on your calendar. But this large guide has events you won’t want to miss out on!

If you haven’t taken your kids to a pumpkin patch, corn maze or a fall festival, you can learn all about the various activities and then decide which one or more you will check out.

Fall festivals are not only fun, but what a great way to get exercise, fresh air and your daily intake of Vitamin D. What do you do for fun in the fall? Tell us how you make this time of year a festive one.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Five Tricks to Keep the Halloween Treats off Your Teeth

Halloween is around the corner and that brings a lot of excitement for children. Their biggest hope is for a ton of candy; the more the better! But, that bag of goodies can be a parent’s worst nightmare.

According to a KidsHealth survey, most kids said they get at least 50 pieces of candy from trick-or-treating, with over 44 percent saying they arrive home with over 100 candy items. Thankfully, only about 20 percent said they indulge in every single last bit of their goodies.

Spook Away Those Cavities
This is a great time of year to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats. Check out these five tricks that can help your children’s mouths stay healthy during Halloween and every other time of year.
  1. Eat Halloween candy and other sweets with meals. Saliva production increases during meals and helps get rid of acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. Spit also helps rinse away food particles in and around your teeth.
  2. Avoid hard candy that stays in your mouth for a long period of time. The length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a large role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that you suck on for a long period of time put teeth at an increased risk for tooth decay. 
  3. Stay away from candies that stick to your teeth. Stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed out of the crevasses of your teeth by saliva, which increases the risk for tooth decay.
  4. Drink a fair amount of water. Drinking optimally fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that have fluoride.
  5. Steer clear of sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks and flavored water. Tooth decay risk increases when your teeth come in frequent contact with beverages containing sugar.

 What Dentists Think About This Haunted Holiday
Many dentists say it is actually better for kids to gorge themselves on candy as opposed to rationing it out. Snacking on Halloween candy for a few hours each day keeps your teeth coated in sugar and enamel-corroding acid which then leads to cavities. If kids eat a lot of candy all in one night, and don’t eat it consistently day after day, that sugar build up won’t haunt them as much.

Also, make sure to brush immediately after eating those Halloween treats. The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth at least twice a day.

Protect those Pearly Whites
New this year at 9Health Fair, you will find fluoride varnishes for kids, and there’s no better time than now to take advantage of this free screening. No bones about it, this is a great way to keep those beastly bacteria off your little ones teeth. Our Family 9Health Fairs continue each weekend through November 8th; make sure to bring the whole family! Share your healthy mouth tricks with us on Facebook.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hit the Trails with the Whole Family

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

Fall is a great time to get out and explore the trails. There is often a lot of wildlife to be seen, amazing fall colors on the leaves, and comfortable, cooler temperatures. Before you blaze ahead, check out these 5 tips for fun, safe family hiking:
  1. Know Your Goals & Give In A Little – As the American Hiking Society puts it – hiking with kids is more about the experience and journey than getting from point A to point B.  Let your kids explore and have fun. While you may have a timeframe in mind, be flexible on how far you get and even when you start and end. The point is for your kids to have fun and enjoy their time outdoors. Allowing your kids some control goes a long way to develop their interest in the trails. Let them pick the location, or even just exploring the map together will give them some input in the adventure!
  2. Play Can Also Be Learning – Teach your kids trail etiquette, create scavenger hunts or other simple games to keep them engaged while moving. Bringing field guides to help identify plants and animals is also a great way to make sure they leave with something without taking anything out of nature.
  3. Layer It On!Dress in layers and be aware of your child’s body temperature. Really active kids may not realize how cold their skin actually is.  If you are carrying your child, you may be warm while he or she is not. Layers are a great way to stay comfortable and safe. Dressing kids in bright colors helps you keep track of them if they are likely to run ahead. Always bring a rain layer and warm layer you can remove or add if needed. Hats and gloves are small and easy to pack and can make a world of difference between a happy comfortable kid and one who just wants to go home.
  4. Fuel Their Fire – Pack water and small, healthy snacks to have along the way. For older kids, having their own pack with these essentials can add to the excitement of the experience. Teach your kids about proper fuel for their body, packing out their trash, and only drinking properly filtered water.
  5. Safety and Stewardship –Sunscreen and a safety whistle are important to include in each kids pack, if they are carrying one. Have a plan of what to do if your kids get separated from you and go over that plan before every hike. 

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Strengthen Your Life with 9Health Fair

After a full day at work fixing hot water heaters and steam boilers as a mechanical engineer, Bill was not surprised that he sometimes experienced stiffness in his joints. However, he hadn’t given it much thought over the last year. He just figured that’s the price you pay as you get older.

At 57 years of age and feeling healthy, Bill and his wife, June, attend 9Health Fair because it is so convenient and it is an easy way to get their blood work done. Relocating to Denver from Chicago, they were thrilled to find out about 9Health Fair – they didn’t have anything like it in Illinois!  Their first time attending a fair was in the spring of 2013, and they both had a clean bill of health.

Impressed by the comprehensive information from the Blood Chemistry Screening in their first 9Health Fair experience, Bill and June decided they should go again in the spring of 2014. This time, just two days after attending the fair, Bill received a call from a 9Health Fair nurse.  Bill’s results showed abnormalities and a low white blood cell count.

Bill followed the 9Health Fair nurse’s recommendation to see his primary care physician. His doctor wasn’t sure how serious this was, and told Bill he wasn’t too worried - but if it would make Bill feel more comfortable, they could do a series of tests to see if anything severe showed up.

Bill opted to undergo a liver biopsy and a bone marrow test, which led to a leukemia diagnosis. He was shocked, but now this joint stiffness was starting to make sense.

Because the leukemia was caught relatively early, Bill’s treatment plan was mild. His doctor even suggested that he and his wife take a nice vacation before starting treatment. Instead, Bill started treatment right away. He scheduled it in such a way that he didn’t need to take much time off work at all; he only missed four Fridays. He also noticed that after his first chemotherapy session, the stiffness in his arms began to dissipate.

Bill is now cancer-free, and  will continue to have regular check-ups to monitor his health. He thanks 9Health Fair for offering this all-inclusive Blood Chemistry Screening that was able to easily uncover a serious health issue. The Blood Chemistry Screening gave his doctors all the information they needed to order the appropriate follow-up tests, which saved Bill from having to undergo more unnecessary diagnostic testing.

Bill is grateful to have the energy and flexibility to play with his two young grandchildren again. He now tells all of his friends to go get their blood checked at a 9Health Fair. He says you never know how you’re really doing. “Go every year to a 9Health Fair and keep track of your blood work – it’s so easy!” Bill says to everyone he knows.

Now is the perfect time to visit a Family 9Health Fair to receive the low-cost Blood Chemistry Screening. Family 9Health Fairs run every weekend until November 8. Find a fair near you - the results will provide you with the information you need to live a healthy life!

Has 9Health Fair changed your life?  Share your story with us!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Digital Detoxing - for the Health of It!


Have you ever thought about taking a break from your electronic devices? Technology has become such a large part of our daily lives that it can be hard to “unplug” or “turn it off”.

Many of us have become used to the convenience of being socially connected to friends at a moment’s notice. It’s so easy to post a five second video of your dog catching a ball or share your deepest thoughts in 140 characters. But, we might not realize the effects that technology can have on us.

A digital detox is a great way to re-balance and focus on life in front of you instead of what lives behind the screen. This means turning off smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers for a certain length of time, ideally for 24-hours or longer.

Taking a Break for Your Health
The constant demands for attention from the digital world can affect your mental well-being, among other things.  A Swedish study shows that young people who heavily used technology were found to struggle with mental health issues.

On the flipside, limiting your exposure to technology can prevent or reverse those effects on your mental health.  A new study from Bren School of Information & Computer Science shows that eliminating the constant distractions of work email significantly reduces stress and allows you to focus better.  

Check out these six ways over usage can affect your mental health.

1)     Sleep. All electronic devices can mess with your sleep patterns and habits, potentially leaving you with a sleep disorder. It has also been found that late night use of your device is associated with stress and depression. Turn it off well before bed and keep all devices in a different room from where you sleep.
2)     Depression.  A study done by the Journal of Pediatric Psychology found that mobile phone use after bedtime may be associated with poor mental health, suicidal feelings and self-injury in both early and late youngsters. However, no matter what the age, constant cell phone usage is more likely to report depressive symptoms. Take an hour or more each day (at least!) to put your devices down.
3)     Addiction.  The brains of technology abusers develop a certain pattern of change over time. Studies suggest that the amount of time users check their gadgets is just enough to trigger that part of our brain that is linked to addiction. The Journal of Behavioral Addictions found that cell phone use appeared to have impulsive tendencies, at least for college-age students. It is important to pay attention to how often you feel the need to be connected to a device.
4)     Stress.  If you come home at the end of the day and immediately turn on technology, your brain doesn't get a chance to de-stress and unwind from your daily activities. This will keep you in stress mode around the clock if you don’t take a break.
5)     The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). Because of social media and the sharing of everything, our society has moved into feelings of “is everybody having fun without me?” Take the pressure off of yourself by realizing they are not all having fun without you!
6)     Anxiety. Social media can lead to anxiety about everything from FOMO to the fear that life is not exciting enough since everyone else’s life looks more interesting. Surveys have found that women often have anxiety that they are not creative enough after using Pinterest. Social media also can cause anxiety of not being successful enough or smart enough because of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Turn Your Devices off and Live in the Now
You will be happy to see how a digital detox will save you unneeded stress and anxiety, and end up giving you more time for the things that really matter.

Technology is useful for so many things, but it is important to remember, life is right in front of you, not hidden behind a device. Are you ready to cut the cord?


If you liked this post, here are a few others you might like as well!
Sit Less at the Office with 3 Easy Steps
Advances in Medical Technology are Keeping Henry in the Garden
Keep Your Kids Focused - Get Outside!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stay in Good Health with 9Health Fair

With friends starting to see ailments more commonly, Brian and his wife, Penny, realized they could no longer take their health for granted.  Retirement was getting closer, and they knew they would need to stay in good health to start tackling their growing bucket list. They vowed to make their 9Health Fair visit an annual tradition – it was an easy step in the right direction! 

It had only been 2 days since their visit to the 9Health Fair at Temple Sinai, when Brian got the call from a volunteer nurse.  She was quick to tell him that his Blood Chemistry Screening results were showing reduced kidney function.

A few years ago, his primary care physician had informed him of his above-normal creatinine levels, but Brian was in the dark about the effects that could have on the rest of his body.  The 9Health Fair nurse urged him to schedule an appointment with his primary care physician for further evaluation, and Brian took her advice.

Following his visit with his primary care physician, Brian learned that a medication he had been on for years was affecting his kidney function.  His creatinine levels had been rising for a long time, but it took a visit to 9Health Fair to bring attention to the matter.  Brian immediately stopped taking that medication and began seeing a nephrologist to make sure he was managing his kidney issues fully.

“Had I not received the call from 9Health Fair nurses, the problem would have worsened,” Brian says.  “Thanks to 9Health Fair, I was able to avert a more serious kidney problem than what already existed – a problem that was completely unknown to me!”


Might you have an underlying issue that is going undetected?  Visit a 9Health Fair this fall to receive the simple, low-cost Blood Chemistry Screening.  The results could provide the information you need to live a healthier life! 

Need a Nice Fix? Head to the Fall Colors!

Colorado is one of the best places to see the change in color that occurs in trees during the fall, but did you know that taking in the scenery could actually make you nicer?

In a set of recent experiments, researchers at the University of Rochester in New York monitored the effects of natural versus artificial environments — and found that nature actually makes us nicer. 

“Previous studies have shown the health benefits of nature range from more rapid healing to stress reduction to improved mental performance and vitality,” says Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“Now we’ve found nature brings out more social feelings, more value for community and close relationships. People are more caring when they’re around nature,” he says.

Researchers found that even artificial and pictures of nature will do the trick, but why not take advantage of the gorgeous scenery this time of year?  The colors generally peak the final two weeks of September and the first week in October – be sure to catch a glimpse before they’re gone!

9NEWS Meteorologist Marty Coniglio has compiled a list of the nine best drives to take in Colorado.
And if you don’t find one you like or need more information, the U.S. Forest Service operates a Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-354-4595.


If you or someone in your life could use a little “nice fix”, get in the car and head to the fall colors to get healthier and nicer!

No Excuses - Get the Health Screenings You Need!

We've all heard the common childhood excuse of, “The dog ate my homework!” But as adults, we come up with new excuses to explain why we don’t exercise, eat healthy or get the health screenings we need.

According to a recent AARP survey, the most common excuses to avoid getting health screenings are:
  • "I’m confused about which health screenings I should get."
  • "Screenings cost too much."
  • "I don’t have health insurance."
  • "Health screenings just aren't that important."  

Do any of these sound familiar to you?  9Health Fair can help you eliminate excuses and overcome obstacles to get the preventative screenings you need. Let’s look at each excuse one by one.

I’m confused about which health screenings I should get.
9Health Fair has medical professionals at every health fair to help you understand which screenings you need based on your medical history, family history, age, gender and other factors. You can also check out this online resource “Which screenings are right for me?” before you arrive at your fair!

Screenings cost too much.
9Health Fair offers screenings at a fraction of the price that you would pay at a lab or medical office. (And, we use the same lab – Quest Diagnostics – that most hospitals and medical offices use.) For example, the Blood chemistry Screening, which measures 28 different levels, costs just $35. See a full list of medical screenings and prices here. There is also a plethora of free screenings such as hearing, vision, blood pressure and more. Find a fair that offers the screenings you choose.

I don’t have health insurance.
Paying out of pocket for medical costs can be expensive if you don’t have health insurance. Think of how much money you can save by staying healthy, or by finding a potential health issue before it becomes a major medical emergency. Additionally, our partners at Connect for Health Colorado are available at several of the health fairs to help answer questions about how to get affordable insurance.

Health screenings just aren’t that important.
This excuse is the most difficult and dangerous. Most people don’t think about their health until something happens that calls it to their attention. We take for granted the ability to care for ourselves and our families, the ability to do breathe, eat, walk and so many other things we enjoy. We are able to do all of those activities because our health allows it.  When your health is compromised, health comes into focus. But why wait until there is a issue before you make health a priority? 9Health Fair makes it simple and affordable to get your health screenings, in a welcoming environment.

Here are some reasons to put your excuses to rest for good!
  • When you feel good, you look good.
  • Getting the health screenings you need will set an important example for your loved ones.
  • Maintaining your health can help you continue to enjoy the things you love for many years to come.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oral Health Screenings for Kids Offered at Family 9Health Fairs

If you could prevent one of the most common threats to your kids’ health, would you do it? Most people would answer yes, but surprisingly only 9.3 percent of children have visited a dentist by the age of one, as recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dental caries (cavities) are the leading chronic disease among Colorado’s children, and they are five times more prevalent than asthma. 

9Health Fair has stepped up its efforts to help children gain access to oral health. Several of the Family 9Health Fairs this fall will offer fluoride varnishes for kids and oral health screenings for adults and kids - at no cost! You can find a fair each weekend from September 13 through November 8.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found in the 2011-2012 school year that 39.7 percent of kindergarten children in Colorado had experienced dental caries.  In low-income and minority populations, early childhood caries is an epidemic and public health emergency; we are discovering that large health disparities do exist.

The good news is most oral diseases are preventable when habits like fluoride, teeth brushing, flossing and regular check-ups become a part of a child’s routine. 9Health Fair offers this important oral health screening, so find a fair  for you and your kids to attend this fall.

Fine-Tune Your Health with Blood Chemistry Screening

(This guest post is authored by Dr. John Torres of 9News)

Part of staying healthy is making sure problems are found before they start affecting you.  That means getting regular checkups that look at your overall health.  It also means getting blood tests to detect things early on before they start causing bigger issues.  9Health Fair offers a blood test known as the Blood Chemistry Screening that will give you a good picture of your overall health.  This simple blood test looks at a variety of substances in your blood and can tell your doctor information ranging from your cholesterol levels to how well you are managing your sugars and how well some of your organs are functioning. 

Even though you might not notice it, a high glucose level can be an early indicator of diabetes or a condition known as metabolic syndrome.  The Blood Chemistry Screening will look for that.  It also looks at your electrolytes, the basic minerals in your body, like your potassium and sodium, which essentially keep every cell in your body functioning normally.  The Blood Chemistry Screening also looks at how well your kidneys and liver are working.  Both of these organs might have issues that you wouldn't notice until they've caused other health problems.  The test also looks at your thyroid level, which can affect every part of your body.  One of the bigger issues with the thyroid is that it might be causing overall issues, like fatigue or weight gain, that can sneak up on you and you might not even realize it.  Once detected, this can be managed to bring the thyroid under better control.  Additionally, this test also checks your cholesterol level.  This is another thing you won’t simply notice because it doesn’t have any symptoms you can feel until you start having issues with heart disease or stroke.   

The Blood Chemistry Screening is easy to get, low-cost ($35) and can provide you and your doctor with a large amount of information that can help you both fine tune your health.  Get this screening at any Family 9Health Fair this fall!

Friday, September 12, 2014

King Soopers/City Market is Your Destination for Health and Wellness

(This guest post is authored by Mara McGuin of King Soopers)

People are always looking for easy solutions for balanced living, and King Soopers/City Market is the perfect place to find those answers. King Soopers offers a wide range of products and services that empower our customers to live and eat healthier, because Colorado’s health matters to us!
King Soopers is currently rolling out in-store Wellness Festivals developed by our team of registered dietitians that are free for the public! The festivals feature fun, interactive, and innovative educational booths throughout the store that highlight our outstanding, good-for-you products and services. There are also many delicious samples, giveaways, and valuable information on nutrition and healthy living. Click here for a list of Wellness Festival locations – we would love to see you there!
At the Wellness Festivals you will learn about the diversity of products and services available that make King Soopers your optimal destination for all health and wellness needs, including:
  • Produce: An affordable fresh selection of produce is available in every store, including a wide array of Colorado Proud and organic produce.
  • Natural & Organics: We offer a robust selection of Natural & Organics, including 30 Optimum Wellness Natural Vitamin Centers with Nutrition Specialists who help customers choose the best supplement for their needs.
  • Registered Dietitians: Six registered dietitians are on staff to develop wellness programs, and provide support to customers and associates in achieving nutrition-related goals.
  • Pharmacy: We have over 500 pharmacists, including specially trained patient care managers who provide health coaching & wellness services.
  • The Little Clinic: Located in 15 King Soopers stores, these clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners to provide convenient, affordable, quality options for Urgent care & basic health care needs.
  • NuVal: The NuVal scoring system available in every store, guides customers to healthier products by “trading up” – the higher the NuVal score, the better the nutritional value. Look for the tags!
  • HealthCENTERS: Automated HealthCENTERS are located near the pharmacy to provide an easy, user-friendly way for customers to track their key health indicators.
  • CU Health Partners: Our extensive community connections include a strong affiliation with the University of Colorado to offer the best health services. 

To learn more about how your health matters to us, go to https://www.kingsoopers.com/healthmatters