How To Improve Your Health Literacy

Last month was Health Literacy Month, but at MyHealthSpin, my goal is to spread health literacy all year long by giving you the information you need to make the best, most informed decisions when it comes to your health and healthcare. Here are a few ways you can improve your health literacy in order to play a more active role in your health.

Listen
Being at the doctor can be overwhelming, especially if you’re facing scary news about your health. But, make sure you listen to everything the doctor has to say. Bring a pen and a pad of paper to write down everything. Or have a family member come with you to serve as a second pair of ears. That way you can remember what your doctor said after you return home.

Do your research
This doesn’t mean research your symptoms and self-diagnose. This means to do your research once you have seen a licensed healthcare professional. For example, if your doctor tells you you have high blood pressure, research what you can do to maintain it. It’s important to know everything you can about your health. 

Ask questions
Be sure you ask your doctor questions. Doctors are busy but they can still answer your questions. The more you know the more proactive you will be able to be when it comes to your health. 

Teach
Teach others the things you learn about health and healthcare. Not only does it reinforce it but it helps others to gain knowledge. 

 

To learn more about healthcare pick up my ebooks in Easy Healthcare: Set 3. This set includes three books to help you navigate your health care: Before You Get Sick, Your Hospital Stay, and free bonus What You Need First.

What is Open Enrollment?

You may be hearing the term “open enrollment.” Toward the end of the calendar year, this term becomes especially relevant. So, what does it mean?

Open enrollment is the period of time during which you can enroll in a health insurance plan. Depending on where you get your health insurance, this time period may or may not fall at the end of the year. Generally, it is the only time of year you can enroll in new coverage or change your existing coverage. Exceptions may be made in the case of life changes like marriage, divorce, or childbirth.

If you get your insurance through the Affordable Care Act, you are buying insurance through the health exchange. When you hear the term Obamacare, it refers to this type of insurance. Open enrollment has just begun for Obamacare. To enroll in this health insurance for the 2018 calendar year, you must sign up between November 1, 2017 and December 15, 2017. You can do this through healthcare.gov or through your state marketplace.

If you get your insurance through your employer, ask your employer when open enrollment is. You likely will have enrolled in the insurance plan when you started working for the company. After that, there is usually one month out of the year during which you can re-enroll for another year or make changes to your policy. Ask your employer, typically the human resources department, when the enrollment period is and what forms you will need to complete.

Other health insurance options may not have specific open enrollment periods. For example, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, allow you to apply at any time.

Enrollment for Medicare is based on age. You can enroll for Medicare at age 65 years. The enrollment period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.

Although the fate of Obamacare is currently in question, as of this writing, open enrollment is open. If you plan to use this health insurance, be sure to sign up during open enrollment. The deadline is December 15.

Do you want more guidance as you choose which health insurance plan is best for you and your family? Get my book Easy Healthcare: Choose Your Health Insurance. In it, I walk through everything you need to know, including what kinds of health plans may be available to you, what information you should gather before choosing a plan, and some of the terms you will want to know.

4 Ways to Maintain Your Breast Health

Did you know that almost 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime? Maintaining your breast health is so important to preventing breast cancer. Today, we’re sharing four important things to do to keep yourself healthy and prevent breast cancer.

Thermography 
Thermascans are much less invasive than mammograms. This process uses thermal imaging to look for “hot spots” on the breast. These hot spots are from blood flow to a specific area that cause abnormally high skin temperatures. If hot spots are found in breast tissue it can signify the presence of breast cancer. Thermascans are great to develop a baseline of breast health and can be done annually. They are also great for early detection as hot spots typically show up long before cancer does in the tissue.

Exercise
Any form of exercise is good to help prevent cancer, whether strength training, cardio or simply walking. But if you’re really trying to curb your cancer risk, consider doing Pilates. Pilates helps to build long lean muscles without creating bulk, which can pose a problem when trying to check for lumps.
Self-exam
Self-exams are so important. So many women do not do them but they are essential for early detection. Try to make this a weekly or nightly routine when you take a shower. Finding a lump early can be key to catching breast cancer before it spreads.
Iodine
Iodine is a trace mineral essential for normal metabolic function. The typical American diet is very iodine deficient, even for those who eat iodized salt. However, studies have found that iodine supplementation can reduce the occurrence of fibrocystic breast disease. Adding a liquid iodine supplement will help break up cysts in the breasts that could lead to cancer. It can also help with your metabolism and thyroid.
Whole foods
Eating whole, natural foods can be a huge player in preventing breast cancer. Be sure you’re getting a lot of nutrients from leafy greens and organic vegetables. Eat lots of lean protein and try to avoid processed foods and sugar. Sugar feeds cancer so it is best to keep sugar intake to a minimum.
Looking for tips on wellness? Pick up the Women’s Mind Body Wellness Summit. The summit contains 6 interviews from top female health professionals plus three videos from MyHealthSpin Founder Lori-Ann Rickard, as well as two bonus workout videos. Use promo code “BEWELL” to recieve 50% off!