Family Prevention

Chronic disease prevention is important for everyone in your family, at all ages. Find resources on identifying symptoms of, prevention techniques for, and management of:  heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.

Family Preventive Health

Prevention & Treatment of Diabetes

elderlymanIf you have a family history or other risk factors for diabetes or if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, there are a number of healthy living tips you can follow to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, these same tips can slow the progression of the disease.

yLogoBlueThe YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can also help you develop a healthier lifestyle and work with you to reduce the risks this condition can pose to your health.

  • Choose a healthy lifestyle: By managing your weight through proper nutrition and regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and finding healthy ways to deal with stress, you can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes or minimize its impact on your body. A healthy lifestyle will also reduce your risk of developing a host of other medical conditions. MORE TIPS
  • Know your health numbers: Through home monitoring and regular visits with your health care provider, you can keep track of your blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and weight. These critical health numbers provide insight into how well your treatment plan is working to manage your diabetes and safeguard your overall health, including that of your heart. LEARN HOW

Work with your health care team: Since diabetes can have multiple health implications (effects on your vision, your feet and legs, and your heart) and since treating it can require special medications and a special diet, your health care team may include a number of medical professionals with various specialties. Your team can guide you to implement a comprehensive plan to treat diabetes and minimize its effects. READ MORE

These lifestyle changes can help minimize other risk factors as well, such as high blood pressure and blood cholesterol, which can have a tremendous impact on people with diabetes.  In many instances, lifestyle changes must be complemented by a regimen of medications to control blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as to prevent heart attack and stroke.

Why Cholesterol Matters

cholesterol_imageHigh cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. If you have other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes, this risk increases even further.

When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain (View an animation of cholesterol). Together with other substances, cholesterol can form a thick, hard deposit called plaque that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can result.

The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol. Working with your doctor is key. It takes a team to develop and maintain a successful health program. Learn how to make diet and lifestyle changes easy and lasting. Also make sure you understand instructions for taking medication because it won’t work if you don’t take it as directed.

•    Lifestyle Changes: Your diet, weight, physical activity and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level.
•    Know Your Fats: Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don’t is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease.
•    Cooking for Lower Cholesterol: A heart-healthy eating plan can help you manage your blood cholesterol level.
•    Understand Drug Therapy Options: For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication.

Risk of Stroke

The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions.  If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should. LEARN MORE about how stroke affects the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

Risk factors are traits and lifestyle habits that increase the risk of stroke – some can’t be changed, like your family history and age, but others can. Learn which factors you can treat or control – and those you cannot – and what you can do to lower your risk of stroke.

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association has provided some useful information about the often-preventable chronic diseases that hit D.C.

High Blood Pressure:  “The Silent Killer”

High blood pressure (HBP) is sometimes called “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms, so you may not be aware that it’s damaging your arteries, heart and other organs. The American Heart Association has created a Health Risk Calculator to help assess your risk of high blood pressure. A few minutes could change your habits and your life. LEARN MORE

The good news is that good habits make a big difference! There are eight main ways you can control your blood pressure:

•    Eat a better dietreduce salt
•    Enjoy regular physical activity
•    Maintain a healthy weight
•    Manage stress
•    Avoid tobacco smoke
•    Comply with medication prescriptions
•    If you drink, limit alcohol
•    Understand hot tub safety

•   Try these 10 tips to make restaurant meals healthier