Staying Healthy

Ready, Set, Goals: Three Simple Steps to Better Oral Health in 2019

This is where your oral health routine comes in!

It’s easy to forget how connected our oral health is to our bodies, but don’t be fooled. Poor oral habits can lead to diseases like endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. If you’re pregnant, it’s even more important to keep up with your dental care as conditions like periodontitis has been linked to unwanted birth defects like premature birth and low birth weight.

So, what is the easiest way to avoid these dental-induced health dilemmas? Set healthy oral health goals for 2019, and commit to sticking with them.

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Goal #1 – Commit To Going To The Dentist

Many people, even those with dental coverage, do not take advantage of this benefit. Think about going to the dentist the same way you would your yearly flu shot vaccine. Preventative care can only help if you decide to use it, so do your best to take advantage. Want to be reminded when it’s time for your yearly cleanings? Make sure to register your free MySmile account and we’ll handle the rest.

Goal #2 – Kick a Bad Habit

In general, habits require about 30 days of practice before they become second nature to you. In the spirit of breaking bad habits, the start of a new year is the perfect time to put a sunset date on that smoking habit that may be yellowing your teeth, or practice relaxation techniques to prevent you from grinding your teeth at night or when stressed.

Goal #3 – Challenge Yourself To Floss Daily

Add regular flossing to your hygiene routine and you can have a tremendous and positive impact on your oral health. Because our teeth develop with five unique surfaces, brushing alone isn’t enough to remove bacteria and plaque buildup. Even with an electric toothbrush, nothing is quite as effective as taking the time to floss. If you find that you’re having trouble keeping yourself accountable, try to make flossing fun by challenging a friend or a partner to a flossing challenge for 2019.

Do you have health goals for the new year?

Join the conversation and share them with us on Twitter!

* Delta Dental of Washington, 2018

 

 

 

Get Help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that some people develop after experiencing a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people will recover from those symptoms naturally.

People who develop PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are no longer in danger. The symptoms usually begin within 3 months (even later) of the traumatic incident and last more than a month. They can be severe enough to interfere with functioning in relationships or work, and may include:

  • Flashbacks — reliving the trauma
  • Bad dreams and frightening thoughts
  • Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
  • Being easily startled, feeling tense, or ‘on edge’
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering the key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden or unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. If you think you or someone you know might be experiencing PTSD, talk to a qualified mental health professional.

Adapted from: National Institutes of Health, retrieved from https://bit.ly/2yorwzT on 6/6/18

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Five Lifestyle Factors Lower Diabetes Risk

November is American Diabetes Month

A recent study found that a combination of 5 healthy lifestyle factors may help reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, even if family history puts you at risk for the disease.

People with diabetes have too high levels of glucose, a type of sugar, in their blood. Over time, high levels of glucose can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, and other problems.

Several lifestyle factors can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. A research team led by Dr. Jared Reis of NIH studied 5 factors:

  • having a healthy diet,
  • keeping an ideal body weight,
  • being physically active,
  • not smoking, and
  • minimizing alcohol use

The team used data collected in the mid-1990s from more than 200,000 older adults. They then looked to see who had developed diabetes over the next decade.

The analysis showed that the more healthy lifestyle factors adopted, the lower the risk for diabetes. Men with all 5 healthy lifestyle factors had a 72% lower risk of developing diabetes. Women had an 84% lower risk.

A family history of diabetes is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. But these results show that you may still be able to prevent or delay the disease by leading a healthy lifestyle.

“Not being overweight or obese led to the greatest protection,” Reis says. “However, we found that overweight or obese adults with a greater number of the other healthy lifestyle factors had a lower risk of developing diabetes. This is good news because it suggests that overweight or obese adults can benefit by adopting other healthy lifestyle behaviors.”

Source: National Institutes of Health, Five Lifestyle Factors that Lower Diabetes, https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2011/10/five-lifestyle-factors-lower-diabet…, retrieved 11/6/2018

Explore Common Misconceptions About Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association published a list of common diabetes myths and corresponding facts that debunk them. Access the resource published on their website, via this link.

Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

Take a simple assessment to find out if you are at risk for diabetes. If your results indicate you may be a risk, talk to your health care provider about a plan to help you stay healthy. Access the assessment here.

Deep Dive Into Diabetes

If you would like to learn more about diabetes, explore the resources provided by the National Institutes of Health. Learn the basics of what it is, the different types, associated health problems, symptoms and causes, managing the disease, information on prevention, and more. These resources can be accessed via this link.

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Stamp out your smoking habit

Want a healthier smile AND better overall health?  Kicking your smoking habit is a great start.   

Quitting your smoking habit is a great start to enjoying a lifetime of good oral and overall health.

How quitting benefits your body:

  • 20 minutes later, your heart rate drops
  • 1 year later, you’ve cut your added risk for heart disease in half
  • 10 years later, your oral cancer risk is almost the same as a non-smoker

How quitting benefits your smile:

  • Fresher breath
  • Whiter, less sensitive teeth
  • Lower risk of gum disease and oral cancer

Giving up an addiction can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.  Discuss smoking cessation options with your doctor or dentist. They’ll help get you on the path to a lifelong, healthy you.

View your dental coverage and find an in-network dentist near you with MySmile®. Register now

* Delta Dental of Washington, 2018

Choosing the right plan for you

You have choices when selecting a health plan during open enrollment. That’s a good thing, but it does mean you need to take action to find the right options for you and your family.

Try these 3 strategies to make sure you get the right coverage for you:

  • Call your favorite family doctors. Do they work with the plan you are considering? If not, are you willing to choose a new doctor?
  • Compare the different types of plans. One way to help you compare them is to look for a summary of benefits, which highlight plan differences.
  • Consider prescription coverage. Are your regular medications covered? Can you save on generic versions or by receiving prescriptions by mail?

 Tip: Sleep on it. If possible, allow yourself at least one night to mull over your choices. That way, you’ll be more confident you made the right call.

Premera Blue Cross

Immunization syringe on top of immunization history.

Protect your health with an annual flu shot

Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sick. The flu virus changes every year, so you should get the vaccine each year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot. You can get a flu vaccination at almost any in-network pharmacy or doctor. If you go to an in-network doctor or pharmacy, your flu shot is free*.

* If the flu shot is your only reason for your office visit, the visit will be fully covered for members enrolled in Premera medical through the Business Health Trust. If you have other care or services as part of the office visit, you may responsible for all or part of the cost of the visit. You may need to pay up-front at your pharmacy. Go to premera.com to download and submit a medical claim form to be reimbursed.

Tip: Find an in-network doctor or pharmacy by visiting premera.com and using the Find a Doctor tool.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence is a willful intimidation, and consistent effort to maintain power and control over the other. Some examples of abusive tendencies include but are not limited to:

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
  • Accusing the victim of cheating
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
  • Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  • Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  • Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)
  • Preventing the victim from making their own decisions
  • Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones, or pets
  • Intimidating the victim with guns, knives, or other weapons
  • Forcing sex, or sabotaging birth control
  • Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either, keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
  • Destroying the victim’s property

For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), or if you are unsure, or maybe concerned about someone, call your Employee Assistance Program. 

Source: Adapted from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Learn More: What Is Domestic Violence; retrieved from https://ncadv.org/learn-more, on January 12, 2018, by Wellspring EAP. 

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Is a preventive dental check-up really worth it?

Yes, experts agree, staying on top of preventive care is the best way to keep your smile healthy.

Why?  Every day, plaque and tartar buildup on and between your teeth.  Daily brushing and flossing remove most of it, but dental cleanings get it all.

Still not convinced? Here are 3 reasons to visit your dentist:

1. It removes surface stains

Hygienists use professional toothpastes—ones that remove 35% more stains than at-home brushing.

2. It improves your breath

Like plaque, bacteria hide in your mouth’s hard-to-reach crannies. A cleaning removes deposits on teeth near the gum line.

3. It helps prevent serious problems

During a dental exam, your dentist checks for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer.

Though a single dental cleaning isn’t an instant fix, one appointment can make a big difference. Schedule your next visit today!

Find an in-network dentist near you with MySmile®. Register now.

* Delta Dental of Washington, 2018

Eat well. Sleep well. Live well.

Lifestyle diseases are preventable illnesses linked to a person’s habits. They include serious conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Many cancers

Practice these habits to help you enjoy a healthy life:

  • Eat a healthy diet: Put colorful fruits and veggies on the menu. Nutritional counseling is part of every Premera health plan. For information, call the customer service number on the back of your card.
  • Stay active: Choose an activity you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
  • Get enough sleep: Over time, good sleep can benefit your weight, heart, and mood. It may even help you live longer.

Personalized help
Premera has Personal Health Support clinicians who can help you get on track. For information, call 888-742-1479, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Online resources
Sign in at premera.com for additional health information, support, and educational resources.

Tip: Another important habit of healthy living is to see your doctor annually. A preventive visit is included in your Premera health plan.

Feeling low? You’re Not Alone.

Nearly 1 in 5 people are dealing with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Common symptoms of depression include:
• Fatigue
• Feelings of hopelessness
• Trouble concentrating
• Loss of interest in hobbies
• Change in appetite
• Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

If something feels off, be sure to talk to your doctor. Depression is highly treatable.

Personalized help
Premera has Personal Health Support clinicians who can help you get on track. For information, call 888-742-1479, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday.

Online resources
Sign in at premera.com for additional health information, support, and educational resources.

Tip: Mental healthcare is part of every Premera health plan. Go to premera.com or call the customer service number on the back of your Premera ID card.

 

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash