DIGGING WELLNESS:
ESHCA Wellness Newsletter
June 2019
The shareable link (also printable) for this issue of the newsletter is: https://conta.cc/2QJob5K
Do You Know Your Family Medical History?
What is a Family Medical History?
  • It is a written record detailing health information from 3 generations of biological relatives including grandparents, parents, children, brothers/sisters, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews and cousins.
  • A recent CDC study indicated 96% of Americans believed that knowing their family health history is important but only one-third have actually gathered their family history information.

What should be included?
  • The age a relative was diagnosed with a disease.
  • The age and cause of death of the diseased family member.

Why do I need to know my Family Medical History?
  • The genes we are born with may contribute to our risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Additionally, certain types of cancer also have a genetic link including breast, ovarian, colorectal and prostate cancer.
  • However, it is more than just "good" or "bad" genes, families have other factors in common including environment and lifestyle. For example, statistics show that if your parents smoked you are also more likely to smoke.
  • Example: How much does a family history affect the chances of you having a heart attack?

  • 1 parent who had a heart attack at age 50 or older - your increased risk is 67 percent
  • 1 parent who had a heart attack under age 50 - your increased risk is 136 percent
  • 2 parents who had a heart attack at age 50 or older - your increased risk is 190 percent
  • 2 parents who had heart attacks, one under age 50 and one at 50 or older - your increased risk is 226 percent
  • 2 parents who had heart attacks under age 50 - your increased risk is 556 percent

  • A typical health questionnaire will assess your risk by asking you if your father had a heart attack at the age of 55 or younger or if your mother had a heart attack at the age of 65 or younger. Both criteria increase your risk of heart disease.

How can I use this information?
  • Share it with your Primary Care Physician at your Annual Physical.
  • Use it to identify a higher-than-usual chance of having common disorders such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.
  • Your PCP may recommend more frequent screening (mammograms and colonoscopies) starting at an earlier age, improving the opportunity for early diagnosis and intervention.
  • Encourage lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, regular exercise and taking steps to quit smoking.

How do I get this information?
  • Speak with family members, obtain medical records and other documents (obituaries, death certificates, etc.).
  • If your family is like mine, this may be easier said than done. I know some of my mother's relatives died of heart attacks but I do not know what age and I know several of my father's relatives died of cancer but I do not know what kind. The older generations were pretty quiet about their health and were more likely to "tough it out" and "suffer in solitude" rather than be a burden to anyone. However, this information is important to me and my sons as we age.

What do I do with this information?
  • Keep it up to date!
  • Provide a copy to your adult children and encourage them to keep it current for future generations!

Download a Family Medical History Form and complete it for your personal records!

$25 Incentive - Apply Your "Numbers" to Assess Your Risk for Heart Disease
Earn your $25 incentive this month by applying "Know Your Numbers" to the Heart Risk Assessment . We are continuously encouraging you to get your physical and be aware of your "numbers", take this opportunity to put that information to use and determine your risk of heart disease.

This is a quick, easy exercise:
  1. Download the Heart Risk Assessment (click on this link).
  2. Complete the assessment and fill in the Heart Risk Assessment Worksheet (click on this link).
  3. Email (good cell phone picture works), mail or fax me a copy of the Worksheet and I will send you a $25 incentive card. This challenge takes just a matter of minutes, send it in upon completion. I will take them up until July 1st!
  4. Reminder: all household members are encouraged to participate but only one incentive can be paid out to each member household. However, all employees are eligible for the incentive, therefore, if more than one employee lives in the household, they are eligible for the incentive.
  5. What if, I want to participate but I do not know my numbers or do not want to share them?
  • This is a worthwhile activity that will stimulate thought and educate you on how your "numbers" affect your health. Feel free to make up numbers and plug them in, just make sure at some point you use this tool with your personal numbers to assess your persoanl risk.


Nutrition and Improved Blood Flow
Why should you be concerned with good blood flow (circulation)? I once had a surgeon tell me the most important factor in heeling from a surgery or an injury was getting sufficient oxygen to the damaged tissue (good circulation). The same can be said for healthy living as we age, good circulation is the key to good health!

What lifestyle factors inhibit blood flow?
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet (excess sodium, sugar and "unhealthy" fats)
  • Lack of exercise (especially important for those who sit all day at work)
  • Blood clots
  • Disease
  • Stress

Listed below are 19 foods that improve circulation:
  1. Celery
  2. Raw seeds (chia, flax and pumpkin)
  3. Oats
  4. Citrus fruits
  5. Raw almonds and walnuts
  6. Greens
  7. Certain "super foods" - spirulina, acai, cacao (dark chocolate), coconut oil and avocado
  8. Cucumbers
  9. Asparagus
  10. Red bell peppers
  11. Beet juice
  12. Salmon
  13. Cayenne pepper
  14. Radishes
  15. Maca
  16. Coffee - in moderation; do not exceed 32 ounces per day!
  17. Wakame seaweed
  18. Brussels sprouts
  19. Garlic

How many of these foods do you get in your daily or weekly food intake?


Stretch of the Month - Hip Flexors
What are the hip flexors and what is their function? The 3 main hip flexor muscles are the iliopsoas (psoas major/minor and illiacus), the sartorius and the rectus femoris. When the hip flexors contract the thigh and knee are lifted upward and move toward your torso.

Why do tight hip flexors contribute to back pain? I had difficulty finding a good picture of the hip flexor complex but what you should notice in the picture is how the muscles originate in the lower back or hips, run through the pelvis and then attach into the upper or lower leg. Understand, if those muscles are tight they are pulling directly on the lower back and/or hips, possibly causing pain or poor alignment. Common physical therapy for low back pain includes stretching the hip flexor muscles.

Who should be most conscious about stretching their hip flexors? Although it is something we should all be aware of, it is especially important to people who do a lot of sitting (operators or those working in an office).

How do I stretch my hip flexors?
  1. Kneel on the floor with one knee up and one knee on the ground.
  2. Your foot on the "leg up" side should be slightly ahead of your knee and the knee on the floor should be directly under you hip.
  3. Keep your chest high and your shoulder blades back (keeping both hands on your upper thigh). Gently push your hips forward, moving the knee of the "up leg" over the foot and pulling the hip away from the knee on the floor.
  4. Feel the stretch or pull in the center of the down leg (may also feel it in the hip or low back).
  5. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. Switch legs and repeat.

For optimal results, combine hip flexor stretching with glute and hamstring strengthening! Hip flexor stretching is a great example of an exercise that can benefit by strengthening it's opposing muscles. Use a bridging exercise in conjunction with this stretch to directly strengthen weak gluteal and hamstring muscles and passively stretch the hip flexors.
  1. Start by lying flat on the floor with your knees bent (A).
  2. Suck your stomach in, "pulling your navel tight to your spine", press your weight through your heels lifting you hips (B). You should feel your buttocks and hamstrings tighten.
  3. Pause for 1 second and then return to the floor. Repeat for 5 to 15 repetitions.

These exercises can be done daily or even multiple times per day!

What Is the Wellness Program Offering in 2019
Be rewarded for practicing healthy behaviors! Healthy employees cost less and are typically more productive. The ESHCA Wellness Program encourages members to practice healthy behaviors and live a healthy lifestyle. Save on your health premiums by taking advantage of the incentives offered:

  • Annual Physical Incentive ($200)
  • Click Here to download the required paperwork.
  • Nutrition Program ($50)
  • Take the ESHCA 49-Day Nutrition Challenge (offered in November and January) - or - get credit for participating in a nutrition program of your choice (example: Weight Watchers)
  • "Used" Gym Membership ($50)
  • Email (good cell phone picture works), mail or fax me a copy of the "Member Login Record" provided by your gym, illustrating you have completed 35 workouts this year and I will send you the incentive.
  • Don't belong to a gym but you workout at home? Contact me and I will send you the paperwork to fill out.
  • Smoking Cessation Program ($50)
  • Complete a smoking cessation program and send me proof of completion.
  • Complete 6 Newsletter Challenges ($25 each)

Don't forget ESHCA is a member of the Herb Philipson's Workwear Program! Show the cashier your ESHCA/MVP Insurance Card and get 10% off Herb's already low prices on "workwear items"!