Health Education | Altamed
AltaMed Health Education
Want to improve your health? Access our health education resources to help you live healthier.
Learn about high cholesterol, anxiety, and blood pressure with our bilingual education materials – ready for printing or sharing online.
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. Learn more about why not all cholesterol is bad for you.
What is cholesterol?
What is good and bad cholesterol?
H: HDL is “good cholesterol.” Think of H in HDL as Healthy. The Higher, the better.
L: LDL is “bad cholesterol.” Think of L in LDL as Lousy. The Lower, the better.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. When you eat, the body converts any calories it does not use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored calories, which go to your stomach. Having high triglyceride levels can raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Saturated Fat and Trans Fat:
Saturated fat and trans fat are fats that raise blood cholesterol levels the most. Just like cholesterol, saturated fat is found in food that comes from animals. Trans fat is found in fried foods and baked products.
How to lower your cholesterol:
- Read nutrition labels, and limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and total cholesterol
- Eat foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables
- Be physically active
- Quit smoking and drink less alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage your stress
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or worry. Find out how to manage your symptoms.
What is anxiety?
Causes of Anxiety Disorder:
- Family history: Anxiety disorders can run in families.
- Stress: Trauma, abuse, death of a loved one, violence, or chronic illness can cause stress.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
- Fast heartbeat, sweating, or trouble breathing
- Hard time focusing
- Muscle tension or muscle aches
- Feeling worried or nervous often
- Stomach aches or nausea
- Shaking or trembling
- Chest pain
- Trouble sleeping
How can I manage my anxiety?
Therapy and medication are used to treat anxiety. Lifestyle changes can also help.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and drugs
- Have a healthy diet
- Be physically active
- Relax or meditate
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against the artery walls. Find out how you can lower yours if your doctor says it’s too high.
What is blood pressure?
Why is high blood pressure harmful?
- It makes your heart work harder
- It has no symptoms, so many people do not know they have it
- It can put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and kidney and eye problems
How is blood pressure measured?
Your blood pressure is measured by two numbers: a systolic “top number” and a diastolic “bottom number.” The top number measures the force of blood when the heart pumps. The bottom number measures the force of blood between heartbeats.
Ways to lower your blood pressure:
- Use less salt in your food; try seasoning with herbs and spices instead
- Be physically active
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol
Drink less caffeine (coffee, tea, soda)
- Manage your stress
Learn how to deal with some of the common reasons people don’t follow their doctor’s instructions for taking medication.
What is medication compliance?
Why is it important?
Taking your medication the right way will help you have a better quality of life. If you do not, your condition can get worse or new health problems can start. Below are some helpful tips for dealing with some of the common reasons people have trouble following their doctor’s instructions.
Tips for Medication Compliance
Create a list of your medications
(prescription and non-prescription):
- Know who prescribed them and why you are taking them.
Learn about your medications:
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist when you do not understand something.
- You should know when to take the medication and possible side effects.
- Ask if you can take them with other medications or vitamins.
- Refill your medication at least a week before you run out.
- Know what to do if you miss a dose.
- Take enough medication with you when traveling.
Organize your pills:
- Use a pillbox that has space for morning, day, and night medication.
- Refill it at the same time each week.
- For example, every Sunday morning.
Create a calendar or schedule:
- Make a note each time you take a dose.
- Always take your medication at the same time.
- For example, when you brush your teeth or get ready for bed.
- Ask family and friends to help remind you to take your medications.
Follow up with your doctor:
- Your doctor can give you tips on how to manage your medications.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not use sugar (glucose) as it should. See how you can still lead a healthy life with diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not use sugar (glucose) as it should. The body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar. Sugar travels in you blood through a hormone called insulin to all cells in the body. The cells need sugar to give you energy and keep you healthy.
When you have diabetes it affects how insulin works in the body:
Type 1 Diabetes
- The body does not make insulin
Type 2 Diabetes
- The body does not make enough insulin, or
- The insulin you make does not work as it should
Signs and Symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Hungry all the time
- Very tired
- Tingling/numbness in the hands and feet and/or have leg cramps.
- Very thirsty
- Sudden weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Sweet cravings
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Fatty liver disease
- Skin infections
- Nerve damage
- Gum disease
You can lead a healthy life with diabetes by staying active, managing your stress, and eating balanced meals.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness. Learn how to protect yourself and your family.
What is influenza?
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness. It is caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and can lead to death. Older adults, young children, and people with certain health problems, are at a higher risk for flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine every year.
People who have the flu often have some or all of these symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common in children.
- People at high risk
- Certain people are more likely to have complications from the flu, such as:
- Children younger than 5
- People 65 years and older
- Pregnant women
- People with certain health problems, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and a weakened immune system
What can I do if I have the flu?
- Get plenty of rest
- Keep a distance from others
- Drink lots of fluids
- Take care of your symptoms
- Take any medicine your doctor recommends
- Talk to your doctor if your symptoms worsen
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick with the flu?
- Yearly flu shot (6 months and older)
- Practice good habits:
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Take any antiviral drugs your doctor prescribes (for high risk patients)
Exercise is any type of physical activity or movement that raises your heart rate. It has many benefits for your health and well-being.
What is exercise?
Four types of exercise:
- Endurance: Improves the health of your heart, lungs and blood flow
- Strengthening: Makes muscles, joints and bones stronger
- Balance: Helps prevent falls
- Flexibility: Lowers your risk of injuries
How much exercise do you need?
- Children should have 60 minutes of exercise per day.
- Adults should have at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
Some of the other benefits of exercise include:
- Helps control your weight
- Lowers your risk and helps control health problems such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure
- Improves your mood
- Improves sleep
- Builds a stronger immune system
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It is your body’s main source of energy.
What is blood sugar?
Having too little or too much glucose can cause serious health problems such as a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and more.
High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)
- Too much food
- Too little insulin
- Blurred Vision
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
- Too little food
- Too much insulin
- Too much physical activity
- Rapid heartbeat
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus. People over 65 and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma are more likely to be sick with COVID-19 and have trouble breathing.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- New loss of taste or smell
How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
- Get the vaccine
- Wear a mask in public
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Stay 6 feet away from people outside of your home
- Stay away from large groups of people
- Clean frequently touched surfaces every day