Category Archives: Health Regulation

DHEC Recognizes June as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and DHEC is joining efforts to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease and brain health. During June, the Alzheimer’s Association is inviting people to participate in The Longest Day® on June 21. The event is held annually on the summer solstice, and The Longest Day invites participants to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s by wearing purple, fundraising, and engaging in activities that raise awareness.

Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age. Most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, but up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s, which often develops when someone is in their 40s or 50s.

More than 90,000 residents in South Carolina experience Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, according to the South Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. DHEC’s oversight of nursing homes and assisted living facilities includes support and protection for many of these residents, along with the agency’s partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association, and Eat Smart, Move More, SC, among others. 

Brain Health
While the importance of brain health is well known, there is still a great deal scientists and doctors don’t know about the brain. Fortunately, research is advancing, and evidence shows that people can reduce their chances of decreased brain function by adopting key heart-healthy lifestyle habits. 

Here are some steps to take to support a healthy brain: 

  • Fuel up Right and Break a Sweat! Participate in physical activity that raises your heart rate and increases your blood flow. Studies have found that physical activity reduces risk of cognitive decline. 
  • Butt out. Quit Smoking! Smoking increases your risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce risk to levels similar to those who have not smoked. 
  • Follow Your Heart! Risk factors for heart disease and stroke such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes can negatively impact your cognitive health. 
  • Protect Your Noggin! Wear a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike or motorcycle. Use seat belts or child restraint systems designed for the age of your child. 

Click here to learn more about various types of brain conditions including the signs to watch for. The conditions include mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. In general, each of these conditions can include loss of memory and largely involve, but are not limited to, residents who are 65 or older. 

Facts About Alzheimer’s: 

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for an estimated 60% to 80% of cases. 
  • More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By the year 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million people. 
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.  
  • 1 in 3 Seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
  • 1 in 9 people age 65 and older (11.3%) has Alzheimer’s dementia. 

Source: Alzheimer’s Association  

Join DHEC and the American Heart Association for National CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1-7)

According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 EMS-assessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. 

DHEC is pleased to support the American Heart Association and its mission to increase survival from cardiac arrest.

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Spotlight: White Knoll High School’s Sheila Gordon Emphasizes the Importance of Athletic Trainers

March is National Athletic Training Month and Women’s History Month. In honor of these observances, DHEC would like to take the time to spotlight one of our state’s skilled athletic trainers, Sheila Gordon.

Athletic trainers, also called ATs, are not only a crucial part of coaching staff, but they are also medical professionals who have a skill set that is unmatched in prevention, management, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.

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DHEC Celebrates American Heart Month

DHEC’s Healthcare Quality Team wore red in honor of National Go Red Day on Feb. 4

February is American Heart Month, and it provides an opportunity for people to focus on cardiovascular health.

DHEC’s Division of Diabetes and Heart Disease Management wants to encourage everyone to take action to improve their cardiovascular health. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. This means 1 in every 4 deaths total in the U.S. 

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are the key risk factors for heart disease. Getting regular health screenings can detect elevated levels and help with early detection or diagnosis.  

Whatever your age or activity level, there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risks. Engaging in in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, being smoke-free, and limiting the use of alcohol can lower your risk of heart disease and help you live an overall healthier life. 

Check out the DASH for Good Health Southern Style Cookbook for heart healthy recipes. You’ll find heart healthy tips on seasoning substitutions, eating at restaurants, and meal plans. Try the lemon chicken and potatoes recipe.  

For more information on heart health, watch the February 9th episode of Wellness Wednesday, sponsored by the Division of Diabetes and Heart Disease Management archived on the In It Together Facebook page. 

We also want to thank all DHEC employees who wore red, decorated your space, or both to raise awareness on National Go Red Day on Feb. 4.

DHEC raises awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease on Light the World In Teal Day

Light the World in Teal is an annual observance held on Nov. 4. which highlights November as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Members of DHEC’s Healthcare Quality staff wore teal Thursday, Nov. 4, to recognize Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.  

Teal is the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s awareness color. Persons around the world wear teal, and buildings and structures light up in teal to participate in the observance. 

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 95,000 South Carolinians are currently living with Alzheimer’s, according to the 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report. 

DHEC recognizes Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and encourages the public to learn more information about Alzheimer’s disease. You can do so by clicking here.