Category Archives: Public Health

Check on Your Health During Men’s Health Month

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Men, when was the last time you went to the doctor for a check up?  Men’s Health Month is a time for awareness of preventable health problems and early detection for men and boys.  Sure, physical activity and good nutrition habits are key components for a healthy lifestyle, but other factors are also important.

Here are a few tips to make healthy choices this month:

  • Start a men’s exercise group. Whether it’s basketball, tag football, or power walking, there is strength in numbers.  Call a buddy and get moving!
  • Make this month the month to receive your annual check up (and stick with it every year).
  • Use this month to learn about hereditary health issues. Do chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease run in your family?
  • If you are over 55 years old, get screened for prostate cancer.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Your mental health is just as important as physical. Reduce stress where possible.  Recognize the signs of anxiety and depression and seek help.

According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment:

  • The prevalence of male South Carolina smokers (23.4%) was higher compared to women smokers (17.9%).
  • In 2016, 73.5 per 100,000 males were living with hepatitis C compared to 44.2 per 100,000 females.
  • The suicide rate in South Carolina during 2016 was higher in males (24.6 per 100,000) than females (7.6 per 100,000), a more than three-fold difference (Figure 8.12)
  • The death rate resulting from falls for persons 65 years and older in South Carolina during 2016 was higher in males (55.8 per 100,000) than women (42.3 per 100,000).
  • Deaths from drug overdoses were higher in males (22.9 deaths per 100,000) compared to women (13.3 deaths per 100,000).
  • Deaths related to opioids were almost twice as high in males (16.6 per 100,000) than in women (9.3 per 100,000).

Always remember that if something doesn’t feel right, go to the doctor.  Many illnesses can be treated if given immediate attention.  Make your health a priority this month.

South Carolina Health at a Glance: 2018 Live Healthy State Health Assessment Report

South Carolina’s first comprehensive State Health Assessment was drafted last year to create awareness about health issues and opportunities of improvement that impact the overall health of our state.  Because the report is 346 pages, we will tackle the report in upcoming blog posts and provide a brief summary of each section.

Stay tuned for more posts as we break down South Carolina’s health, page by page.

Whose idea was the South Carolina Health Assessment Report?

The Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina, a diverse group of more than 50 state and community leaders and organizations, serves as the backbone organization for Live Healthy South Carolina (LHSC). LHSC brings organizations and leaders together to assess population health outcomes, identify data-driven priorities, and recommend best practices that can be implemented at the state and local levels.   The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is among this group, providing epidemiology information as well as compiling other health data.

What exactly is the South Carolina Health Assessment Report?

The Live Healthy South Carolina State Health Assessment is a comprehensive description of the health status of South Carolinians and will be used to inform health improvement plans at the state and community levels.  It also serves as a resource for organizations that need access to health data.

Why is this report necessary?

The findings in this assessment can help ensure the opportunity for South Carolina’s health and well-being is a priority.  For everyone who lives, works, worships, and vacations in our great state, the assessment can equip us to make better health decisions as well as meet the challenges of today and tomorrow by contributing to a culture of health that values every South Carolinian.

The assessment summarizes data from the following areas:  demographics, health indicators, leading causes of death and hospitalizations, cross-cutting, access to health care, maternal and infant health, chronic disease and risk factors, infectious disease, injury, physical environment, and behavioral health.

Although this is the first state assessment, the goal is to assess state-level health risk factors and outcomes every three to five years and use the data to identify priority areas to be addressed in South Carolina.

View the comprehensive report:  https://www.livehealthysc.com/uploads/1/2/2/3/122303641/sc_sha_full_report_nov.18.pdf

Look Out for Potential Lead Exposure During National Healthy Homes Month

June is National Healthy Homes Month, and this year’s theme is “Growing Up Safe and Healthy: 5 Minutes to a Healthy Home.”  Use this month to focus on protecting current and future generations of children from the exposures of lead from contaminated paint, dust, and soil.  A thorough home assessment can deeply impact your health.

Lead Poisoning Infographic

The Healthy Homes Do-It-Yourself Assessment Tool walks users through each room and provides a simple, low and no-cost solution to many common healthy housing problems.  Learn more about creating a healthy home at www.HUD.gov/HealthyHomes.

If you have questions about lead prevention, please call 1.866.4NOLEAD or 1.866.466.5353.

Rethink Your Drink: Choose Water

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We are about to enter the dog days of summer, where hydration is necessary.  Getting enough to drink is important whether you’re working out, traveling, or sun-bathing.  Excessively drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain/obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout.  Those beverages may be sweetened with added sugars like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, raw sugar, molasses, honey, malt syrup, etc.

Here are some tips from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about ways to increase your water intake:

  • Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands.
  • Freeze some freezer safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This can also help with weight management.  Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories.
  • Choose water when eating out. Generally, you will save money and reduce calorie intake.
  • Try something new. Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water.  This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.

Drinking water is a key to good health.  The next time you are thirsty, rethink your drink and choose water.

DHEC In the News:  Earthquake emergency preparedness, High Cancer Rates in Anderson County, & Swim Advisories

Here’s a look at health and environmental news around South Carolina.

Training keeps first responders up to date with emergency response

KINGSTREE, S.C. (The Kingstree News) On May 16, the Williamsburg County Emergency Management/E-911 Division (EMD) held an Earthquake Tabletop Exercise for Williamsburg County agencies who continually update preparedness in case such an event occurs. There is not a completely reliable method for predicting the time, place and size of an earthquake, especially since the majority of earthquakes occur in the Coastal Plain. Experts do agree that where earthquakes have occurred before, they can again. Therefore it is always important to be prepared.

 

Anderson County cancer rates among the highest in South Carolina and nationally

ANDERSON, S.C. (Anderson Independent Mail) Over the past decade, Anderson County has consistently had more people getting cancer for the first time than the state and national average.

Anderson County is ranked eighth-highest out of the state’s 46 counties for incidences of all types of cancers, according to information provided by the State Department of Health and Environmental Control. Cancer was the leading cause of death in Anderson County, and the second in South Carolina, as of 2017.

 

Carolina This Week with DHEC’s Bryan Rabon

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE-ABC) Bryan Rabon, DHEC’s manager of aquatic science programs, sat down with “Carolina This Week” host Trey Paul to talk about beach monitoring season and the purpose of swim advisories.