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January, 2007 - Happy New You!

Happy New Year to All! 
            And just how will we make this a happy, healthy year?
            By starting the first month of 2007 with care and concern. 
            Did you know that January 2007 is Blood Donor Month?  We can give the gift of life to others by donating our blood.  This is a safe and caring thing to do (assuming the donor is healthy enough to donate healthy blood).  Visit your local Red Cross or ask here at Downstate for how you can donate.
            We also can concentrate our new-year energies on Healthy Weight.  The 21st through the 27th of January 2007 is Healthy Weight Week and the 25th of January is Women’s Healthy Weight Day. 
            Before we think of this as for the overweight among us only, guess again.  We may be experiencing in America a “boomlet” of obesity, but there is also it’s polar opposite among the very young and very old, mostly (teens/young adults and the elderly).  That would be anorexia and bulimia.  In some ways, these illnesses can cause more damage to the heart faster than might obesity (in some obese patients it has appeared – we stress “appeared”! – that they can remain fairly healthy if they exercise and eat healthy foods; but for those who either do not eat or purge in some form, the effects can become irreversible and can lead to death more quickly than from side effects of morbid obesity).
            Let’s be aware of what it means to buy healthy food, to cook healthy meals and to eat in a smart and healthy, nutritious fashion.  Let’s be aware of those around us who restrict calories (or purge themselves) and who may become frighteningly thin or develop purging-related problems.  As aforementioned, this includes the elderly, who often stop eating because their food no longer tastes good, or they are unable to cook for themselves, or other health issues (including mental and emotional ones) are keeping them from enjoying life including from enjoying meals.
            January is also Glaucoma Awareness Month and Cervical Cancer Screening Month – both diseases that benefit from early detection.
            From 21-27 January 2007, hug a Nurse Anesthetist!  It’s their week!
            Finally, Birth Defects Prevention Month is aided by Folic Acid Awareness Week (8-14 January 07) – a key vitamin/mineral that can help prevent such defects in neonates.
            Be well, be happy, be at peace in the New Year!