National Folic Acid Awareness Week January 8th-14th: What should you know about folic acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that is used by the body to make new cells. Everyone needs folic acid! If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. CDC urges women to take 400 mcg of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant, to help prevent major birth defects. There are two easy ways to be sure to get enough folic acid each day:
- Take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day.
Most multivitamins sold in the United States have the amount of folic acid women need each day. Women can also choose to take a small pill (supplement) that has only folic acid in it each day. Multivitamins and folic acid pills can be found at most local pharmacy, grocery, or discount stores. Check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 micrograms (mcg).
- Eat a bowl of breakfast cereal that has 100% of the daily value of folic acid every day.
Not every cereal has this amount. Check the label on the side of the box, and look for one that has “100%” next to folic acid.
Did you know January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month? Here are some eye health tips to share with your readers
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. However, recent findings now show that glaucoma can occur with normal eye pressure. With early detection and timely treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. Your eyes are an important part of your health. You can do many things to keep them healthy and make sure you’re seeing your best. Please share the following simple guidelines with your readers for maintaining healthy eyes well into their golden years:
Understanding your health shouldn’t be a puzzle: Why you should ask for plain language in healthcare
Let’s face it: managing your health can be complicated. Every day, we face situations that involve life-changing decisions about our health. Research shows that today's health information is hard to understand and use to make good decisions. But health information and services don’t have to be so complicated. It helps to be a savvy consumer. How can you get the most from health information and services?
First, know the law. As of this year, federal government agencies must use plain language when they communicate with the public about critical benefits and services. If you find federal government health information that isn’t in plain language, you can contact that agency and ask them to make it clear.
Second, clear communication is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, i.e. "health reform," the most significant change to health policy in decades. Soon, health insurance companies will be required to tell you about coverage and benefits in plain language. You may also find “patient navigators,” people who can help you find your way through the maze of healthcare.
Third, when you go to the doctor, clinic or hospital, ask them to use plain language when they talk to you and ask for plain language patient information. You can take a list of questions and ask for clear answers and explanations.
Why is health literacy important?
Inform your readers on becoming more health literate and visit the CDC website for training resources, materials and more for your state.