Tuesday, November 7, 2017

AAHI's November 2017 newsletter is out!

The November 2017 issue of AAHI's newsletter is now available online! Please click the image below to read a full-size version of the newsletter. Subscribe to our mailing list today to receive our quarterly newsletters via email!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tackling Diabetes in the Asian American Community

November is National Diabetes Month! Diabetes is a prevalent health concern for Asian Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death for this group. Among Asian Americans, Asian Indians have the highest rates of diabetes. Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean Americans also have higher diabetes rates than non-Hispanic whites despite having lower body weight. Research shows that genetics and the Western lifestyle have led to the high risk of diabetes in Asian Americans. 

Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar (also known as glucose) levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat turns into glucose for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, releases a hormone called insulin into our blood. Insulin helps glucose enter cells in our bodies. If our bodies do not make enough insulin, or the insulin does not work the way it should, glucose stays in the blood and does not reach the cells. Too much glucose in the blood can have negative health consequences such as heart disease, kidney disease, as well as foot, skin, or eye complications. 

According to the CDC, signs and symptoms for diabetes may include: 
• Frequent urination 
• Excessive thirst 
• Unexplained weight loss 
• Extreme hunger 
• Sudden vision changes 
• Tingling or numbness in hands or feet 
• Feeling very tired much of the time 
• Very dry skin • Sores that are slow to heal 
• More infections than usual 

Some people with diabetes do not have any of these signs or symptoms. The only way to know if someone has diabetes is to have his/her doctor do a blood test. 

The three main types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. Diabetes can be developed at any age and affects both men and women. 
• Type 1 – In Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, which are the only cells in the body that make insulin. 
• Type 2 – Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition where cells do not use insulin properly. Gradually, the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin. 
• Gestational diabetes – Gestational diabetes results in glucose intolerance diagnosed during pregnancy. If not treated, it can cause problems for mothers and babies. 

Researchers are unsure how exactly to prevent Type 1 diabetes since it is mainly caused by genetics, but it is still important to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, prevention is critical. It is especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if a person is at increased risk of diabetes, for example, if a person is overweight or has a family history of the disease. Making a few simple changes in a person’s lifestyle may help him/her avoid serious health complications, such as nerve, kidney, and heart damage. Preventing or delaying Type 2 diabetes starts with eating healthier foods and being more physically active. It is recommended to lose a small amount of weight (5% to 7% of total body weight) through a well-balanced diet and 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. 

The CDC recommends that people age 45 and older get tested for diabetes. Those over age 45 with normal blood glucose levels, should continue to get tested every three years. Those under age 45, but at high risk of developing diabetes, should be tested more frequently. Some risk factors include obesity, family history of diabetes, hypertension, and diagnosis of gestational diabetes. 

If you are a Montgomery County resident, limited-income, and uninsured, you can contact Montgomery Cares Clinics to learn more about diabetes screenings. Please call Montgomery County’s non-emergency information line, MC311, at 240-777-0311. You can also contact the Asian American Health Initiative for more information at 240-777-4517 or info@AAHIinfo.org.

Friday, October 27, 2017

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, AAHI is proud to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
  • If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
  • If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.

Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.

Eligible low income, uninsured Montgomery County women can receive breast and cervical cancer screenings. These screenings include a yearly clinical breast exam and a free mammogram, and a cervical cancer screening exam including a pelvic exam and Pap test. Diagnosis, nursing case management and follow up care is provided as needed. The program helps link women to other community and state resources and provides cancer outreach and education.

  • To apply: Call 240-777-1750 or apply in person at the program offices, 2424 Reedie Drive, Suite 218, Wheaton, MD  20902.  
  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Women must be between 40 and 64 years of age
    • Montgomery County resident
    • Uninsured and have household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines.
    • Proof of income such as pay stubs and income tax returns.  

For more information, visit AAHI's Resource Library at http://aahiinfo.org/resources/resource-library/ and click on "Cancer Screening Guidelines".

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Recap: ECHO Workshop #14 "Maintaining Health and Financial Security as We Age"

On October 17th, AAHI, in partnership with the African American Health Program, the Latino Health Initiative, and the Community Action Agency, hosted our 14th Empowering Community Health Organizations (ECHO) Workshop! This workshop, "Maintaining Health and Financial Security as We Age", is the last of our three part series focusing on the needs, impacts, and opportunities of an aging community. A new series will begin in the spring of 2018.

Our ECHO Project is a series of professional and practical training workshops designed to build the capacity and sustainability of community organizations.

Prior to the workshop, attendees were able to visit our resource for information on various services and programs available for older residents.

The workshop was conducted in a panel discussion format and representatives from the Montgomery Department of Health and Human Services Aging and Disability Services, the Social Security Administration, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), and the Coalition for the Advancement of Financial Education (C.A.F.E. Montgomery MD) were invited to talk about the importance of planning ahead as we age and understanding the health and financial demands that may arise along with aging.

Over 70 attendees, representing close to 40 organizations, came to the workshop. Thank you to our wonderful panelists, Steering Committee, and staff for making this a successful event. We look forward to seeing you again in our spring 2018 ECHO Workshop!

Please click here to read the Workshop Summary (5MB) where you will find electronic version of the handouts from the workshop.
Please click on the image below to see more photos from the night!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Activity Recap: Guru Nanak Foundation of America Health Fair

On September 24, AAHI participated in the Guru Nanak Foundation of America (GNFA) Health Fair hosted by GNFA and American Diversity Group. Despite the heat, participants were very enthusiastic to come to our Resource Information table and to participate in the bone density screening. Our health promoters were able to provide outreach and education on topics such as hepatitis B, blood pressure, diabetes, and mental health. Thank you for having us, GNFA!

Click on the picture below for more photos from the health fair!