Playing the Lottery with Your Health

It seems everyone is abuzz today with hopes of hitting it big. With a record $550 million (or more) Powerball payout, lottery fever is reaching a peak in 42 states across the country. While we all know our chances of winning are slim, lottery officials expect hourly ticket sales today to top $6 million an hour. In fact, jackpots of this size tend to bring in new players, who do not regularly buy lottery tickets. Today is a day most people, it appears, are willing to gamble. We may think we don’t gamble on a regular basis, but when it comes to your health, can you say the same?

Don’t Exercise - Despite numerous studies on the benefits of exercise to help ward off disease, depression and keep our immune systems strong, did you know 40 percent of Americans don’t exercise at all? Even walking 10 minutes a day has heart health benefits, yet many of us don’t bother to partake in one of the most beneficial measures to prevent major health issues. How often do you let exercise slide, thinking it won’t catch up with you?

Skip Regular Screenings – Are you current with recommended screenings for your age and gender? Colorectal Cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. for both men and women, yet only 50 percent of Americans who should have a colonoscopy have had one.  However, the majority of colorectal cancer cases can be prevented and treated with proper screening. The same can be said of prostate cancer. We are currently nearing the end of Movember, the month of November in which men grow a mustache to raise awareness and money for men’s cancer health, prevention and screening. 

Women are willing to take similar gambles. According to a 2010 study, half of insured women skipped their annual mammogram.  With current statistics finding 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer some time in their life, skipping regular screenings for breast cancer is a gamble women should not be willing to take.

Smoke – Earlier this month the American Cancer Society hosted the 37th Great American Smokeout, a day dedicated to encouraging smokers to quit or make a plan to quit. Tobacco use, according to the American Cancer Society, is “the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.” However, recent data shows that the numbers of smokers kicking the habit has remained flat from 2010 to 2011.

Ignore the Warning Signs – From chest pain, to loss of hair, and sudden fatigue, do you brush off important warning signs of your health?  Our bodies are trying to communicate with us when disease and illness strike. Make sure you know what to look for and when to talk with your doctor. Here are warning signs you should never ignore.

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