What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma Causes

Glaucoma is a condition characterized by damage to the eye’s optic nerve. Glaucoma causes vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting over 60 million people. Understanding what causes glaucoma can help you recognize the signs and get early treatment. It’s why January has been designated as Glaucoma Awareness Month.

What Are the Symptoms That Glaucoma Causes?

Early detection is key to preventing vision loss from glaucoma. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you get treatment in California before damage occurs. Symptoms of glaucoma may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Eye pain, redness, or irritation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Adjusting to dim lighting

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs when fluid pressure builds up in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. That happens because of a breakdown in the drainage system that allows fluid to escape from the eye. The increased pressure can cause vision loss, and if left untreated, it can lead to severe damage and permanent blindness.

Several factors can contribute to the buildup of pressure in the eye, including:

  • Genetics – A family history of glaucoma increases your risk.
  • Age – Glaucoma is more common in people over 55.
  • Medical Issues – Conditions such as diabetes, sickle cell anemia, or high blood pressure can increase your risk.
  • Eye Injuries – Trauma to the eye can damage the drainage system, leading to glaucoma.
  • Race – African Americans and Hispanics are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Medications – Some medications, such as corticosteroid medicines, can increase your risk for glaucoma.
  • Other Diseases or Disorders – Diseases such as thyroid disease or degenerative retinal diseases can increase your risk.

An Eye Exam Is the Best Way to Diagnose Glaucoma

Understanding what symptoms glaucoma causes and taking steps to reduce your risk is important. Regular eye exams are one of the best ways to detect glaucoma early and get treatment. Early diagnosis can help you keep your vision and prevent the loss of sight. For more health information and advice, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Facts about Thyroid Disease

thyroid disease

Thyroid disease is one of the most common endocrine disorders, affecting an estimated 20 million people in the United States alone. It occurs when the thyroid gland, located at the base of your neck, fails to produce enough hormones or produces too much. As a result, it can affect your metabolism, energy levels, and overall health.

To help spread awareness of the condition, The American Thyroid Association (ATA) designated January as Thyroid Awareness Month. With that in mind, the following are some of the things you should know about Thyroid disease:

5 Things You Should Know About Thyroid Disease

Although many people have heard about the condition, few clearly understand what it is and how it can affect individuals. Here are five key facts about the disease.

  1. Thyroid disorders can affect anyone: Thyroid disorders can affect people of all ages, genders, and races. It is estimated that about 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid disorder in their life.
  2. There are several types of thyroid disorders: The two most prevalent kinds of thyroid disorders include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, while hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid produces too many hormones.
  3. Thyroid disorders cause various symptoms: Symptoms vary based on the type of disorder. For instance, hypothyroidism can extreme fatigue, forgetfulness, depression, and weight gain. Hyperthyroidism can cause nervousness, irritability, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, problems with sleep, vision issues, and eye irritation.
  4. Many people don’t realize they have a thyroid disorder: It’s estimated that around 60 percent of people with a thyroid disorder are undiagnosed.
  5. Women are more prone to thyroid disorders: Women are between five and eight times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. Additionally, it’s estimated that one in eight women will develop a thyroid problem in their lifetime.

Early diagnosis and treatment are key

If you’re experiencing symptoms of Thyroid disease, then be sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician in California right away. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner you can begin treatment. For more health information and advice, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Preventing Birth Defects: 4 Facts

preventing birth defects

Birth defects refer to physical, mental, or emotional conditions present at birth that can cause lifelong physical or intellectual developmental disabilities. Some of the most common of these disabilities include Down syndrome, spina bifida, cleft lip/palate, and heart defects.

Although many of these defects occur as a result of genetic or environmental factors beyond an individual’s control, there are things you can do when it comes to preventing birth defects.  As such, January was designated National Birth Defects Prevention Month to help spread awareness about birth defects and how to prevent them.

4 Facts About Preventing Birth Defects

Understanding the following facts about birth defects can not only help you realize how big of a risk they are, but what you can do when it comes to preventing birth defects:

  1. Babies are born with birth defects more often than you might realize. It’s estimated that around 120,000 babies are born in the U.S. every year with some kind of disability.
  2. A baby is born with a major defect every 4 and a half minutes in the U.S. That means that roughly 1 out of every 33 babies that are born in the U.S. have a defect.
  3. A lack of folic acid during pregnancy can increase the risk of defects such as spina bifida or anencephaly. Folic acid is a vitamin found in many foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fortified grains and is required by the body to form red blood cells and for tissue growth.
  4. Drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of birth defects. It’s estimated that 10 percent of pregnant women have had alcohol in the past 30 days, thereby increasing their risk of giving birth to a baby with a defect. By making simple lifestyle changes and following your doctor’s advice, you can significantly reduce the risk of birth defects.

Prevent Defects at Birth By Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Pregnant women in California should be sure to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, and to add folic acid to their diets to help with preventing birth defects. For more health advice, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

How to Test Your Home for Radon

Test Your Home for Radon

Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas occurring naturally in the environment. It can seep into homes through cracks in floors, walls, and foundations. Although it’s normal to have some radon in your California home, it can be dangerous if present at high levels. That’s why it’s so important to test your home for radon.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to test their homes for radon, much less about the potential dangers of radon, which is why January is National Radon Action Month.

The Dangers of Radon Exposure

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, claiming more than 21,000 lives each year. Those who smoke are even more at risk if they live in a home with elevated radon levels. It’s worth noting that the average level of radon found indoors is 1.3 picocuries per liter, about four times what’s found outdoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any level of more than 4.0 picocuries per liter of air is considered a health hazard.

Information on How To Test Your Home For Radon

Testing your home for radon is the only way to know if you have a radon problem. One way to test the levels of radon in your home is to hire a professional tester. You can find a qualified tester by:

  • Contacting the California state radon office.
  • Contacting a private radon proficiency program for certified testers in your area.

Another option is to purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit. Short-term tests can last anywhere from two days to seven days. They work by using activated charcoal to absorb the radon particles in your air so they can be measured. Long-term tests last more than 90 days and will give you a better idea of your home’s average radon level over time. 

Once you complete the test, you’ll need to send it out to an approved laboratory to receive the results.

Test Your California Home for Radon

Ensure the safety and health of your home by testing your home for radon. For more safety awareness advice and information, visit The Benefits Store today.

6 Tips for Dealing With Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress

The holidays are known for being a stressful period. In fact, it’s estimated that around 88% of Americans believe that the holidays are the most stressful time of the year. There are countless reasons for this: the stress of buying presents for everyone, hosting large get-togethers, dealing with family members, and the increased financial burden that the season brings. This stress can cause anxiety, headaches, irritability, sadness, sleep deprivation, and more.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to manage holiday stress so that you can enjoy the holiday season with family and friends in California. 

How To Manage Holiday Stress

The following are some simple tips to help you reduce your stress and feel better during the holidays:

  1. Take time for yourself. Make sure to take time for yourself to relax and unwind. This could simply mean taking a few minutes to read, take a hot bath, or go for a walk. Having some time to yourself is especially important when dealing with family stress.
  2. Set reasonable expectations. Don’t expect the holidays to be perfect. Try to let go of unrealistic expectations and focus on enjoying the season for what it is.
  3. Plan ahead. Start planning early for holiday meals, parties, and gifts. Planning ahead will help to reduce last-minute stress and help you to stay organized.
  4. Be realistic with finances. It’s easy to get carried away during the holidays. Create a budget and stick to it as best as you can. Don’t overextend yourself.
  5. Exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Even if it’s just a few minutes of yoga or a walk around the block, it can help to reduce your stress levels.
  6. Seek support. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Talking to a therapist or seeking support from friends and family can make a huge difference.

By following these six tips, you can manage holiday stress and truly enjoy this special time of year. For more tips and advice on dealing with the holiday season or managing stress in general, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.