Posts Tagged hued

Understanding HIV and How to Get Tested

The Center for Disease and Control defines HIV  (human immunodeficiency virus) as a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, and if left untreated, it can develop into AIDS. Individuals contracting HIV can live a long life, and will the correct medication, they can avoid transferring the illness to others. HIV is not curable and is a lifetime illness so understanding the history and prevention is essential 

The outbreak of HIV started in the United States in the early 1980s, and it was found to be passed through sex, blood donation, and sharing needles. However, researchers found HIV and AIDs had originated in West-Central Africa in monkeys and jumped from primate to human through cuts and wounds before the 1980s. In the past, the fear of HIV lead to misinformation and the ostracizing of individuals such as those in the LGBTQA+ community. This has caused violence and a lack of resources in marginalized Black, Latinx, and LGBTQA+ communities.

Today information is readily available to show everyone can be impacted by HIV, and those who are sexually active should test frequently. Numerous campaigns and research studies touch on ending the stigma associated with HIV that lingers throughout the years. Testing for HIV can be done during STD and STI testing, and it is recommended annually. However, depending on your sexual activity with new partners or frequency, sharing needles twice a year or three times a year can also be done.

AIDSvu.org

The Center for Disease Control has a Get Tested database to help individuals find HIV testing sites in their community for low to no cost.  

The three types of HIV tests can be seen below:

  • Antibody tests to check for HIV antibodies in blood or oral fluid. 
  • Antigen/antibody tests can detect both HIV antibodies and HIV antigens in the blood.
  • NATs (very expensive and used for high-risk exposures)

Although we have medication and resources that can help individuals with HIV with low to no symptoms and flares, those resources are not readily available to everyone. In addition, marginalized Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and those within LGBTQA+ often live in communities that do not have adequate healthcare, insurance, or transportation. So the necessary medication and treatment that allow people to live longer lives with HIV are not readily available.

It is essential to ensure all communities have the necessary resources and information to have the required testing for HIV. Although anyone can be impacted, not everyone has the healthcare to navigate through HIV, which is a health disparity. Getting tested, advocating, and circulating accurate information is how we can stay informed about HIV. 

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

Site content is provided for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Mobile Apps for Mental Health

When it comes to technology and mental health, smartphone addiction and mobile applications like social media, are associated with negative mental health outcomes. Many researchers, however, see the potential for mobile applications to improve mental health outcomes and alleviate barriers to treatment. Mental health apps, or MHapps, are applications that can be downloaded onto mobile devices to address a multitude of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. This 500 million dollar industry is growing in popularity but not without its issues. While the Food and Drug Administration regulates a few apps that provide treatment and diagnosis, many MHapps aren’t regulated and don’t have guidelines for their development which can make users wary of their safety and effectiveness. There is, however, clinical research that shows that these apps are a useful tool to supplement in-person therapy, provide education, and teach healthy coping skills. There are currently an estimated 10,000 different MHapps available for download in various marketplaces. So how do you find a credible mental health app that works for you?

Experts say you should evaluate MHapps by 3 main criteria: credibility, privacy and data security, and engagement and design. Credibility refers to whether or not the MHapp will work. Many apps are informed by mental health research but very few have been evaluated with a clinical trial. In order to assess credibility, you should visit the apps website and investigate what research was done to develop or evaluate the app. When it comes to your privacy and data, it’s worth checking out the app’s privacy policy to see what will happen to any data or information you enter. Engagement and design refers to the user experience, or how easy, fun, or engaging, the app is to use. MHapps that are easy and fun to use are more likely to keep you engaged and provide better outcomes. Mind Apps and OneMind Psyberguide are organizations that evaluate MHapps on the basis of those three criteria and are useful websites for finding a mental health app that is safe, effective, and well suited to your needs.

Sources:

Bakker, D., Kazantzis, N., Rickwood, D., & Rickard, N. (2016). Mental Health Smartphone Apps: Review and Evidence-Based Recommendations for Future Developments. JMIR mental health, 3(1), e7. https://doi.org/10.2196/mental.4984

One Mind Psyberguide

https://mindapps.org/

Caron, C. (2022, April 13). How to Find a Mental Health App That Works for You. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/13/well/mind/mental-health-apps-therapy.html

Elhai, J. D., Dvorak, R. D., Levine, J. C., & Hall, B. J. (2017). Problematic smartphone use: A conceptual overview and systematic review of relations with anxiety and depression psychopathology. Journal of affective disorders, 207, 251–259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.08.030

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Yes You Are Brown and You Still Need Sunscreen

If we were to list the best way to take a selfie, I am sure one of the top requests would be in the natural sun. Unfortunately, the natural lighting combined with the sun’s glow gives melanated skin tones, making the Instagram feed a permanent post. 

The sun is nature’s best highlight, but it can also be our skin’s biggest enemy if we do not take the necessary steps to provide protection. Unfortunately, despite what we were told as melanated people, natural skin can only protect us for so long. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of skin aging is due to sun exposure. So one protector is that sunscreen needs to be used in the summer and throughout the year.

Sunscreen is often marketed in the summer because more Americans are prone to spend more time outdoors. However, a survey found that close to 60% of Americans do not mark summer by date but by the temperature rise. Regardless of temperature, sunscreen protects from the sun’s rays year-round. According to Yale Scientific, sunscreen works to block and absorb UV radiation by using both physical and chemical components.  

As melanated people, we need to actively prevent sunburn and be aware of what sunburn looks like on our skin—your risk of melanoma doubles after suffering from 5 or more sunburns. Research recommends sunscreen with SPF 30 and above every 90 minutes while outside. Sunscreen with hats, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing will be the most effective. 

Recently, more sunscreen products have been created to help melanated skin. As a child, you may have run into an issue if the sunscreen does not properly soak into your skin and potentially turn skin purple or leave a white residue. However, looking for a lightweight sunscreen that possibly doubles as a moisturizer will help not get that sunscreen overcast. 

Now is the time to start adding sunscreen or other UV ray blockers into your daily skincare and morning routine. Below are tips that can help:

  1. Look for skin products that have SPF already, including many face primers and moisturizers that double as SPF protection. 
  2. Keep sunscreen readily available if spending a day outside; a small tube in your bag or car can help throughout the day.
  3. Sunscreen alone cannot do it all. Be sure to wear sunglasses, hats, and clothing to protect from sun rays.
  4. After getting a sunburn, take measures to heal that skin area.
  5. Be sure to talk to a dermatologist to understand your skin and the needed SPF for your body.

Melanated skin deserves protection, and we no longer have to wonder about what sunburn looks like and feels like on our skin. Thanks to Vaseline x HUEDs database “See My Skin,” photos of different skin conditions such as cancer and eczema are available for review. See My Skin is a dermatologist-backed platform created, so those with melanated skin no longer have to wonder about their skin conditions.

Keeping your skin covered, sunscreen, hats, shades, and platforms like See My Skin are ways to ensure lasting healthy skin. Also, find a dermatologist who knows your skin needs under the directory at HUED. Summer is here, and so is sun safety.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Melanoma Detection and Skincare Advice

Skin health is important to prioritize year-round, but with May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to share vital information on Melanoma, prevention, early detection, and ways to seek help and proper care with a board-certified dermatologist.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that arises when melanin-pigment making cells (melanocytes) grow abnormally. This form of skin cancer is most common on the trunk and extremities but can also be found in hidden places like the scalp and bottom of the foot. Melanoma may arise within an existing mole or on a normal appearing area of the skin. They can rarely develop inside the body wherever melanocytes can be found, such as the back of the eye on the retina. 

Who is affected by it?

I want you to know that melanoma does not discriminate, and it may affect anyone regardless of their age or race. The average age of diagnosis is 65 but it may be found in younger people under 30. This type of skin cancer is 20 times more common in Caucasians versus in Black and Hispanic communities. However, many patients with skin of color tend to be diagnosed later when their melanoma may be more advanced. The risk of melanoma is greater in someone who has a history of multiple severe sunburns or tanning bed use and those with a first degree relative with a history of melanoma.

How dangerous is it and what are the signs?

Melanoma can be dangerous and life threatening when it is found later, which means it has gone deeper in the skin and possibly started to spread beyond the skin’s surface. Although it accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers diagnosed in the US, melanoma causes most deaths from skin cancer. What makes melanoma so dangerous is that it can spread to the lymph nodes and other organs inside the body. It is estimated that one person dies of melanoma every hour each day. 

A melanoma typically does not have any symptoms in the early stages, but if left untreated, it may grow and cause problems such as pain, bleeding, and ulcers. Signs of a melanoma can include an abnormal appearing mole or growth that has changed over time or a new lesion that doesn’t look like any of the other spots on the skin. I call this the “ugly duckling” sign. Although rare, some melanomas may look like warts or skin tags. 

Signs to help you detect a melanoma are called the ABC’s of melanoma which are:

  1. Asymmetry: one half doesn’t match the other half
  2. Border: edges are irregular or scalloped
  3. Color: more than one color per spot
  4. Diameter: larger than a pencil eraser
  5. Evolution: changes in color, shape or size over time

A normal mole should ideally be smaller than a pencil eraser with smooth edges and just one color. It should stay the same shape, size, and color over your lifetime. Melanomas don’t always follow these rules, so you should ask your doctor about it if you have a spot of concern.

How do you treat melanoma?

Most melanomas are cured by surgery where the site of the melanoma and a small margin of normal skin is excised, and then the skin is stitched together. However, if melanoma is thicker or has spread to other body sites, it may require additional treatments like removal of the lymph nodes, radiation, and chemotherapy. When melanomas are more advanced dermatologists may partner with other physicians such as a surgical oncologist, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist. 

How do you prevent melanoma?

Melanoma prevention starts with sun protection. Ultraviolet exposure from the sun and radiation from tanning beds are the leading causes of damage that lead to melanoma. Therefore, it is very important to reduce the risk of sunburn and getting a tan when you are outdoors for extended periods of time.

Melanoma prevention tips:

  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater on exposed areas like the face, neck, and ears daily. 
  • Avoid the use of devices that emit harmful rays like gel nail curing devices and tanning beds. 
  • Apply sunscreen to the body 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and remember to reapply after 2 hours or after sweating or toweling off your skin. 
  • Wear a hat and sun protective clothing with special sun blocking fabric.
  • Have an annual skin cancer screening with a board-certified. 
  • Do a monthly self-skin exam to look for new or changing spots. 

I hope you find this information as part of your skin health journey. As an additional step of prevention and general care for your skin, I recommend booking a visit with a dermatologist in your area using Vaseline x HUED’s database HERE

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Protect Your Bones: The Importance of Good Posture

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Good Posture” is all in the position of your spine and holding your body. Our dynamic posture refers to how we keep our body when we are moving, and static posture is how our body is maintained when we are stationary. Therefore, we must practice good posture throughout our day to ensure the longevity of our neck and back.

Below are daily body practices we can do to improve our posture!

  • Take breaks: Especially if your job requires you to be sitting for long periods.
  • Body scan: Make sure there is no tension in your body. Scan and drop your shoulders, relax the neck, and unclench your jaw.
  • Supportive Shoes: Be mindful of the shoes you are wearing, and be sure to switch out to newer shoes at least two times a year. Make sure your shoes have a strong sole and correctly cover your feet.
  • Keep moving: A light workout daily will keep your body moving, so there is no stiffness!
  • Height matters: Make sure your work location is at a comfortable height.
  • No slouching! We know it feels good at the moment but trusts us, you are back will thank you later.
  • When lifting and carrying heavy items, be sure to lift correctly (from knees and not back) to avoid serious injury. 

Our posture is essential to numerous aspects of our health and quality of life. Be sure to speak to your provider about oral health and the best ways for you to maintain the perfect posture.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Listen, Learn, Advocate an Interview with Sydney Bassard

Tell us why you decided to become a speech pathologist?

Sydney:

I specialize in deaf and hard-of-hearing children and those with reading disorders and dyslexia. I moved into the space by accident and chance. I originally started my college career wanting to be a pharmacist and was dead set on being a pharmacist until I took organic chemistry two! It did not align with my mental and was just not my thing, and I quickly realized that was not going to work.

My younger brother is dyslexic, and I ended up getting a job that summer at a reading center and loved the work that I did, but I knew that I didn’t want to stay confined to just working for that company. So I switched my major, got a BS in Public Health at the University of South Carolina, and transitioned to earning my Master’s in Speech Pathology.

Do you feel that there is a lack of knowledge regarding the general public understanding of what a speech and language pathology does?

Sydney:

Absolutely! So what many people don’t know is that speech pathologists cover the gamut from birth to end-of-life care. We can work with babies that are little when they are first born, especially those in the NICU who have difficulty feeding and swallowing.

An SLP can assist as children start to get a little bit older, and we’re noticing that they might be delayed in their language skills and can help. Even in school settings, once we start entering into that social communication, still building on those language skills, we assist and support kids there. When looking into that adult population, post-stroke, people are starting to have some cognitive memory difficulties and some challenges with swallowing, and feeding SLPs can help support.

When we look at being evaluated, people often emphasize children, and we tend to see that it realms within that school age. We can support kids earlier on., but sometimes people don’t know about services. They’re not aware, or they have been told to wait and see. So then we don’t get in and get them evaluated until that school-age milestone. And then they fall behind. And parents are saying, why didn’t we know that an SLP could have been helping us sooner?

When it comes to adults, many SLPs experience going into the room. The person says, “I don’t need you; I speak just fine,” not fully understanding that we can address language and memory deficits. We can help address those two, or they cannot eat their favorite meal safely right now, and we want to work on strategies to make that possible again.

It is estimated that 5% to 10% of Americans have some form of delay or difficulty with speech. Do you feel a lack of knowledge of services and stigma creates emotional tension and even people lashing out?

Sydney:

Yes, so what we have to acknowledge is that at some point, it might be a disability that the person is working with, you know, like having a language disorder or a speech impairment, there are many emotions attached. The feelings come from the stigma associated with it; many times, people who have had challenges in the past are deemed more minor, called names, or they’re pointed out and made so apparent versus it being more acceptable.

It is okay that you need extra assistance. It is okay that you need to see somebody to work on these things. There is nothing wrong with you because you need additional services. Statistically, every person on this earth has something to navigate.

It may not be speech and language, but it could be their fine motor skills. Someone may need to see an occupational therapist or find support in how they are walking. We don’t have to sit there and focus though so much on the deficit, but focus on where are we trying to get? Where is our ultimate goal? What are we trying to establish? What are we trying to work on? And that is our goal and what is driving our car, boat, and ship. Can we ignore the noise? Because there will always be people who want to shame and find problems with the way we do things.

Within marginalized communities, it is more complex because there is so much stigma surrounding special education services and disabilities. Even if it’s not coming from the child or the adult client themselves, but from their family members or friends. It is challenging, and we have to meet the whole person and the whole unit to make our spaces open, to address some of those things, because otherwise, we are not going to see the progress that we’re wanting or expecting.

Do you feel like we are seeing enough marginalized people of color stepping into the offices to get these services?

Sydney:

I’ve worked in a couple of different settings; I worked in a hospital setting right out of grad school. I saw much delay in services, even delay getting the referral to begin getting services. It usually is not that the families or individuals are unaware that they need extra support. But when they go to their service providers, they might initially be told, “just wait, we can check on this later.” Sometimes, it does come from the families. They are not necessarily addressing it right away because of that stigma.

That’s one of the reasons I started the Listening S L P, and for people that have been around from day one, it started for students and for grad students to find support. Especially grad students of color, but then quickly shifted once I realized that people don’t have access to the information.

We have barriers, gatekeepers, and people that are not sharing all of the information freely. We are not giving the whole buffet. We are just giving bits and pieces from the menu, which is not acceptable or okay in healthcare. We have to give people all their available options, and then we let them choose.

We guide them by giving them complete transparency with information. When we look at children from majority groups, they’re getting these diagnoses in kindergarten for second grade versus marginalized groups not getting these diagnoses until the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Some go their whole lives and are not getting these diagnoses, but they are getting a label. They are getting labeled as behavioral and non-compliant disruptive, which are the same behaviors in the adult population. We see adults who might not be as receptive, using the professionals’ strategies, getting the labels. They’re combative, and they are not following doctors’ orders. It is the same situation. Because as healthcare professionals, we are not stepping back and acknowledging the expertise that this person has for their own life and their own lived experience. Instead of shifting gears and finding what will meet their needs, we are trying to force our knowledge down their throat. Something that’s not palatable to them.

So how can an adult do a scan to evaluate if an SLP is needed, and how can a parent or a caregiver assess if it is time for their Child to work with an SLP?

Sydney:

When thinking about adults, look for difficulty with memory—so remembering things that you used to be able to do, following directions, really those global things. I would call and ask your doctor and say, do you think I might benefit because an SLP can further assess and see cognitively. SLPs work with voice too, but if you start seeing your vocal quality change in any capacity, generally, you’ll want to see an E N T or an ear, nose, and throat doctor to make sure that nothing is going on that’s being missed.

It looks slightly different with the adult population because you generally need to go to see your primary care or a specialist before you get to an S L P. With kids a little bit different. From birth to three range, we consider early intervention or preventative. You can self-refer to early intervention, and each state has its early intervention program.

One option is to go through the local school with Child Find. The organization’s job is to find children who might need support in services. And so you would put it in writing that you’re requesting an evaluation, and then they would take you through the process per that state. Another option you always have is to do private, and sometimes there are private practices that accept insurance. So if your child doesn’t qualify for school services, private practitioners might have criteria because schools do have eligibility criteria.

What does listen, learn and advocate, mean to you? When did you come up with that approach, and what does it genuinely mean within this work to listen, learn and advocate?

Sydney:

I started my business in April of 2021. So I had my business name, The Listening S L P. I came up with those three essential words because I have to listen to the people in front of me to appreciate what they need me to bring to the table entirely. Because it does no good if I’m not actively listening to their actual problems, you learn from everybody. Each person is an individual; people are not monoliths. I am advocating because we should not be seeing people forever in any therapeutic service. We should be figuring out how to give clients the tools to navigate their life.

What would be your call to action regarding the provider side and diversity?

Sydney:

If we look at percentages that have been published about the demographics of speech pathologists, it is a 92% white female field. The other 8% are marginalized groups.

I love that people from marginalized groups are getting more comfortable obtaining services, not feeling ashamed, and taking the stigma out on their kids. But then they’re encountering these providers that don’t know how to serve them, or they don’t feel connected to them, and they are disconnected. So we have to get more people in the field to help the increases we’re seeing. I think one way is knowing that there are others of us out there who want to enter the area.

From the schooling aspect, do not discourage people from getting a degree. I’ve heard so many people say, you know, I was told I wasn’t going to make it in a master’s program, or I wasn’t cut out to do this. What needs to happen is on the academic side; we have to figure out how we can meet the needs of these students and realize that their needs might look very different from the specific needs of someone pursuing their master’s in speech or language pathology.

The Listening SLP

Sydney Bassard

www.thelisteningslp.com

[email protected]

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If someone’s interested in services, please fill out the contact form on my website, under free consult.

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The Stress that Triggers Stroke and Self-Care

According to the American Stroke Association, Stroke is the leading cause of disability and ranks number 5 as the cause of death in America. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines stroke as a blockage stopping blood from carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. In addition, stress has been a leading cause of death on the rise and impacts individuals younger and younger.

One stressor that too many deal with is stress due to employment studies continuously showing a link between job stress and risk for stroke. In jobs that are high demand but low control, individual increases their risk of stress by 22% compared to those who work in more controlled environments. 

The stress of a job also ties into financial stress; with 2 in 3 American families being one missed paycheck from homelessness, the need to keep a job is critical. Navigating childcare is another stressor, and one study found most believe Women are to be the primary caregiver.

In 2019, 9.8 million mothers reported feeling burnout trying to balance being a parent and life. The stress of navigating life has become documented that burnout is no longer a simple phrase. Burnout is now categorized by the World Health Organization under its list of International Classified diseases.

With the rise of stress, the certainty of rising stroke could happen much faster than we think. For these reasons self-care is essential, and not only the fun stuff like getting your hair done but the hard stuff like saying No! 

Ways to Reduce Stress and Self-care 

  1. Set a schedule. Get that planner you were eyeing and plan your day-to-day for less stress.
  2. Delegate tasks and set boundaries with work. You do not have to answer that email at 8:37 pm.
  3. Turn your phone off or on; do not disturb more throughout the day. 
  4. It is okay to ask for help! 
  5. Reconnect with the hobbies and joys outside of work and financial gain.
  6. Reconnect with nature! A good walk or Vitamin D can boost the mood.

Protecting your mental peace and stress levels is a priority and should not be taken lightly. If overworking and not resting keeps happening, it will result in a stroke. Be sure to speak to your provider about your stress levels and assist with forming a plan to mitigate stress levels.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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The Health Disparities Blocking Our Care (Part 1)

According to the CDC, Health Disparities are “defined as preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.” 

The rise of Black maternal mortality and the constant dismissiveness of childhood abuse as a health issue are examples of health disparities in the medical system.  These disparities are categorized by a lack of sustainable resources in marginalized communities, such as access to healthy food and clean water.  Below is an illustration from the Kaiser Family Foundation that gives an in-depth overview of what is defined as a health disparity.

Kaiser Family Foundation 

Community identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are often a crossfire of health disparities. As illustrated below, marginalized communities of color continue to have a gap between their white counterparts in car

Kaiser Family Foundation

The questions become how can we make ourselves aware of the disparities in our system, and how can we advocate for our individual and collective health? 

The answer is to listen and learn from the research about the medical implications of health disparities and look back at the social oppressions and their impact. 

Economic Stability 

  • The wage gap in marginalized communities of color and lack of employment benefits can prevent individuals from having adequate insurance to navigate healthcare.
  • The rise in debt does not allow for the financial freedom to offer other healthcare options.

Neighbors and Physical Environment 

  • Community redlining can impact the quality of providers that are within the community.
  • Lack of transportation impacts the ability to get healthy food and proper healthcare.

Education 

  • Lack of childhood educational opportunities and healthy after-school care.
  • Lack of information about health in both childhood and adulthood.

Food

  • Lack of food can create an unhealthy relationship with food and makes no room for healthy eating.
  • In marginalized communities of color, corner stores and bodegas are the centers for food and medication.

Community, Safety, and Context 

  • Community is public health, and lack of community engagement can lead to isolation and further cause a decline in mental health.
  • The lack of healthcare professionals researching the issues that impact the community creates a decline in community building.

Health Care System

  • The lack of culturally respectful and competent healthcare providers doesn’t allow for the healthy patient and provider relationships.
  • Lack of making language barriers more accessible.

These disparities are ingrained oppressions in our communities! It is not enough to just be a “good doctor.” It takes an active understanding of the world many marginalized people of color navigate. We challenge providers to dive deeper into the communities around them and issues impacting others in the US and globally. We also empower patients to ask the hard questions and continue learning about the needs of their body and their community.

In addition, during the summer of 2022, HUED will be launching its E-learning pilot course centering on cultural competency. This program will equip care seekers and providers with the information needed to understand how these health detriments impact us individually and as a community.  

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO and subscribe to our newsletter. 

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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A Closer Look at Men’s Eating Habits

When we think of body positivity and body dysmorphia, we often focus on how that impacts women. However, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), about one in three people struggling with an eating disorder is male. Yet even the research on how eating disorders impact men is not in-depth, the conversation on eating disorders and body image has historically focused on White women and girls. 

An estimated 10 million boys and men in the United States will experience an eating disorder. However, these are only the numbers reported due to medical diagnosis and do not account for those who have yet to seek medical care. 

Body dysmorphia due to social media is often shown to impact women and girls, but men are also affected. Body dysmorphia is defined as the obsessive focus on perceived defects in one’s body. Regardless of the changes, someone makes, they mentally only see the perceived “defects” in the mirror. Videos and images of male bodybuilders on social media and even the fantasy of superheroes have been linked to the increase of eating disorders in men.

Men, especially athletes, are more prone to develop an eating disorder known as Binge eating. This is where someone consumes a large amount of food in one setting that develops into an uncontrollable impulse only to consume food at one time. Binge eating is normalized when playing sports that involve bulking up, leanness, or weight classes, such as wrestling or powerlifting. 

This has led studies to expand the definition of eating disorders, resulting in “subclinical eating disorders” that are more prevalent among men. According to research, “patients who are not in treatment for an eating disorder do not show all clinical aspects of anorexia or bulimia as described in the DSM. Nonetheless, individuals considered to have subclinical eating disorders demonstrate patterns of disturbance in body image and self-perception that are pathological. (Am J Psychiatry. 2001)” 

One study looked at male lightweight rowers and wrestlers and found that 52% engaged in binge eating while 11% were in the subclinical eating disorders. So that means over 60% of athletes were navigating an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are a rapidly growing problem among male athletes, and without addressing the social narratives that hinder proper diagnosis, we are missing the mark with good male health. Two of the main issues that impede adequate diagnosis are:

  1. Eating disorders are categorized as feminine, and males feel they will be considered “feminine” for seeking resources.
  2. Resources as assessments often have language geared towards women and girls.

Understanding eating disorders are not gender-specific; anyone can develop an unhealthy eating habit that can lead to an eating disorder. Even as an athlete, it is crucial to prioritize your health over the sport or job, which may push past society’s regular narratives. Coaches and recruiters also need to be aware of the signs of eating disorders and bring up the proper resources.

Eating Disorders look like this:

  • Excessive exercise patterns (exercise every day, even in inclement weather).
  • They avoid social settings with food.
  • They are hiding food in their room.
  • Constantly commenting or preoccupied with their weight.
  • The rapid change in weight (both loss and gain)

Finding a healthcare provider to properly diagnose you are a step toward forming healthy eating habits. Men being kept out of the conversation is harmful to their health and continues to stigmatize eating disorders. We must encourage men, especially those who are athletes, to put their health first, which will allow for a higher quality of life.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Staying Safe and Having Fun In the Pandemic

Spring is here, and summer is peeking out over the horizon! It is time for spring break, warm weather, vacations, and any excuse you can come up with to clock out early. First, however, we must not forget that we are dealing with a global pandemic. It has been over two years since the start of Covid-19, and the CDC warns of new variants surging.

Frontliners in the pandemic acknowledge the mental toll referred to as “Pandemic Fatigue” of keeping a distance or being aware for over two years. Being mindful is how we can stop the spread and slow the infection rate and mutation of Covid-19. Two significant ways to stop the spread are getting routine tests. Learning more about the covid vaccine is another way to help protect yourself and others fronting the virus. 

The good news is we can all still find fun and adventure in the pandemic, and forming connections does not have to be put on the back burner. Below are some ideas and health practices that can help to protect you and your loved ones from Covid-19 while also enjoying the season.

Steps to Ensure Individual and Community Health

  • Who doesn’t brunch? Try to prioritize eating outside, and you can take cuter pictures out.
  • Washing your hands is always best! But make sure to carry a small bottle of sanitizer or wipes when you go out just in case. 
  • Test Test Test
    • Test when going to and returning from significant events and trips 
    • Test if you work around a lot of people every other week
    • Request free tests (here), and local pharmacies have take-home tests you should use for emergencies.
  • Research is your friend! Look up the covid numbers of where you are traveling too. This can help you be more prepared.
  • Wear your mask in crowded places! Although mandates are lifted in areas, they are still helpful.
  • We know weekend plans can get packed but try not to go from to event without proper testing.

Activities In the Pandemic:

  • Eating outside at a restaurant or trying packing a meal for the park.
  • Outside workout classes! 
  • Day trips.
  • Grab some friends and enjoy a beach day
  • Drive-in Theatres have become more popular since the pandemic!

The balance between responsibility and fun can take preparation, but it is worth it when it involves protecting our health. So grab your friends and your mask and enjoy the warm weather. Don’t forget to take those covid tests.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO and subscribe to our newsletter. 

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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What Your Eyes Are Telling You

If you are skipping your annual eye appointments, you might want to reconsider and “see” what your eyes are trying to tell you.

Our eyes are responsible for four-fiths of our brain’s information, so making sure they are healthy is imperative to our quality of life and brain function. Here are steps to invest in your eye health and see the future crystal clear. 

Step One:

Age is not the only factor that can impact eye health! Take the necessary steps to understand the illnesses that can affect your eyes. Below are examples of what can impact your eyes.

Step Two:

Learn the necessary vitamins and minerals that your food needs! For example, your eyes require vitamins such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. Below are some foods backed with those nutrients.

  • Salmon 
  • Tuna
  • Nuts 
  • Leafy Greens
  • Beans 

Step Three:

Protect your eyes at all costs and in all situations. For example, when you are outside, and you feel those squints coming as you try to look up at the sun, do not just disregard them but be prepared. Below are tips on protective eyewear and its utilization.

  • Sunglasses: Just like sunscreen, you can wear sunglasses all year round! If you have worn glasses, consider transition lenses which will help with not remembering glasses.
  • Protective Eye Wear: If you use heavy machinery or chemicals. The last thing you need is an emergency room visit.
  • Blue Light Glasses: If you do not have blue light in your glasses! Blue light helps to protect your eyes against the rays from your computer, phone, and other electronic devices. In addition, those who work at the desk staring at the screen will save your vision for later in life.

Lastly, visit your doctors annually to stay up to date with eye exams and update your family history. Please utilize the HUED directory if you do not have an eye doctor or need a new one. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, so let’s make sure they are healthy.

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What You Need to Know About Alopecia

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines Alopecia Areata as a disease when the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss. While hair patches form on any part of the body, alopecia areata usually affects the head and face. The impact of alopecia areata is not only the physical of losing hair but often the emotional and mental impact of feeling a loss. This condition can significantly impact women of color, especially when our hair is a massive conversation in our identity and beauty.

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease which means the body mistakenly starts attacking itself, and in this case, it is attacking the hair follicles. This condition impacts men and women equally across racial and ethnic groups. The progression of it typically starts with the sudden loss of round and oval patches that start forming on the scalp. The patches can either produce white or gray hair within the next few months or, in rare cases, no hair forms, which is Alopecia Universalis. 

The Three Types of Alopecia are as follows:

  • Patchy Alopecia Areata. In this type, which is the most common, hair loss happens in one or more coin-sized patches on the scalp or other body parts.
  • Alopecia Totalis. People with this type lose all or nearly all of the hair on their scalp.
  • Alopecia Universalis. (Rare), complete or almost complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and rest of the body.

Alopecia can also arise as an impact of specific illnesses such as Cancer. Because of this, researchers believe that the onset of alopecia is both genetic and environmental.

Experiencing alopecia later in life can pose challenges when we have already lived with the way we look with our hair. Now, going through both the physical and emotional process of letting go of something part of our lives.  

Below we have some tips to help with the navigation of living with alopecia:

  1. If you have alopecia, use sunscreen on your head and face or put SPF products into your regimen.
  2. Wear sunglasses if your alopecia impacts your eyelashes and eyebrows.
  3. Seek professional mental health counseling. Moments of depression and anxiety might arise, and seeking a professional could be beneficial.
  4. Find a provider who can understand both the physical and psychological impact! Find a provider at the HUED directory.
  5. Start experimenting with colors, wigs, and accessories! You are beautiful, and this is a moment to find new forms of self-expression. 
  6. Remember, you are beautiful.

Suddenly being diagnosed with alopecia can be a journey, but we want you to know you are worthy of proper care and experience self-expression.

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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