A Heads Up on Health Observances
Every day on my way to work the announcer on my favorite radio station makes sure to mention that it is national something or other day. For example, last Sunday was National Paper Clip Day and this coming Friday is National Donut Day.
I don’t care about celebrating paper clips or crullers, but I do see value in days, weeks, and months devoted to recognizing health conditions. These campaigns are not only educational; they may also help provide resources for people who need them and create a sense of community for the person who is affected and for their friends and family.
In June, we celebrate National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. June is also Aphasia, Cataract, Migraine and Headache, and PTSD Awareness Month. It may be just a coincidence that all of these conditions affect people from the neck up, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share a few facts about each:
Alzheimer’s – Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 6 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older.
Aphasia - Aphasia is an impairment of language. It affects speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to brain injury; most commonly from stroke but also from injury due to head trauma, brain tumors, or infections. It currently affects about 1 million people in the United States.
Cataracts - A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye. More than half of all Americans age 80 or older either have cataracts or have had surgery to get rid of cataracts.
Migraines – Migraine headaches impact some forty million people in the United States, one billion people across the globe, and are recognized as the #2 cause of disability worldwide. Approximately 400,000 Americans experience cluster headaches, recognized as one of the most painful diseases a person can have.
PTSD - PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It occurs in people after they have experienced a particularly traumatic event like war, violent physical/sexual/verbal assault, accidents, and so forth. The National Center for PTSD states that around 7–8% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetimes.
Awareness days, weeks, and months shine a light on something you might not otherwise know about, and may inspire you to get involved. By volunteering you can help someone else, and you might also notice a positive change in your own physical and mental health.
You can find a complete list of National Health Observances at https://health.gov/news/category/national-health-observances.