Posts Tagged health equity

Get Youth Moving!

With summer coming to a close in the upcoming weeks, we must not shut the door to keep our bodies moving. According to WHO, more than 80% of school-aged adolescents (11-17 years of age) did not meet the recommended one-hour physical activity. The data from this study was released in 2019, before the Covid-19 global pandemic, in which physical activity drastically declined across the board. Therefore, as we prepare for the last few weeks of summer, it is essential to create a daily plan. Below is an infographic by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Keep the Youth Moving:

  1. Try and limit screen-time in the morning and evening to encourage the mind and body to the center.
  2. WATER! Make sure kids are hydrated. Dehydration, as we know, can cause many health conditions and a lack of focus.
  3. You are leading by example! Yes, moving your body through walking, running, dance, or a circuit workout when not only help you but may inspire the kids around you too. Besides, who knows, it may even turn into a fun bonding activity.

Below is an infographic depicting how we can achieve 60 minutes of physical activity with our youth. This graph provided for a research study Start Active, Stay Active, illustrates that these moments of physical activity can be spread throughout the day.

Getting the body moving has a positive impact on both our physical health and even mental health. We encourage everyone to keep this body movement up throughout the day and the seasons! With school quickly approaching, we tend to go back inside but encouraging physical activity, even inside, will help our youth in the long run.

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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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Chef It Up at Home: Tips For Eating In

With inflation impacting our daily necessities such as food, many people have turned back to eating at home. Prices for individual items such as eggs, milk, and bread have also risen but we have more control over our food if we make it ourselves. Below are some healthy reminders for our seasoned and beginner chefs by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Health Safety In the Kitchen:

  • Wash Your Hands: Yes, just like in the restaurant bathrooms, all cooking personnel should have clean hands before handling food. Even while at home, we need to wash our hands.
  • Clean your groceries: Cleaning groceries is an excellent way to not only rid the germs of other patrons’ germs but of lingering pesticides. 
  • Separate Utensils: Cross-contamination can happen at home. Be sure not to use the same utensil on multiple products. For example, the knife you cut the raw chicken with should not be used to cut the cucumbers for a salad.
  • Know Your Temperature: A quick search online or in a book on what temperature to cook raw items is essential. Serving a raw item is not only inconvenient, but it can make someone sick.
  • Clean Up: Clean up the kitchen! Disinfect and wipe everything down to avoid cross-contamination later. Example: You used eggs that splattered and did not properly clean, and someone started chopping an apple in the same spot. This can make someone sick, especially if people have allergies to specific items.

Following these steps while cooking will ensure a healthy experience, and below, we have an infographic provided by the Food Safety and Inspection Service from the USDA. Cooking food at the wrong temperature can be detrimental to our health.

Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

Now, what should you be cooking? Well, that depends on your daily life and physical activity. The standard image of the “healthy plate” can be found below:

Harvard University, Healthy Plate.

This image shows that grains and protein are each ¼ of the plate, and fruits and vegetables combined are ½ of the plate. Again, this is an estimated infographic of our daily nutirion. Still, one should do their research and speak to a healthcare professional on what is the necessary breakdown for their health.

After you get the necessary information about your healthy plate, we can move on to the recipes! Cookbooks and digital recipes are available and can help hone in on some creativity in the kitchen. Spice it up by trying new recipes and ingredients and making it fun for yourself, and engaging family members and friends. 

Remember being healthy and being creative go hand and hand, we may have to eat at home, but that does not mean we leave the flavor outside.

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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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Understanding Hepatitis: The Inflammation of the Liver

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Hepatitis is defined as liver inflammation. It has five viruses: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis D and E are not as common in the US, but the breakdown of these five viral virus categories is as follows:

The Immunization Action Coalition broke down the causes, symptoms, and treatment of HAV, HBV, and HCV.

What are the types of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis A (HAV):

It is transmitted through fecal-oral transmission from an infected person or contaminated shellfish. Research shows Hepatitis HAV accounts for around 25% of cases, and about 85 percent of people with hepatitis recover within three to six months.

Hepatitis B (HBV)

It is transmitted through blood and certain body fluids. Having sex with an unprotected person, sharing needles, and from mother to baby at birth are ways HBV can pass. Research states that when an individual is first infected, it is called an acute infection; after six, it is called a chronic infection. 

Hepatitis C (HCV)

It is transmitted through blood and body fluids through sharing needles with an infected person, sharp objects, or from mother to baby at birth. Research states when individuals are infected, they may not experience any symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Although the infection transmission is different across the forms of Hepatitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms are as follows below:

  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Lightly colored stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea 

What are treatments and prevention measures?

Hepatitis A (HAV):

Vaccinations are one of the best prevention measures and are available for 12-23 months and are open for 2-18 years. In addition, there are treatments to support the easing of the symptoms.

Hepatitis B (HBV)

Vaccinations are open for all infants and all people 19 and younger. Vaccinations are also available for individuals who are sexually active and are at risk of being infected. Although no medication is available, an individual can monitor the signs of liver disease progression, and anti-viral drugs are available. 

Hepatitis C (HCV)

No vaccines are available for Hepatitis C. Current treatment of chronic hepatitis C involves 8-12 weeks of oral pills.

Early intervention is always crucial, and speaking to a healthcare provider about your needs is recommended. Please visit the HUED directory to find a provider that can help.

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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Centering the Margins in Mental Health: Platforms You Should Follow

During July, we bring awareness to the mental health in BIPOC and marginalized communities of color. One research study points out how structural racism impacts the mental health of marginalized people of color. Dealing with institutional opproppressiona daily basis has an impact on marginalized communities’ mental health and our navigation of the world and resources. 

Not having resources readily available is another reason many mental illnesses go undiagnosed in communities of marginalized people of color. Below are statistics that outline why we need to center BIPOC and marginalized communities of color in mental health:

  • Adult Black/African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report severe psychological distress than adult whites.
  • 18.9% of Hispanic students in grades 9th–12th considered suicide, and 11.3% had attempted suicide. 
  • 10.8% of Asian American high school students say having attempted suicide as compared to 6.2% of white students. 
  • Less than 2% of mental health providers are Black.
  • Language differences between patients and providers, the stigma of mental illness in communities of color, and cultural presentation of symptoms can contribute to misdiagnoses.
  • Black children and adolescents who died by suicide were more likely than White youths to have experienced a crisis during the two weeks before they died.
  • American Indians/Alaskan Natives report higher post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol dependence rates than any other ethnic or racial group.

The research continues to show how underserved our communities are, and for that, we have suffered. However, over the last few years, the rise of social media has allowed many mental health professionals and organizations to share resources for free, which has been an asset to many people. Here we have compiled a list of different platforms that give helpful information and resources online:

  1. Therapy For Black Girls
  2. Latinx Therapists Network
  3. NAMI
  4. Indigenous Circle of Wellness
  5. Nedra Glover Tawwab
  6. So’oh-Shinálí Sister Project
  7. Dr. Jennifer Mullan

Although none of these platforms absolve the need for a licensed therapist that can be seen regularly, it can help. Finding a therapist and getting daily overarching advice from a licensed professional. If someone requires a licensed therapist, please visit the HUED directory and search for a therapist in your area. Mental health is important, and we need more readily available resources to help the communities most impacted to have collective mental wellness.

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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5 Stress Reliever Foods You Need In Your Kitchen

It goes without saying that life can get hectic, so we compiled a list of foods to help with stress relief. Yes, stress relief, if we remember in our previous article #HustleCulture Booked & Busy But What about Rest? We touched on the rising risk of stroke in young adults due to sleep deprivation and stress.

Making sure the foods you keep in your pantry provide you with the necessary nutrients is essential to keeping your stress levels low. Below is a list of 5 food items you should incorporate into your meals.

Banana: Bananas are a good source of dopamine, and one serving can give you 23% of the daily potassium you need. They also contain over 40% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6, making them a vitamin-friendly and stress-reducing gold mind! 

Yogurt: Most know that yogurt has natural probiotics that are good for the digestive system but did you know that it also helps with stress relief? The process of fermentation milk allows “good” bacteria to rise in yogurt.  Research is finding much stress causing hormones to rest in the gut, so eating foods that balance gut health are needed in our book!

Oatmeal: Oatmeal, one of the go-to breakfast items, is also on the list for stress-relieving foods. The high magnesium content helps satisfy hunger which allows high levels of serotonin to flow through the body.  

Dark Chocolate: We were happy to see chocolate on stress-relieving foods. Yes, dark chocolate is an item you do not have to take out of your kitchen. Instead, tell them HUED said to keep it because it has been proven a mood booster. One study observed high anxiety patients and found that 40g of daily serving over two weeks had a noticeable impact on their mood and gut health.

Tea: It is tea time! Tea is a beverage that is a proven stress reliever. Over six weeks, such as black and green teas have been proven to help reduce cardiovascular issues. Depression and anxiety are linked to cardiovascular problems positively impacted by team consumption.

Also, take this moment to contact your primary care provider (or find one) to set up an appointment to discuss more stress-relieving foods. Finally, look at the HUED directory that connects Black, Latinx, and Indigenous patients with culturally humble medical providers.

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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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.

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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Roe vs. Wade Was Overturned and What to Do Next

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court released its decision to overturn the federal protection of Roe v. Wade and allow states to set individual precedents. States have already set up trigger laws that immediately impact abortion accessibility for conditions, such as Arkansas and Louisiana. Centers and clinics had to cancel future appointments, which had significant emotional and mental effects on those working at clinics and patients.

Over the past few days, we have seen an outpour of political leaders, businesses, celebrities, and medical professionals sharing how this decision attacks healthcare. Below is an image to illustrate the 26 states that are certain or likely to have an abortion ban according to the Guttmacher Institute:

These bans include:
• Trigger bans
• 6-week bans
• 8-week bans
• Near-total bans

Many states plan not to give exceptions for sexual assault, incest, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy, which will lead to trauma and death. States leaning towards a near-total ban are even looking to take legal action against anyone who gets an abortion and those that assist (i.e., driving someone to the clinic). This decision attacks healthcare and will further create health disparities for marginalized Black, Latinx, and Indigenous individuals. Especially when the Supreme Court is looking to overturn laws that give access to contraceptives such as IUDs and Plan B.

Organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Plan C, and the Digital Defense Fund ensure we have the necessary information to access abortions and stay undetected by law enforcement. Below is an infographic that includes tips on how to keep hidden when looking for an abortion.

These tips include:
• Turning off location
• Deleting period tracking apps
• Clearing browser history
• Use Firefox focus instead of the default browser

For those looking to have a better understanding of their state’s new abortion laws and to access and donate to clinics, follow the links below:
• Understand access in your state
• Donate to abortion funds
• Independent Support Clinics
• Learn more and buy Abortion Pills
• Plan B: Learn more at Planned Parenthood

For decades we have been able to access abortions and contraceptives, and now the rights of millions are being taken. The following steps are to learn what is happening in your state, share as much information as possible, and vote. During this time, it is also important to rest and recenter as this decision can be overwhelming and disheartening for many.
Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO
Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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What is Vitiligo? Cause, Frequency, and treatment for patients – a guide on treatment and expert tips by a dermatologist

Vitiligo is a common skin condition where areas of skin tend to lose their color (or depigment) due to the destruction of the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes). Any skin area can become affected, but the most common areas include the face (including the eyes, nose, and mouth), hands, elbows, knees, ankles, and groin, as well as areas of injury or friction. In addition, many skin disorders can lead to pigment changes on the skin. A board-certified dermatologist can help diagnose vitiligo in the office through a physical examination, history taking, and tools such as a Wood’s lamp.

What causes vitiligo to occur?

While the exact cause of vitiligo has been debated, we know that multiple environmental and genetic factors can play a role in the condition. Vitiligo is considered an autoimmune skin disorder, which means the body’s immune system destroys melanocytes. In addition, some people have an increased risk of autoimmune thyroid diseases that can lead to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Who does vitiligo affect?

Vitiligo affects all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Because the condition creates areas of deep pigmentation, this can appear more prominent on those with darker skin and can be challenging to identify in those with lighter skin. Some forms of vitiligo are more common in African descent. While the condition may start rapidly in some and it can vary person-to-person.

What are skin care considerations for those with vitiligo?

The importance of sun protection in those with vitiligo cannot be overstated. Using a broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher sunscreen can limit sunburn risk, especially in depigmented areas that are most vulnerable. Sunscreen also has an additional role in preventing natural skin tanning, which, if it occurs, can make areas of vitiligo more prominent in appearance. Other sun protective behaviors are essential, such as avoiding peak hours of sun exposure, avoiding tanning beds, wearing a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sun protective clothing, and seeking shade. 

What are the treatment options for those with vitiligo?

The most crucial step in treatment is obtaining the correct diagnosis with a board-certified dermatologist. With treatment, many patients can experience stabilizing their pigment loss and better quality of life. Once stable, therapies are available to assist in repigmenting the skin; however, results can be variable. Medical therapy using topical anti-inflammatory creams (such as topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors), light therapy, and oral/injectable medications can help decrease the condition’s impact. Emerging surgical options also exist to treat the condition. In advanced cases, depigmentation may be offered by your physician. Cosmetic camouflage products are available at all stages if those affected desire coverage. It’s essential to understand all the available treatment options and work closely with your physician to choose a treatment plan that is best for you.

  1. Alikhan A, Felsten LM, Daly M, Petronic-Rosic V. Vitiligo: a comprehensive overview Part I. Introduction, epidemiology, quality of life, diagnosis, differential diagnosis, associations, histopathology, etiology, and work-up. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2011;65(3):473-91.
  2. Grimes PE. Vitiligo. In: Taylor S, Kelly AP, Lim H, Serrano AM. Taylor and Kelly’s Dermatology for Skin of Color. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2016.
  3. Felsten LM, Alikhan A, Petronic-Rosic V. Vitiligo: a comprehensive overview Part II: treatment options and approach to treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2011;65(3):493-514.

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Identifying Alzheimer’s and the Importance of Asking for Help

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.” Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of dementia, and it impacts people around 65 years of age and older. Alzheimer’s impacts memory skills, communication, and ability to carry out is estimated to set in years before when symptoms develop. 

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming to navigate especially if you are caring for a loved one. Below are the top ten signs of Alzheimer’s outlined by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Top Symptoms:

  1. Memory loss hinders your day-to-day activities and daily life.
  2. Cant problem solve and can experience troubles with numbers.
  3. Trouble completing and remembering daily tasks (i.e., morning routine).
  4. Losing track of dates. 
  5. Trouble conceptualizing illustrations.
  6. Trouble with conversations.
  7. Misplacing everyday items.
  8. Poor judgment. 
  9. Withdrawing from activities and social settings. 
  10. Mood can become more suspicious, anxious, and depressed. 

If any of these conditions start to rise, it is essential to talk to a medical professional immediately. Alzheimer’s can impact an individual an estimated 10 years before any of the above conditions surfacing. Some can confuse these symptoms with aging, but being aware of the impacted day-to-day activities is key. Alzheimer’s can be divided into mild, moderate, and severe care, with the highest level needing assistance with living and care.

At this time, Alzheimer’s does not have a cure, but some practices can help manage the condition and keep the individual safe and comfortable. Below is a list of daily routines that can help with both the physical and mental strain of Alzheimer’s from the National Institute of Aging.

Tips for Caring For Alzheimers:

  1. Create a daily routine. Something that takes a few steps and is repetitive.
  2. Try using music and dance as a calming and soothing tools.
  3. Encourage and affirm that you are there to help them.
  4. Try not to argue or internalize the frustration.
  5. If possible, provide space for them to walk.

Bringing in a healthcare professional can be beneficial to both the individual with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver. In severe cases, someone may experience spurts of anger and hallucinations, which can make working with them frustrating and overwhelming. In addition, talking to a professional about assisted living programs can be beneficial to alleviate some of the caretaking off of family and friends.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can require constant learning and navigation. However, with research and professional assistance, one can not take on the heavy load of managing alone.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

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

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Our History With Sickle Cell: Why We Have It and How to Navigate

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited red blood cell disorder in which the red blood cells have a C-sharp called a “Sickle” and become hard and sticky. The shape of the blood cells can create clogs and stop blood flow, and they die early, which causes a shortage of red blood cells in the body, according to research.

According to the American Society of Hematology, about 8 to 10 percent of African-Americans have an inherited sickle cell trait. The Sickle Cell trait is more prevalent in African-Americans than in any other group due to our ancestral need for different blood cells. One research study, Malaria and Early African Development: Evidence from the Sickle Cell Trait, found sickle cell shows our connection to our African ancestors since those with sickle cell disease are less impacted by malaria. Another study found that African-Americans will sickle cell have more of a genetic connection to those from the Yoruban, Mandenka, and Bantu populations.

There are different forms of sickle cell disease, depending on parents’ genetically inherited codes. The more common types are HbSS, HbSC, and HbS beta thalassemia. These codes are determined at birth with abnormal hemoglobin.

According to the CDC, the diagnosis of sickle cell can be made while the baby is still in the womb or during a newborn baby’s routine bloodwork. The earlier sickle cell diagnosis, the sooner families can understand the impact and symptoms and navigate treatment and proper medical care. Those with sickle cell can experience the following:

Sickle Cell complications:

  • Acute Chest Syndrome Includes cough, chest pain, and symptoms that can mirror pneumonia.
  • Anemia: Not enough red blood cells can cause fatigue, irritability, and delayed puberty.
  • Kidney Problems: Bedwetting, blood in urine, and high blood pressure.
  • Organ damage: Irregular heartbeat, swelling of hands and feet, yellowing the skin, organ failure.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension: Lightheaded, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty breathing.

Knowing what can happen will help manage a sickle cell crisis that can cause throbbing, stabbing, or severe pain. Below are ways that researchers believe can lower the odds of a crisis.

  • Stay hydrated 
  • Avoid cold weather and swimming in cold water 
  • Manage stress 
  • Limit smoking and alcohol 
  • Keep up with other health concerns and medical appointments. 

Having a medical provider and support team that can help advocate for good care and support in the needed way is essential. Navigating sickle cell can be overwhelming when physical pain and mental stress start weighing on an individual. We encourage everyone to look into the HUED directory if a medical provider is needed and get a formal sickle cell diagnosis as soon as possible.  

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

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

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What’s Your Type? Why You Need to Know Your Blood Type

In recent years dozens of vitamin and news stations have done public surveys and found that at least 1 in 3 of their American survey pool does not know their blood type. Although individual blood type should be kept top of mind, many only find out when it is for a medical emergency or blood transfusion. So before you even continue reading, let this be the sign to talk to your doctor about your blood type.

Now, let us move into why you need to know your blood type and the different blood types. Below is a graph that explains the different blood types and which blood types are a match if blood is needed.

Four blood types: O, A, B, AB

O- Blood Type: Can receive O- (Can give to Everyone)

O+ Blood Type: Can receive O- and +O (Can give to O+, A+, B+, AB)

A- Blood Type: Can receive A-, O- (Can give A+, A-, AB+, AB-)

A+ Blood Type: Can receive A+, A-, O+, O- (Can give A+, AB+)

B- Blood Type: Can receive B-, O- (Can give B+, B-, AB+, AB-)

B+ Blood Type: Can receive B+, B-, O+, O- (Can give B+, AB+)

AB- Blood Type: Can receive A-, B-, AB-, O- (Can give AB+, AB-)

AB+ Blood Type: Can receive Everyone (Can give AB+)

When it comes to donating blood, knowing your blood type can be helpful in knowing who can receive your blood. Knowing your blood type and your immediate family can be life-saving if an emergency happens and a transfusion is needed. Knowing your blood type can also help when it comes to monitoring certain diseases that may be higher for certain blood types. For example, one study by the Harvard School of Public Health study found that heart disease may be linked to certain blood types such as A, B, and AB. Understanding your blood type is necessary to understanding your overall health and something that should be asked at your next appointment.

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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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Understanding PTSD and Book Recommendations For Your Mental Health

According to research by the National Center for PTSD, 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year, and this number is a small portion of those who received an official diagnosis. The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as a disorder that develops in some people after a shocking, dangerous, or traumatic event. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the chronic long-term effect of an incident and many times happens in conjunction with depression and anxiety. Below is a list of symptoms by the Stay Safe Foundation and more information on the causes of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD:

  • Involuntary and intrusive distressing memories can include flashbacks of the trauma, bad dreams, and intrusive thoughts.
  • Avoidance can include staying away from specific places or objects that are reminders of the traumatic event. For example, a person might actively avoid a place or person that might activate overwhelming symptoms.
  • Cognitive and mood symptoms can include trouble recalling the event and negative thoughts about oneself. 
  • Arousal symptoms, such as hypervigilance. Examples might include being intensely startled by stimuli that resemble the trauma, trouble sleeping, or outbursts of anger.

According to the National Center for PTSD, about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, “women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.” Specific populations also can experience more trauma leading to PTSD, such as individuals who serve in our military.

Seeking a mental health professional for a diagnosis and care plan is one of the best ways to navigate living with PTSD. However, navigating managing PTSD and healing by reading and researching while seeing a professional is a great approach. Below are five books that center on mental health and PTSD that are very informative and can help dive deeper into your mental health.

  1. The Body is Not an Apology 

By: Sonya Renee Taylor

The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world–for us all.

  1. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in Healing of Trauma 

By: Bessel van der Kolk M.D. 

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. In addition, he explores innovative treatments—from neuro-feedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. dan Der Kolk’s research and other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

  1. Set Boundaries Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself

By: Nedra Glover Tawwab 

Healthy boundaries. We all know we should have them to achieve work/life balance, cope with toxic people, and enjoy rewarding relationships with partners, friends, and family. But what do “healthy boundaries” really mean–and how can we successfully express our needs, say “no,” and be assertive without offending others?

Licensed counselor, sought-after relationship expert, and one of the most influential therapists on Instagram, Nedra Glover Tawwab, demystifies this complex topic for today’s world. In a relatable and inclusive tone, Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. 

  1. The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help you Deserve

By: Dr. Rheeda Walker, Forward by: Na’im Akbar

We can’t deny it any longer: there is a Black mental health crisis in our world today. Black people die at disproportionately high rates due to chronic illness, suffer from poverty, under-education, and the effects of racism. This book is an exploration of Black mental health in today’s world, the forces that have undermined mental health progress for African Americans, and what needs to happen for African Americans to heal psychological distress, find community, and undo years of stigma and marginalization to access adequate mental health care.

  1. What Happened to You: A Conversation on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing 

By: Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

Here, Winfrey shares stories from her past, understanding through experience the vulnerability of facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversation throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves. It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it allows us to understand our pasts to clear a path to our future—opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.

These books, of course, are not a substitute for professional help, but they can aid in understanding your mental health on your own. If you or someone you know needs professional help for their mental health, please visit the HUED directory to find a professional in your area.

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

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