Give yourself the gift of health

heart-805551_640By Tamera Manzanares

Some of the best gifts don’t gleam from shop windows, catalogs and websites. Taking an active role in our own health – making good lifestyle choices and taking steps to prevent illness or injury – is one of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves and those we care about. Here are just a few suggestions for your self-health gift list in 2017.

Establish your medical home. This is your home base for essential medical care – where you go when you are sick, need a physical or health screening or have health concerns. Patients at our clinics are always seen by the same provider team. Your care will include behavioral health support and dental care, if needed. We can also help you get health insurance, connect you to resources to help pay for prescriptions and health services and arrange any specialty care. Having a medical home can make you more confident in seeking healthcare and improve your chances for good health in the future. To make an appointment at our clinic, call 970-879-1632.

Schedule your well woman visit. Catching signs of breast cancer or cervical cancer early improves chances for survival. Women should begin Pap tests at age 21 and have yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. Woman 40 or older with limited or no health insurance may qualify for free breast and cervical cancer screenings. Learn more about all of our women’s health services.

Make an appointment for a free cardiovascular and diabetes screening. Screenings include blood pressure check, blood glucose check, cholesterol panel, BMI and information about how to prevent heart disease and diabetes based on your risk. If you know you are at risk for diabetes, sign up for our Healthy Lifestyle classes. Learn how to make realistic, achievable goals around nutrition, exercise and stress management to prevent or delay diabetes and complications. Weekly classes begin Jan. 11 in Steamboat Springs and Jan. 10 in Craig. To make an appointment for a screening or learn more about the class call 970- 871-7618.

Sign up for Weigh and Win. Weigh and Win is a free community program that rewards individuals for losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Participants can earn cash and other prizes and receive regular health tips via text or email. Sign up and weigh in at the kiosk in our lobby. Learn more about the program.

Join an Aging Well exercise class. Get fit and enjoy the company of other older adults at classes in Steamboat Springs and South Routt County. Gentle, intermediate and advanced classes help improve strength, balance and flexibility so seniors can stay mobile and avoid injuries. There is a suggested donation of $3 per class. See a full schedule of classes or call 970-871-7676.

Prepare for an emergency. Wildfires, floods and other large scale emergencies can happen. Taking the time to consider possible emergencies ahead of time, making a plan and having supplies ready can help prevent a panic situation and better ensure your family’s safety if something does happen. Sign up for CodeRed emergency notifications and learn more about what to include in your family go kit.

Give back. Many organizations contribute to health and wellness in our communities. Consider donating to or giving your time to those you value most. We are able to provide care to all individuals who need us because of the continued generosity of donors and dedicated volunteers. Many of our volunteers tell us they believe they benefit from their experience as much as the people they are helping. Donate to Northwest Colorado Health or learn more about volunteering.

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