September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

If you see red ribbons popping up, it’s because September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month — and for good reason. Every 3 minutes, someone in the United States learns they have a blood cancer.

Blood cancers are a complex and diverse group of diseases that affect millions of individuals worldwide. These cancers originate in the blood-forming tissues, such as the bone marrow, and can disrupt the normal functioning of the circulatory and immune systems. While advances in treatment have led to improved outcomes and longer lifespans for many patients, it is crucial to acknowledge that more than a third of individuals diagnosed with blood cancer still face a challenging prognosis, with fewer than five years to live.

Signs and Symptoms of Blood Cancer

Blood cancers can manifest with a wide range of symptoms, and these symptoms often depend on the type and stage of the cancer. Generally, blood cancers can be categorized into leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, each with its own unique set of signs and symptoms.

  1. Leukemia – is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood. Common symptoms of leukemia may include:
    • Fever
    • Lethargy
    • Paleness and shortness of breath
    • Increased bruising and bleeding
  2. Lymphoma – Lymphomas originate in the lymphatic system, a crucial part of the immune systems. Symptoms of lymphoma may include:
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Fever and night sweats
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Fatigue
  3. Myeloma – Myeloma primarily affects plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies. While some individuals may not show symptoms, others may experience symptoms such as:
    • Bone pain
    • Weakness, fatigue, and paleness
    • Frequent bacterial infections

Recommended Screenings and Prevention

Unlike some other types of cancer, there are no routine screening guidelines for blood cancers. However, regular wellness check-ups that include routine blood testing, such as a complete blood count (CBC), can help detect some blood cancers.

While there is no surefire way to completely prevent blood cancer, several lifestyle choices can reduce your risk:

  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Maintain a healthy diet
  3. Get regular exercise

It is also essential to discuss your risk factors with a healthcare provider if you have:

  • A personal or family history – If you or a family member have been diagnosed with blood cancer, your risk may be higher
  • Previous radiation or chemotherapy – Past cancer treatments may increase the risk of developing secondary blood cancers
  • High exposure to radiation – Occupational or environmental exposure to radiation may be a risk factor

Blood cancers are complex diseases that can present with a wide range of symptoms. Early detection and awareness of these symptoms are vital for improving treatment outcomes and increasing the chances of survival. While there are no established screening methods, regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can contribute to reducing the risk of blood cancer. If you experience any of the described symptoms or have risk factors, do not hesitate to reach out to your NOAH provider.

Stepping up to 4,000: The Path to a Healthier You!

For decades the phrase of “10,000 steps a day” has echoed through the world of fitness and health. It has been the gold standard, a universal goal for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. But what if we told you that you can achieve significant health benefits with just 4,000 steps a day? Recent research suggests that you don’t need to aim for the sky-high 10,000 steps to reap the rewards of walking.


The idea of walking 10,000 steps daily was originally created as part of a clever marketing campaign ahead of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A pedometer, known as the “manpo-kei” or the “10,000 steps meter,” was introduced to the public. Its name was based on the Japanese character for 10,000, which resembles a person walking. Over time, this concept expanded across borders and became the standard fitness goal for many around the world. 

Japanese character for 10,000, which resembles a person walking.

However, a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology challenges the long-held idea that 10,000 steps are necessary to live a healthy life.

The study explored the health benefits of walking up to 20,000 steps a day. Surprisingly, the study found that around 4,000 steps per day were associated with a “significant” reduction in the risk of early death. However, the most significant impact on health occurred when people walked over 7,000 steps a day, with the maximum benefits observed at around 20,000 steps.

So, if the idea of achieving 10,000 steps a day feels overwhelming, rest assured that you can make a difference in your health with just 4,000 steps. Remember, the most important aspect is not hitting a specific number, but trying to stay active. Walking is a simple, yet powerful way to invest in your health, and the evidence suggests that every step counts towards a longer and healthier life. 

Take the first step towards a healthier you and schedule an appointment with your NOAH provider today. 

National Youth Suicide Prevention Week

Did you know suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24? Youth suicide statistics cannot be ignored as they have greatly increased over the last decade. Ten teenagers out of 100,000 decide to commit suicide. Females attempt suicide at a rate of nearly 3-times that of males. However, males die by suicide at a rate of nearly 3-times that of females. Suicide prevention is a critical health topic for young people in the U.S.

Who is at high risk for suicide?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (also known as ACES) can include neglect, abuse, experiencing violence, substance abuse, divorce, incarceration of a family member, or poverty. Experiencing ACES has been shown to negatively affect physical and mental health over time and can occur across generations. This is particularly troublesome for youth who have had limited access to healthcare. Youth who have one or more ACES are at higher risk for suicide. Populations at a higher risk of experiencing ACES include minority groups, low socio-economic groups, and LGBT groups. Native Americans and Alaskan Indians have the highest rates of suicide by ethnic group.

What are the warning signs?

It is not always possible to recognize the warning signs in those thinking about suicide. Some common signs to watch for include: 

  • Talking or writing about death
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • Increased drug/alcohol use
  • Giving away personal possessions
  • Engaging in self-harming behaviors
  • Participating in dangerous activities
  • Significant change in mood or behavior

How to support someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts:

  1. Talk with them about their suicidal thoughts as it can help them process their emotions. 
  2. Try to acknowledge their feelings, fears, sadness, or pain.
  3. Provide reassurance but do not dismiss the problem. You may ask if they are thinking about hurting themselves or taking their own life, and if they have a plan.
  4. Be sure the person does not have access to any lethal weapons or medications and immediately inform adults or caregivers. 
  5. Try to avoid panicking or offering too much advice. 
  6. Provide contact information for the crisis line(s) and assist them to call if necessary. 

Professionals like the counselors or psychiatrists at NOAH are great resources for ongoing support and safety planning.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, reach out to one of the following resources for help:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call, text, or chat: 988
  • Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741
  • Maricopa County Crisis Line: 800-631-1314
  • Teen Life Line: Call or text 602-248-TEEN (8336)

Should I Enroll in Counseling? By Andres Jaramillo, LPC

Whether it’s on television, in the movies, or on social media, only ‘certain people’ are seen meeting with a mental health professional. This has led many to think that you have to experience some kind of crisis, be on the edge of a breakdown, or feel like “a crazy person,” to get yourself into counseling but that isn’t always the case. Counseling is not just for those extreme cases. In fact, meeting with a counselor regularly can help develop good mental health habits. Reaching out for help does not have to be a last resort. One of the best ways to maintain your mental health is to find a professional provider that specializes in areas you would benefit from. The question of whether or not you should enroll in counseling is a decision based on how you are feeling at the moment. What signs should you pay attention to that might encourage you to make that call and schedule an appointment with a counselor?

Here are five common signs that might help you decide if you should enroll in counseling.

  1. Feeling “not yourself.” We all have times where our mood is “off,” and we turn to things that help us feel better but when we begin to think, “this isn’t like me,” you may need to take a closer look. Sometimes we feel sad, angry or annoyed with things that happen but when it gets to a point where you conclude that this is out of your ordinary, it could be something more than just everyday emotions.
  2. You can’t do the things you like to do. Having hobbies or activities that you love to do can be a great way to balance your mental health, but it is important to look for signs that the way you are feeling is making it difficult or impossible to do them anymore. Again, if it is unlike you and you find it more and more difficult to get out, have fun or be social then you should reach out to get screened or assessed for possible mental health concerns.
  3. Using drugs, alcohol, food or sex to feel better. Just like having hobbies that can help us feel better, sometimes we engage in unhealthy habits to do the same thing and that is never a good idea. If you find yourself using drugs, alcohol, food or sex to feel better, have the desire to cut back, or it is impacting your daily life then beginning counseling could be helpful to make sure you reduce the long term negative effects.
  4. You’ve lost someone or something important to you. Perhaps your family or culture has certain rituals, traditions or expectations when it comes to the death of a loved one. Human beings adapt very well and sometimes your natural support system are all you need to get through loss, but other times, it could be a good idea to reach out for counseling for support with adjusting to the unexpected change. Remember, loss isn’t just about death. It could be a separation or break up, moving, or losing your job.
  5. Something traumatic has happened. Trauma can be any event that you thought was awful, scary or threatening like an accident, injury, sudden death, abuse, violence, and/or a natural disaster. Experiencing events like these are linked to a higher risk of substance use, chronic health problems, and mental health disorders like depression or anxiety. The sooner you reach out for help to get through events like these the better you will be, but remember it is never too late.

If you are experiencing any of these signs, our expert counseling team at NOAH is here to help. The most important thing to remember is that counseling is for anyone. At NOAH we are trying to stop the stigma that counseling is only for severe situations. Talking to a mental health professional regularly is like going to the gym for your mind. Having someone that you trust, that has professional exerience, and is there for you when you need them is a great feeling. Once you go to counseling a few times, you may begin to notice a positive difference in your mood or even a desire to do the things you once used to love to do.

As always, if you, or anyone has thoughts or feelings of wanting to hurt themselves please reach out as quickly as you can. Remember, through reaching out for help you are just taking care of your mental health, and taking care of your mental health is just as essential as taking care of your physical health. Call 480-882-4545 to schedule an appointment with a NOAH provider today.

Call or text 988 if you are in distress. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 and is free to anyone experiencing crisis.

Helpful Tips to Celebrate Healthy Aging Month

Let’s face it, we are all aging. So, how do we age gracefully? How do we mindfully incorporate wellness into our lives so that as we age, we do so healthfully? Well, for starters, let’s kick the month of September off by celebrating Healthy Aging Month. Let’s accept the fact that yes, it’s going to happen, we will age, and we will become the best version of ourselves by incorporating daily habits like exercise, eating foods that are beneficial to our overall health, and getting enough sleep. 

The keywords here are routine, mindfulness, and wellness. The next step is to try some helpful tips that are easy enough to remember and adapt to your current lifestyle.


Daily physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health, especially as you age. It can prevent and delay various health-related illnesses like diabetes, stroke, or heart disease. The Centers for Disease and Control recommend some exercise is better than none. I recommend focusing on these 4 types of exercise daily: stretching, balance, muscle building with weights, walking and/or running.


As we age, eating healthy foods can improve our overall well-being. Limiting sugar and processed carbohydrates can positively impact the way we feel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture – USDA, notes that proper nutrition may decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease. As we age, our nutritional needs may change. It is recommended that individuals over the age of 60 follow these guidelines:

  • Limit foods that contain processed sugar, saturated fats, and high levels of sodium.
  • Increase your daily protein totals by choosing foods that come from various sources like legumes, white fish, and chicken. Low-sugar, low-carb protein shakes, and protein waters are also good alternatives to help ensure you are consuming enough protein per day.
  • Consume nutrients your body depends on, including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and B12. A good multivitamin can be beneficial in addition to eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fiber is also very important to consume and can help move food through your digestive tract.
  • Drink water first thing in the morning. There are varying concepts on how much water is needed per day. A good rule of thumb is to take your total weight and divide it in half. That number is the amount of water your body may need per day in order to stay hydrated. Other drink options may include low or fat-free milk, including lactose-free, soy, oat, and almond beverages. Limit or omit entirely beverages that contain sodium and sugars.
  • Eat from all 5 food groups. Learn how much to eat and find out how many calories you need each day to help you maintain energy using the MyPlate Plan.

When it’s time to enjoy a meal or snack, try not to sit on the couch in front of the television. Instead, practice mindfulness. Sit at the table, eat your protein and/or veggies first, then eat your carbohydrates. Chew each bite well and enjoy the flavors and aromas. This will help your body properly digest your food and it will help you stay full longer.


Researchers estimate that between 40-70% of older adults have chronic sleep issues. Chronic sleep problems can significantly interfere with other adults’ daily activities and reduce their quality of life. There are several sleep issues that are especially common in older adults.

  • Pain
  • Nighttime Urination
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Sleep apnea

By developing proper sleep hygiene habits, we may improve our overall quality of sleep. Start in the bedroom by creating an environment that is comfortable and free of disruptions. Follow a daily routine that consists of:

  • Sticking to a fixed wake-up time and bedtime.
  • If a nap is needed, try to take them earlier in the day limit the time.
  • Follow a nightly routine that helps your body know when it’s time for bed.

It’s easy to get caught up with life and develop less beneficial habits. When that happens, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Healthy Aging Month is a gentle reminder that we can’t help others until we help ourselves. The importance of following a healthy lifestyle ensures we age comfortably and confidently. Give these tips a try and mindfully build a new wellness routine that works best for you.

For more wellness and health tips, schedule an appointment with your NOAH provider today.

Students Get a Healthy Start to the New School Year

In an effort to support the health and wellbeing of our communities, our Cholla and Palomino Health Centers proudly hosted back-to-school events, offering free sports physicals and well-child checks. Held on July 29 and August 5, both clinics witnessed an impressive turnout, with over 700 attendees. 

The events aimed to ensure that children are physically prepared for the upcoming school year, offering comprehensive medical services that included well-child checks, dental screenings, sports physicals, and vaccine administration.

While supplies lasted, family resource kits, Skechers shoe vouchers, and backpacks were available for families to take. Each family resource kit included an original NOAH storybook, crayons, stick characters, dental supplies, dental educations, parental/caregiver resource information, and more. 

For a full breakdown of the events, check out the video below!

Palomino Health Center – July 29

Cholla Health Center – August 5

Hydration Tips From Our Nutrition Experts

There are many ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and that includes staying hydrated. Our experts share why hydration is so important to healthy living, how much water should be consumed daily, and the many ways to hydrate your body.

Why is water important?

  • Keeps body temperatures normal.
  • Improve brain function and mood.
  • Prevents constipation.
  • Gets rid of waste from the body in urine, sweat, and the digestive track.
  • Lubricates joints and protects your spinal cord and other tissues.

How much should you drink?

That’s not as simple of a question as it sounds. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is 3.7 liters (125 oz.) for adult men and 2.7 liters (93 oz.) for adult women. All beverages (even coffee and tea) count as fluids, and plenty of foods are good sources of fluids, like fruits, vegetables, and soups. The common wisdom of 8 cups of water a day (64 oz.) is great place to start!

When do you need more water?

In general, you need more water when you lose more water by sweating or by your digestive track.

  • During hotter months
  • More physically active
  • Running a fever
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting

How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough?

You may have one or more of the signs below if you need more water:

  • Thirst
  • Darker than light yellow urine
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Muscle cramps or fatigue

Tips for getting enough water?

  • Carry a water bottle. Try freezing one overnight for ice-cold water all day.
  • For a little extra flavor, add something! Lemon, lime, mango, mint, cucumber, strawberry, melon, jalapeno or a low/no calorie flavoring can enhance the taste of water.
  • Have a glass of water with meals before, after, and during exercise.
  • Still having trouble remembering – try an app. There are free phone apps that will help you set goals and send you reminders to keep you on track.
  • Snack on watermelon, cucumbers, other water-rich fruits and vegetables or reduced-fat yogurt. You’ll benefit from the extra fluid and healthy nutrients.
  • Use a large water container such as 1 gallon (128 oz.) and mark off times to indicate how low the water level should be at different points in the day such as 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m.
  • Place water bottles or cups in different areas of the home or office where you spend a lot of time, such as the chair you usually read in. These can serve as a physical reminder to drink more.

Looking to increase your water intake? Book an appointment with our nutrition experts to get the assistance you need.

Trick Your Taste Buds

Have you ever wondered why certain foods taste sweet, sour, salty, or bitter? The taste map of the tongue has been a fascinating topic of study for scientists, and understanding how our taste buds perceive flavors can be a journey. Let’s explore the science behind our tongue’s unique map!

The Basics of Taste:

Before we dive into the taste map, let’s review the basic tastes we experience:

  • Bitter
  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Sour
  • Umami (savory)

While most people notice a distinction between these categories of tastes, not everyone tastes things in the same way. That’s because of how taste buds detect certain molecules varies from person to person. 

Debunking the “Taste Zones” Myth:

You may have heard about the idea of the tongue having different “zones” for each taste. However, scientific research has debunked this myth. Taste buds are scattered across the entire tongue, and each taste bud can detect all five basic tastes. The regions of the tongue may have slightly different sensitivities to different tastes, but there are no exclusive zones for specific flavors.

The Role of Taste Buds:

Taste buds play a crucial role in how we perceive flavors. Taste buds contain taste receptor cells, that can detect the chemicals in the foods we eat. So, when we consume something, molecules from the food bind to these receptors, triggering signals to the brain, which interprets the taste. Fun fact – Taste buds have a lifespan of about 10-14 days, new ones are constantly replacing the old ones!

Taste and the Brain:

The journey of taste doesn’t end with the tongue; it’s just the beginning. Once taste receptors on the tongue are activated, signals are sent to the brain’s gustatory cortex. Here, the brain processes and interprets the taste information, triggering emotional and physiological responses to the flavors we experience.

Taste and Genetics:

Each person’s taste preferences can be influenced by their genetic makeup, making certain tastes more appealing or less appealing. Some individuals might be more sensitive to bitter tastes, while others may have a heightened preference for sweet flavors. Check out this fun at-home experiment to test how your genetics might affect your taste.

Taste Bud Map Experiment:

  1. Draw the outline of a giant tongue on a piece of white paper with a red pencil. Set the paper aside.
  2. Set up four plastic cups, each on top of a piece of paper. Pour a little lemon juice (sour) into one cup, and a little tonic water (bitter) into another. Mix up sugar water (sweet) and salt water (salty) for the last two cups. Label each piece of paper with the name of the liquid in the cup—not with the taste.
  3. Using toothpicks, dip them in one of the cups. Place the stick on the tip of the tongue. Do you taste anything? What does it taste like?
  4. Dip again and repeat on the sides, flat surface, and back of the tongue. If experimenting with young ones, have them recognize the taste and where on their tongue the taste is the strongest, and then have them write the name of the taste—not the liquid—in the corresponding space on the drawing.
  5. Rinse mouth with some water and repeat this process with the rest of the liquids.
  6. Note: Help them fill in the “tongue map,” by writing in all the tastes. If they want to draw taste buds and color in the tongue, have them do that, too.

Remembers, our tongues play a vital role in our daily lives, from savoring delicious flavors to aiding in speech and communication. Taking care of our oral health, including our tongues, is crucial for overall well-being. Schedule an appointment with your NOAH provider today to embark on the path to better tongue health!

Get a Sports Physical for School

The beginning of the school year means new opportunities. If your child is starting a sport for the first time, changing sports, or deciding to try a new physical activity outside of class, then it’s time for them to have a sports physical so a medical professional can make sure they are healthy enough to play their new sport or activity safely.

What is a sports physical?

  • Screening for safe and healthy participation in sports and activities.
  • Checking that your child’s body is ready for the physical demands of the activity.

Does my child need a sports physical?

  • Yes. In Arizona it is state law that a student gets a sports physical if they are playing a team or club sport at school.
  • And where it isn’t required, it is highly recommended because almost all kids are active in some way! This exam looks at the physical and mental demands of their sport or activity and can address any concerns related to their health.
  • To make life easier and to have less appointments, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends scheduling a sports physical with your child’s next routine well-child visit.

What happens during the appointment?

  • Bring your child’s completed Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation form with you. Write down any important medical information like past surgeries, injuries, or illnesses, and any family history of heart disease should be reviewed. Write down any questions you may have to discuss with the doctor.
  • At the appointment, the doctor will check your child’s:
    • Vitals: height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure
    • Eyes: if your child may need corrective lenses or a new prescription
    • Medical history
    • Fitness: heart, lungs, abdomen, joints, flexibility, strength, and reflexes             
  • This is also a good time to talk with your child’s doctor about any concerns for your child’s new or ongoing activity or sport, such as:
    • Concussions
    • Special needs or disabilities       
  • Your NOAH provider may also request lab work for your child or refer them to a specialist for further evaluation. If needed, your NOAH Care Team will help set up the next steps for this, and most children are able to play after this extra clearance.

Safe and healthy participation in sports and physical activities is the goal, so get your child’s physical scheduled with your NOAH provider and enjoy watching them play and have fun.

10 Exercises You Can Do in the Pool

By Alexander Clabourne, RDN | Dietitian

Looking for some exercises that does not involve waking up early in the morning to try and avoid the summer heat? Look no further with these ten pool exercises! Exercising in the pool is a great way to stay cool during the summer, while also improving strength and cardiovascular health. What’s awesome about these exercises is they all can be done with minimal equipment; you just need yourself and the pool, but it can be handy to have some goggles too! Check out the following exercises to learn more!

Remember: Unless using an indoor pool, use plenty of sunscreen to prevent sunburn, even when cloudy outside. Also, drink plenty of water while exercising to stay hydrated. You can still sweat in the pool!

1. Front Crawl

Also known as free style, front crawl is a type of swimming stroke. This is an advanced swimming technique, but once learned, this exercise can take your fitness routine to the next level!  Check out the video tutorial below to learn how to do the front crawl correctly.

2. Breaststroke

Similar to front crawl, breaststroke is another swim stroke that you might find easier to do. What’s unique about this exercise is that it can be easier to swim with your head above the water. Tune into the video below to learn how to do this exercise.

3. Walking

This exercise is great for beginners. It comes with similar health benefits to walking on land, while adding extra resistance and taking stress off your joints. To perform this movement, simply walk back and forth across the shallow end of the pool.    

4. Treading

This exercise involves staying in place, while keeping your head above the water. If you are new to this exercise, start in the shallow end of the pool first before moving to the deep end. There are many ways to do this exercise so do whatever is easiest for you! Check out the video below to learn how!

5. Jumping Jacks

Perform this exercise like you would on land. Don’t worry if you can’t do as many as you can do on land. It’s supposed to be harder!

6. Kicking

For this exercise, hold onto the side of the pool and do a flutter kick to keep yourself afloat and flat across the surface of the pool. You can also do this exercise with a breaststroke kick.

7. Wall Push Offs

This is a fun one! To start, hold on to the side of the pool while placing both feet on the wall so that you are hanging off the edge. Tuck your knees into your chest, and when you are ready, push off and glide on your back. Jog/walk back to the edge and repeat.

8. High Knees

To perform this exercise, alternate between pushing off the bottom of the pool with your foot bringing your knee up as high as you can. You can stay in place or do this exercise across the shallow end of the pool.

9. Dips/Pushups

This exercise is effective for building upper body strength. If you can’t do the dips, pushups in the pool can be an easier alternative. Start in the pool by placing both of your hands on the edge of the pool a little bit wider than shoulder width apart. While at an angle, lower your chest as far as you can and push back up. Watch the video below for step by step instructions.

10. Lateral Arm Raises

This exercise can help strengthen your shoulders. Start with your shoulders below the water with your hands placed at your side. Slowly raise your hands up out to the side until they reach the surface of the water like a cross. Slowly lower your arms back down to your sides to repeat the movement. You can also do this exercise with your arms bent at 90 degrees to make it easier.